With a perfectly flaky, buttery pie crust and a creamy filling bursting with spices and flavour, this gluten free pumpkin pie really is the perfect fall dessert. The recipe couldn’t be simpler, with lots of helpful tips for avoiding soggy bottoms and cracks in the filling!
This post has been created in collaboration with Tokina. All opinions expressed in the post are my own… plus, there’s a whole lotta pie – so read on. (For more information you can check out my Disclosure Policy.)
It’s the beginning of September and all I can think about is pie and cinnamon and the crunch of leaves on the sidewalk. And, because it deserves repeating – pie. The flaky, buttery, prettily-puffed-up kind, all golden brown and oh-so tempting.
Therefore, today’s offering is hardly a surprise: butter and cinnamon and comfort, with a generous dose of pumpkin. Yes, it’s that good old (and highly anticipated) friend that comes round every fall: pumpkin pie.
Gluten free pumpkin pie at that – but don’t you worry, it’s just as delicious as your regular pie made with all-purpose wheat flour. In fact, it’s really rather impossible to tell it’s gluten free at all. Because when you take a bite… it’s sheer buttery flaky perfection, with just enough crunch that contrasts beautifully with the creamy filling.
And well… it’s rather pretty, isn’t it?
Before we get to the recipe: a review of the amazing Tokina Opera 50mm F1.4 lens
As you might have guessed from my chronic inability to publish a post with anything less than at least 4 photos in it (although, let’s be real, it’s usually more like 6… or 15 photos), I’m rather passionate about food photography.
When you look at the photos of my food, I want you to be mesmerised by the textures and the colours… I want to make you hungry and immediately run to the kitchen to make my recipes. I couldn’t achieve any of that without some rather amazing photography equipment, and excellent, high quality camera lenses are a huge part of that.
Today, I want to talk about the latest addition to my photography gear: the Tokina Opera 50mm lens. I’ve been a fan of Tokina lenses for a while now, and the Tokina 100mm Macro has been my favourite food photography lens pretty much since I started this blog (you can read my full review of the Tokina 100mm Macro F2.8 lens on the official Tokina website).
But now… it has a rival. Because let me tell you, I love the results that Tokina Opera 50mm lens gives me. Here’s why.
3 reasons for why Tokina Opera 50mm is an AMAZING food photography lens
1. Incredibly clear, sharp images – I want my photos to be as close to real life as possible, so that when you see them, you feel as though you could reach out and grab whatever deliciousness is portrayed. And this lens achieves exactly that, effortlessly.
2. Easy to use – The auto focus of the camera is fast and efficient, but more importantly (since I shoot with a tripod set-up rather than a hand-held camera 99% of the time), the manual focus is precise and as easy as turning the focus ring.
3. Perfect for capturing wider scenes – While I love getting close to the food I’m photographing, to really show you the textures and layers and details, sometimes capturing a wider scene allows me to tell the story and create a particular atmosphere in my photos. And the Tokina Opera 50mm is perfect for that, especially when it comes to overhead shots, where the height of my tripod limits how far my camera is from the scene.
I could go on… but, really, the results speak for themselves, wouldn’t you say? (In fact, ALL photos in this post have been taken with this wonderful lens.)
After this slight detour to the world of food photography… back to the mouth-watering deliciousness that is this gluten free pumpkin pie.
How do you make gluten free pie crust?
The ingredients for the gluten free pie crust are all the usual suspects, and you probably have all of them in your pantry already! (For the full recipe, including the ingredient quantities, scroll down to the bottom of the page.)
- plain gluten free flour blend
- xanthan gum
- a pinch of salt
- cold unsalted butter, cut into ~1/2 inch cubes
- ice cold water
And to make the gluten free pie crust:
- Mix all the dry ingredients together.
- Work the butter into the dry ingredients – I have found that simply just squashing the butter cubes into flat discs works best for the perfectly flaky pie crust. You don’t need to work the butter any more than that. Just squash each butter cube, and that’s it!
- Add a few tablespoons of the cold water, until the dough comes together in a ball.
- Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
How do you make pumpkin pie filling?
Making the pumpkin pie filling is really as easy as mixing the ingredients together until smooth:
- pumpkin puree
- light brown sugar
- double/heavy cream
- SPICES! (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and a pinch of black pepper)
And it really is as simple as that.
Do you have to blind bake the pumpkin pie crust?
Yes. No maybe, no perhaps, no sometimes – yes. You definitely 100% need to blind bake the pastry (pie crust) when making pumpkin pie.
The reason is simple: if you don’t, the moisture from the filling will be absorbed into the pastry and the result will be a sad-looking, floppy soggy pie crust. And trust me, that’s neither appealing nor appetising.
So whatever you do, don’t skip the blind baking step. And I’ve got an extra trick up my sleeve to guarantee no soggy bottoms ever: placing the pie dish onto a pre-heated baking tray. This starts the bottom baking straight away, ensuring the pumpkin pie comes out with a pie crust that’s crispy and golden brown all over.
How long do you bake gluten free pumpkin pie?
In total, the pumpkin pie bakes for about 1 hour and 5 minutes:
- 15 minutes at 400 ºF (200 ºC) blind bake with baking paper and baking beans
- 10 minutes at 375 ºF (190 ºC) blind bake uncovered
- 40 – 45 minutes at 375 ºF (190 ºC) with pumpkin pie filling
This combination of baking times and oven temperatures ensures both a perfectly flaky pie crust (with no soggy bottoms) AND a creamy filling with no cracks in sight.
How set should the gluten free pumpkin pie be?
For perfectly baked pumpkin pie, I recommend removing it from the oven when the very centre of the filling is very slightly jiggly (or wobbly) when you shake the pie dish. The very edges of the filling should be set at that point, and if you insert a toothpick halfway between the edge and the centre of the pie, it should come out mostly clean.
If you over-bake your pumpkin pie, it’s likely to form cracks – so be sure to take it out of the oven when the middle of the filling is still slightly wobbly.
Should pumpkin pie be hot or cold?
The answer to that question really depends on personal preference. I like my pumpkin pie either slightly warm or cooled completely, which is also when the pumpkin pie is easiest to cut into nice, clean slices.
And there you have it, friends. The perfect gluten free pumpkin pie with an amazing flaky, buttery gluten free pie crust and a wonderfully aromatic filling that’s bursting with spices and flavour.
It really doesn’t get much better than this, does it?
If you like what you’re seeing, subscribe to my newsletter to keep up to date on the latest recipes and tips!
Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie
For gluten free pie crust (for a 9 inch pie):
- 1 3/4 cups + 1 1/2 tbsp (225 g) plain gluten free flour blend (I've used Doves Farm Freee plain gluten free flour, which doesn't contain added xanthan gum)
- 3/4 tsp xanthan gum (omit if your gluten free flour blend contains added xanthan)
- pinch of salt
- 2 tbsp (25 g) caster/superfine sugar
- 1 1/3 sticks (150 g) cold unsalted butter, cut into ~1/2 inch cubes
- 9 - 10 tbsp (130 - 150 mL) ice-cold water
For pumpkin filling (makes 4 cups of filling):
- 1 can (15 oz, 425 g) pumpkin puree
- 1 cup (200 g) light brown sugar
- 1 cup (240 mL) double/heavy cream
- 3 medium eggs, room temperature
- 2 tbsp (15 g) cornstarch
- 1/2 - 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- pinch of ground black pepper
- pinch of salt
For gluten free pie crust (for a 9 inch pie):
- Sift together the gluten free flour, xanthan gum, salt and sugar.
- Add the butter and toss it in the flour until all butter pieces are covered with it.
- Using your hands, pinch together the butter pieces and flour until you get a mix of fine pea-sized pieces and larger thumb-sized pieces.
- Add the ice-cold water, 1 tbsp at a time, and mix the pie dough with a fork until it comes together. You will need about 9-10 tbsp of water.The dough at the end should be only just coming together. If it looks a bit "shaggy" and like it wants to crack, that's to be expected and perfectly OK.
- Shape the pie dough into a disc (if needed, knead it slightly so it holds together – but don't overwork it!), wrap it into cling film and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
For pumpkin filling (makes 4 cups of filling):
- Mix all pumpkin pie filling ingredients together until smooth.
- Set aside until needed.NOTE: This recipe makes 4 cups of the pumpkin pie filling, I ended up using 3 1/2 cups of the filling. Depending on the depth and diameter of the pie dish you use, you might need to adjust the pumpkin pie filling ingredient quantities. To determine how much filling you'll approximately need, measure the number of cups of water that fill your pie dish about to about 3/4.
Rolling and crimping the pie crust:
- Get a 9 inch (23 cm) round pie dish ready to have on hand.
- Remove the pie dough disc from the fridge, allow it to soften slightly at room temperature (for about 10 minutes) and roll it out into a roughly circular shape about 3 mm thick. The pie dough circle should be at least 2 1/2 - 3 inches larger than the pie dish diameter (to account for the pie dish sides and crimping).I recommend rolling out the pie dough between two pieces of parchment paper or cling film, to reduce the amount of flour you incorporate into the dough while rolling.
- Transfer the rolled out pie dough into the pie dish, and shape it so that it's snug against the pie dish sides. Trim off the excess pie dough, leaving about 1 inch (2.5 cm) of excess that you'll use for crimping.
- To crimp, fold the excess pie dough under itself, so that you get about 1/2 inch (about 1 cm) of essentially double-layer pastry available for crimping. Create the desired crimp design (this is a wonderful resource for different ways in which you can crimp pie edges).
- Prick the bottom and sides of the pie crust with a fork, then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Blind baking the pie crust:
- Pre-heat the oven to 390 ºF (200 ºC) with a baking sheet inside.For best results, bake the pie on the hot baking sheet at all stages of baking.
- Line the chilled pie crust with baking/greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans or dry rice.
- Bake the pie in the pre-heated oven at 390 ºF (200 ºC) for 15 minutes.
- Then remove the baking/greaseproof paper and baking beans, reduce the oven temperature to 375 ºF (190 ºC) and bake uncovered for a further 10 minutes.
Baking the pumpkin pie filling:
- Pour the pumpkin pie filling into the blind baked pie crust (no need to cool the pie crust!) until it's 80-90% full (filling it only 3/4 full will give you a more prominent pie crust edge).
- Bake the filled pumpkin pie at 375 ºF (190 ºC) for about 40 - 45 minutes, until the centre of the filling is very slightly jiggly (or wobbly) when you shake the pie dish. The very edges of the filling should be set at that point, and if you insert a toothpick halfway between the edge and the centre of the pie, it should come out mostly clean.If the pie crust edges start browning too quickly, cover them with some aluminium foil, shiny side up.
- Allow to cool and enjoy.
- The gluten free pumpkin pie is best served slightly warm or cold, with some whipped cream and a sprinkling of cinnamon.
- The gluten free pumpkin pie keeps well covered tightly in a cool dry place for 3 - 4 days.