Labor Day is just around the corner. Can you believe it? This year, the EPIC wolfpack wanted to share a grain free all-American treat made with our time-tested cooking oils. We knew exactly who to call for such a special recipe- the one and only grain free pastry champion, Jenni of the Urban Poser. Jenni is EPIC- a very talented cook and baker, a master yogi and a badass mom. We are blown away by the epicness of this recipe featuring our cage free duck fat. You must bake these handheld pies with as much love as Jenni put into creating this recipe and share the love all around.
Grain Free EPIC Duck Fat Spiced Cherry Turnovers by The Urban Poser
Quick note on making gluten free pie dough: Gluten free dough is more temperamental to work with than gluten based dough, due to the lack of flexible gluten in them. GF flours also tend to absorb more liquid and therefore the dough does better if it is a bit softer than a traditional gluten-based dough would be. This does make them more difficult to work with, but it produces a beautiful, flaky, tender crust that’s infinitely better than the all-too-often tough and rubbery ones produced by not understanding the nuance of working with gluten-free ingredients.
The real key to nailing a truly epic pie crust recipe is understanding how to maintain the temperature of the dough, and when working with gluten free flours, it’s even more important. The method below is designed to help you own this process and make it more fail proof and reasonably doable for everyone. Basically… you gotta chill often, and when it starts to look like the fat is melting in the dough... you gotta chill it even more. In the Texas heat, that means doing it a LOT!
Ingredients For the Filling:
- 1 can pitted red, tart cherries, plus the liquid
- ½ cup maple sugar (cane sugar works well too)
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 ½ tablespoons Otto’s cassava flour
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground cardamon
- Pinch of salt
This recipe makes more filling than you need. So you can make another batch of pies or use the leftovers for ice cream, or shamelessly eat it with a spoon!
Ingredients For the Dough:
- 200g (1 ⅓ cups) fluffed Otto’s cassava flour
- 3 tablespoons arrowroot flour
- 1 tablespoon whole golden flaxseed, finely ground*
- ⅓ cup maple sugar (cane sugar works too)**
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup very cold EPIC Duck Fat, cold (solid)
- ¼ cup very cold organic palm shortening***
- 1 large egg yolk, plus 1 whole egg
- 5-6 tablespoons ice cold milk of choice
- 1 egg yolk plus water (for the egg wash)
Ingredients For the Glaze (optional)
- 1 1/2 cups organic, powdered sugar
- 2 ½-3 tablespoons water
Baker's Notes: *Golden flax is best for flavor and color. Brown flax will be nuttier & darken the dough. 1 tablespoon of whole flax equals 2 tablespoons ground. The finer you grind it the better. **Coconut sugar as a sub will make for a dark, molasses tasting dough. It isn't the best choice for this recipe. ***The palm shortening can help make a more workable dough as the fat softens more slowly than duck fat. But, you can use all duck fat if desired. If the duck fat is liquid, I usually just mix the two together, chill in the fridge for a few hours, then break it up before using.
Special Equipment: 6-inch pie press (like THIS), 6-7 large squares of plastic wrap
Method: First make the filling.
Pour the cherries and their (unsweetened) liquid into a medium saucepan. Stir in the lemon juice, cassava flour and spices, till well incorporated. Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring often until the mixture begins to bubble and thicken. Remove from heat, then transfer to a bowl, cover and chill. This can be made a day ahead.
Now prepare the pies! (steps are listed in relation to the instructional collage)
Step 1: In a large bowl, weigh or measure out the cassava flour (weighing is always preferred as cup amounts can vary). Add the arrowroot, ground golden flax, sugar and salt, then whisk well to combine. Now add the cold fat to the flour mixture and using a fork or pastry blender (not your hands), smash the fat into the flour. Be sure that all the fat is well coated in flour.
- You will have a rough looking mixture with large and small bits of fat throughout. (see step one picture) This is what gives you the lovely flakiness later on. Now, CHILL the whole mixture in the freezer for five to ten minutes. You don’t want those bits of fat to melt till they hit the oven. Chilling is your friend.
Step 2: Add the egg and egg yolk to the flour and about 5 tablespoons of the cold milk and toss the mixture till it comes together. Add more milk if needed. You want the dough to be soft but not sticky and not too dry or stiff. It’s important to not overwork the dough though. Remember, it will firm up some as the liquid absorbs during the resting period.
- You can use your hands towards the end to knead it a few times to bring it into a ball. If you notice that the fat pieces are beginning to melt, chill the ball of dough for 15-25 minutes before separating into sections. Otherwise you can move onto step 3.
- Step 3: Separate the dough into 6 equal sized balls. I like to use a scale for this. They come out to be about 3 ounce each (maybe slightly more), but it doesn't have to be perfect. Just work quickly so the fat pieces stays solid. Flatten and wrap each ball of dough in a large square of plastic wrap and chill for 15-20 minutes. (Can be made a day ahead as long as they are wrapped well.)
Step 4: Removing one ball of dough from the fridge at a time, then cover the top of the ball with another piece of plastic wrap. Working quickly, use a rolling pin to roll the ball of dough out into about a 7 inch circle that’s about ¼ inch thick. Rotate the dough after each roll to get the most even circle. Sometimes I lift the plastic wrap to loosen it before rolling again. (Leave the rest of the balls of dough in the fridge until you need them.)
- I like to use THESE rolling pin ring guides to get the dough thickness, even all around. With them, I don’t even have to worry about the thickness of circle. I just roll until the dough doesn’t roll anymore! It naturally lands at the right thickness I need.
Step 5: To cut the dough, you can use the back of the open pie press to cut the size of circle you need, or you can use a same size bowl, or cutter like I did. Cut the circle into the dough, carefully lift the bowl or cutter and peel away the excess. (Set the excess dough aside, once it is gathered from all the dough balls, you still have enough for one more pie).
- Again, if your room is very hot, you may need to chill before you can trim the circle or before moving on to step 6. I know, I sound like a broken record.
- Step 6: Lift the dough circle up by the plastic wrap and place it on top of the open pie press, making sure that it is centered. Let the center sink down into the mold.
- Step 7: Add a little bit of the cherry filling to the center, about 1 tablespoon will do. If you add too much, it can cause the pies to crack while baking.
- Step 8: Fold the press over, gently pressing the sides together to seal the pie.
- Step 9: Remove the pie from the mold, with the plastic wrap still on it. Place on a large baking sheet in the fridge until all the pies are made. While the pies are chilling, preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Step 10: Once all the pies are well chilled, remove the plastic and place them back on a lined baking sheet, spacing them about 1 inch apart.
- Step 12: Using your fingers or a pastry brush, brush the tops of the pies lightly with an egg wash (one egg yolk, beaten with a splash of water.)
- Step 13: Using a small, sharp knife, cut a few slits into the top of each pie. This allows air to escape and reduced the chances of cracking.
When done, remove from the oven and leave to cool on the pan. If using, make the glaze by whisking together the powdered sugar and the water. You can make it as thick or thin as you desire just by adding more or less sugar or water. Drizzle over the tops of the pies and leave to set.
Storing: Can be stored overnight in paper bags or lightly covered container, on the countertop. But they are best eaten the day of making.- Jenni