It's full on summer pie season! The early summer berries are overlapping with the stone fruits, and suddenly everyone is making pie - and, if you're like many pie bakers, struggling with their pie dough. Here's a tip buried in our archives that's worth revisiting: use rice flour to roll out your dough! There are as many ways to make and roll out pie dough as there are cooks who make pies, and no one agrees on everything. But in general, when rolling out pie dough the rule of thumb is to use as little flour as possible to avoid a tough crust and/or working too much flour into the dough. Yet flour is necessary for rolling, and to be frank, finding that sweet spot between too much and not enough can be challenging.
I can't remember where I picked up this tip, but for several years now I have been using rice flour to roll out my doughs with excellent results. The reason for this is that rice has no gluten and so it won't contribute to toughness. I also have a theory (not scientifically proven!) that the rice flour adds a slightly crisp layer to the crust, contributing to its flakiness. I base this theory on the fact that rice flour is often used in tempura and other batters with incredible crispy results.
Rice flour is no different to work with than regular flour when rolling out pie dough. Just sprinkle it on your surface and pin and get rolling. It has a slightly sandy texture but still behaves like a fine powder. We used rice flour in the picture above and you can see the resulting pies in our archive links below.
Happy summer pie baking!
• Weekend Meditation: 36 Pies for Janeen and Paul
• 36 Pies for Janeen and Paul: Part Two
(Image: Dana Velden)