Pear Pie with Gluten Free Pie Crust

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This gorgeous Pear Pie is studded with juicy blackberries and baked in a flavorful syrup made with red wine from California and just a touch of rosemary. The gluten free pie crust, which has also been lined with homemade almond paste, is flaky and flavorful and easy to work with. This pie tastes like just like a slice of autumn – California style.

This post was sponsored by my friends at California Grown.

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Pear Pie with Gluten Free Pie Crust

In September, as part of California Wine Month I toured several vineyards and met incredible winemakers in Monterey County. I learned all about what makes wines in Monterey so special. And I got to taste some incredible wines. The wines in Monterey County are blessed with a long growing season and incredible climate. So generally they are lush, balanced, and intense. The region is especially known for their Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines – the latter I used in a red wine reduction sauce in this Pear Pie recipe.

What are the best pears for a pie?

The best pears for a pie are Anjou, Bartletts, and Bosc. Or a combination of all three. Pears should be barely ripe and still be firm when used in pies so they keep their shape and structure.

How do you thicken pear pie filling?

The filling of this pear pie is made from a red wine reduction syrup made from California Pinot Noir. The syrup is then thickened with a little corn starch so it’s not too runny. The red wine syrup is then tossed with pears and blackberries and piled into a gluten free pie crust that has been lined with easy homemade almond paste. The Almond paste gives the pie extra flavor, and also protects the bottom crust from getting soggy. It’s a (delicious) trick I learned from my friend Becky from Baking the Goods.

How to make gluten free pie crust

It’s challenging to make homemade pie crust in general, but sometimes making gluten free pie crust can be even trickier. Gluten helps dough hold together, and without it…well it can fall apart. My recipe is easy to work with and is flaky and delicious. In my humble opinion, it’s nearly impossible to tell if it’s gluten free.

So what are my tricks to perfect gluten free pastry?

  • Make sure your butter is very cold before mixing it into the flours.
  • Don’t overmix the dough – I like to use a food processor, but a pastry cutter, or even your fingers can work well. You want to still be able to see pea-sized chunks of butter throughout the dough.
  • Chill the dough before you roll it out and be sure to lightly flour your surface with tapioca starch.
  • An offset spatula is a lifesaver. I like to run the offset under the dough each time I run the rolling pin over the dough.
  • Freeze the rolled pie dough in the pan before filling to help prevent shrinkage.

What flour is best for gluten free pastry?

I use a combination of flours for my gluten free pie crust – brown rice flour, sorghum flour, cornstarch and tapioca starch. The starches help keep the texture light and flaky and the rice flour and sorghum flour add some structure and flavor.

Ingredients for gluten free pie crust:

  • ¾ cup, plus 2 tablespoons tapioca flour, plus more for dusting
  • ¾ cup cornstarch
  • ¼ cup, plus 2 tablespoons brown rice flour
  • ¼ cup sorghum flour
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1½ teaspoons xanthan gum
  • 1 cup cold, salted butter diced (2 sticks or 16 tablespoons)
  • 3 large eggs

How do you make traditional almond paste?

Almond paste is SO EASY to make and it adds incredible flavor to this Pear + Blackberry Pie. As a bonus, it helps prevent the bottom crust from getting soggy. Homemade almond paste is simply almond flour, powdered sugar, egg white and almond extract. I like to add a pinch of salt for extra flavor too. I use my food processor to mix everything together until it’s forms a thick paste. Almond paste can be kept, tightly wrapped in the refrigerator for up to one week.

What’s almond paste made of?

  • 1 3/4 cups almond flour (finely ground)
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
  • pinch of sea salt

Red Wine in Pie? Trust me, it’s delicious!

Red wine syrup may seem like an unusual thing to put in a pie. But it adds incredible and complex flavor to the pear + blackberry filling. I wish I had come up with the idea myself, but I got it from Bon Appétit. I recommend using a California Pinot Noir, Grenache, or Zinfandel because they are fruit forward wines that compliment the fruit pie filling.

How long does wine syrup last?

Wine syrup can last up to a week in the fridge – or in the freezer for three months.

How do you thicken red wine?

Thicken the red wine syrup by first boiling it with sugar and reducing it down. For this recipe you bring sugar, rosemary, and 1½ cups California red wine to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced to about ⅔ cup, about 10 minutes. Strain out the rosemary and add 2 tablespoons of butter and whisk the mixture until it’s totally smooth.

This gluten free pie crust is so easy to work with I decided to make a lattice topping for the pie. It may seem intimidating at first, but it’s pretty simple to do once you get the hang of it. Be sure to brush the top of your pie with a beaten egg and sprinkle with turbinado (raw) sugar before baking to ensure the crust is beautifully shiny and has a big of extra crunch.

How to make a lattice topped pie crust

  1. Prepare the dough – roll chilled dough into a rectangle that is about 11 inches by 11 inches
  2. Cut into 1-2 inch strips using a pizza cutter
  3. Carefully lift the strips up using your offset spatula and place in parallel strips over pie, leaving about 1 inch between strips
  4. Pull back half of the strips and lay another strip of dough perpendicularly over the the pie, laying the the pulled-back strips of dough back over the perpendicular strip
  5. Now take the parallel strips that are running underneath the perpendicular strip and fold them back over the perpendicular strip. Lay down a second perpendicular strip of dough next to the first strip, with some space between the strips (about 1 inch). Unfold the folded parallel strips over the second strip.
  6. Continue weaving until the pie is evenly covered with the woven dough. Trim the edges and press the bottom and top crusts together. Use the knuckle of your index finger to push the crust into your forefinger and thumb of your opposite hand (as shown in the video) to crimp the edge of the crust.

Love pie? Here are a few more gluten free pie recipes to try!

Pear Pie with Gluten Free Pie Crust
Pear Pie with Gluten Free Pie Crust
Pear Pie with Gluten Free Pie Crust

Pear Blackberry Pie with Gluten Free Pie Crust

Alison Needham
This gorgeous Pear Pie is studded with juicy blackberries and baked in a flavorful syrup made with red wine from California. The gluten free pie crust, which has also been lined with homemade almond paste, is flaky and flavorful and easy to work with. This pie tastes like just like a slice of autumn – California style.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 45 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs 40 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 8 servings
Calories 764 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
  

For the filling

for the almond paste

for the gluten free pie crust

Instructions
 

  • Start by making the pastry. Add the tapioca, cornstarch, sweet rice flour, sorghum flour, sugar, salt and xanthan gum to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade attachment and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  • Add three of the eggs, one at a time, and pulse just until the mixture comes together.
  • Turn out onto a work surface, dusted with rice flour and knead just until it comes together. Divide in half, pat each half into a disk, and wrap well with plastic. Refrigerate for 2 hours or up to 2 days.
  • Make the red wine syrup.
  • Bring granulated sugar, rosemary, and 1½ cups wine to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced to about ⅔ cup, about 10 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl. Whisking constantly, gradually add butter and whisk until the syrup is smooth.
  • Whisk cornstarch, cinnamon, and remaining ¼ cup wine in a small saucepan set over medium heat. Cook, whisking constantly, until thickened, about 1 minute. Slowly add syrup, whisking until smooth, then stir in vanilla and salt. Chill until cool, about 30 minutes.
  • Make the almond paste. Combine the almond flour and confectioners’ sugar in the work bowl of a food processor or in the bowl of a stand mixer. Process or mix to blend briefly, just to combine.
  • Add the egg white, salt, and almond extract, processing or mixing until the mixture comes together and forms a malleable ball.
  • Remove the almond paste from the processor or mixer, scraping any residue from the sides of the bowl.
  • Shape the paste into a log or round. Wrap it in plastic and refrigerate until ready to use.
  • Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  • Assemble the pie. Roll one-half of the pie dough into a 14-inch round. Carefully roll dough back over the rolling pin and use it to carefully lift dough into a 9-inch pie plate. Lift edges of the crust and let the dough slump into the plate – don’t stretch it. Trim the edges so there is about a 1-inch overhang. Fold the edges over.
  • Cut the log of almond paste in half and roll one half into a circle large enough to fit in the bottom of your pie dish, about 6-inches in diameter. Re-wrap the remaining half of the paste and reserve for another use. Place the circle of almond paste over the bottom of the pie dough in the pan. Put the pie plate in the freezer.
  • Make the filling. Put the pears and blackberries in a large bowl. Drizzle the cooled wine syrup over the fruit and toss to combine. Remove the pie plate from the freezer and carefully pour in the pears, berries and any wine syrup. Place pie plate in the fridge while you prepare the lattice topping.
  • Roll the remaining chilled dough into a rectangle that is about 11 inches by 11 inches. Cut dough into 1-inch strips using a pizza cutter.
  • Remove the pie from the refrigerator. Carefully lift the strips up using your offset spatula and place in parallel strips over pie, leaving about 1 inch between the strips.
  • Pull back half of the strips and lay another strip of dough perpendicularly over the the pie, laying the the pulled-back strips of dough back over the perpendicular strip.
  • Now take the parallel strips that are running underneath the perpendicular strip and fold them back over the perpendicular strip. Lay down a second perpendicular strip of dough next to the first strip, with some space between the strips (about 1 inch). Unfold the folded parallel strips over the second strip.
  • Continue weaving until the pie is evenly covered with the woven dough. Trim the edges and press the bottom and top crusts together. Use the knuckle of your index finger to push the crust into your forefinger and thumb of your opposite hand (as shown in the video) to crimp the edge of the crust.
  • Beat the remaining egg and brush the pie with it. Sprinkle the entire top with raw sugar. Place pie dish on a rimmed baking sheet and bake 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°, rotate the pie, and continue baking, tenting with foil if the crust is browning too quickly, until juices are bubbling and the crust is golden brown, 60–75 minutes longer. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for at least 4 hours before slicing.

Notes

Make ahead tips – this pie is rather complicated to put together but you can make the pie crust and almond paste several days in advance.

Nutrition

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 764kcalCarbohydrates: 120gProtein: 11gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 110mgSodium: 306mgPotassium: 447mgFiber: 12gSugar: 73gVitamin A: 420IUVitamin C: 20mgCalcium: 113mgIron: 4mg
Keyword Gluten Free Pear Pie, Gluten Free Pie, Gluten Free Pie Crust, Pear Blackberry Pie, Pear Pie, Pear Pie with Red Wine Syrup
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Pear Pie with Gluten Free Pie Crust

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2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Love your recipes, Alison!

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