Quinoa

Hey, look! It’s pastry, with NO flour. Unless you consider potato starch to be a flour. However, there’s no gluten here, and these are some of the more desirable carbs.

This idea came to me in a bit of brainstorm, and I made it pretty much as I imagined. It’s not completely like regular pastry; you get a little texture from the quinoa more than any flakiness, and the edges can get a bit hard rather than crisp, which is why I caution against over-baking. However, it’s a mildly tasty (fairly unobtrusive, I have to say) holder for you pie fillings, both sweet and savoury. It cuts well once cool – no pastry cuts well when hot – and generally does the job. It’s fairly easy to make and work with; it’s inclined to tear and stick a bit but no biggy; it patches together again with ease.

I haven’t tried baking it empty then filling it with an unbaked filling yet, but I shall try that at some point. Next up, I’ll post the Blueberry Pie with Coconut Topping that I used this pastry for, but I wanted to list the pastry separately because it will be useful for many other fillings.

1 large (9″) single pie crust
40 minutes – 20 minutes prep time
not including cooking and cooling the quinoa

1 1/2 cups cooked, cooled quinoa
1/4 cup potato starch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter
a little more potato starch to dust

Cook 1 cup quinoa with 1 2/3 cups water, and 1/4 teaspoon salt, in the rice cooker to start. That should make 3 cups of cooked quinoa; enough for 2 large pies, or use half for salad or something else. This is less water than most quinoa recipes call for, but I find it is the amount that yields a moist but not soggy light and fluffy grain texture, and I prefer it. If you use quinoa cooked with the more usual 2 cups water to 1 cup quinoa I really have no idea how this would work, but I suspect not particularly well. Make sure the quinoa is no warmer than room temperature when you start.

Put the quinoa, potato starch, salt, and the butter, cut into small chunks, in the bowl of a food processor, and process until very well combined. You will need to scrape down the sides a couple of times. The mixture will be fairly soft and more apparently moist than most pastry. Scrape it out onto a sheet of parchment paper dusted with some potato starch, and roll it in the starch to cover. Wrap it up and chill it for 20 minutes. The second time I made this I used quinoa that had been in the fridge for a couple of days, and it had dried out sufficiently that I needed to add a teaspoon of cold water while mixing to help bring it together.

Roll out the pastry to a circle a bit larger than your pie plate, dusting it with more potato starch as required to prevent sticking. I find it easiest to spend some time patting it out into a flat circle by hand before I start rolling. The dough is very soft and a bit crumbly, but just patch it back together. Keeping it fairly cool will help. Once it is rolled out, place the pie plate, upside down, centred over the circle of dough, then flip it over and press the dough into the pie plate. Peel off the parchment paper, patch up any tears, and neaten up the edges.

Bake at 375°F for 10 minutes until lightly set. Add your filling, and bake for up to a further 45 minutes. This won’t be suitable for any longer baking than that, as the edges will get very hard. I have not yet tried it, but if I wanted to put in an unbaked filling I would expect to bake it for about 20 to 25 minutes; but you should check it and judge for yourself.

Last year at this time I made Sour Cherry Jam with Lime. Best jam ever! I did not hide it, and Mr. Ferdzy actually gave some away. Yes, I am still bitter about that.

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