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Gluten Free Pastry Cheese and Onion Pie

Introduction & method

Gluten is seen as an undesirable thing by many people these days (coeliacs excepted, they really can't have it), but it's hard to make baked things without it. The problem is that gluten is what holds pastry and dough together - in this recipe I use xanthan gum as a binder. It's worth giving it a try.

Gluten Free Pastry Cheese and Onion Pie Recipe

About the Fat

Choose whatever fat or mix of fats is suitable for you. You need fat that is solid at room temperature, so things like butter, block margarine, shortening, lard will do. They need to be cold enough to grate when you use them.

About the Cheese

You can use any comination of cheeses - I used mature cheddar, camembert for stretchy/melty - mozzarella would also be good for this - and some grana padano (poor man's parmesan).

Make the Pastry

Mix together the flour, salt and xanthan gum (you can buy xanthan gum powder online). Grate the fat and then use your fingertips to rub it into the flour. Keep rubbing in until you have a texture like coarse sand. Whizz together the egg and the milk and stir it in in stages - you might not need all of it. Just add enough so that the dough comes together in a ball. Wrap in plastic film and rest it in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Prep the Fillings

Peel the potatoes and slice them about 5mm (quarter of an inch) thick. Peel and thinly slice the onion, about half as thick as the potatoes. Cut into short lengths. Put the potatoes in a pan of salted water, bring to the boil and simmer until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool. In the same water, simmer the onions for about 5 minutes until soft. Drain and set aside to cool. Slice or grate your hard cheeses. Don't attempt this with camembert!

Assemble the Pies

Butter the insides of 4 pie dishes or quiche tins. They need to be about 10cm (4 inches) diameter. Sprinkle your worktop with gluten-free flour (I used rice flour, but it gave a gritty texture to the pastry that we didn't really like). Roll out about one third of the pastry and use an upturned tin to stamp out 4 lids. Roll out more pastry, enough to cover the bottom and sides of a dish with a bit of an overhang. Trim off excess pastry. If your dishes don't have rims, turn them upside down and cut the excess pastry about 5mm from the tin.
Preheat oven to 160°C (320°F) for a fan/convection oven, 180°C (356°F) conventional, gas 4. Place layers of filling in each pie - cheese, potato, onion, cheese, potato, onion, camembert, grated grana padano. Moisten the pie rim with water and press a lid on. Squeeze the lid and base together between finger and thumb. Smooth out the rim and do any kind of crimping you feel like, or just decorate it by pressing down with the tines of a fork. Make some holes in the top with a fork. Make up an eggwash glaze by beating together one egg and a splash of milk. Paint this all over the top. Finish decorating the pie by sprinkling some grated cheese over one side of it. Place in the oven and bake until golden-brown - about 35 minutes. Remove from tins when they've cooled a bit.


Ingredients & Info

 200 grams gluten-free white flour
 100 grams butter/lard mix
 1 tbsp milk
 1 egg
 1 tsp xanthan gum
  pinch of salt
 2 medium potatoes
 1 onion
 150 grams assorted cheese


One egg and a splash of milk for eggwash.

US Customary/Imperial

Makes 4 individual pies
Prep time: 20 minutes.
Resting time: 30 minutes.
Cooking time: 45 minutes.
Total time: 1 hour 35 minutes.