Cassava Flour Pie Crust
I once made shepherd’s pie for dinner, and I asked my husband how he liked it halfway through.
He hesitated. (Uh oh.)
“What did you use to make the top?” he asked.
“It’s mashed cauliflower with lots of butter. Is it seriously not good!?” I was incredulous–any mashed thing with lots of butter is inherently delicious.
“What about using cassava flour or something? I’m used to eating it with the crispy top,” he said.
“Are you thinking of pot pie?” I asked.
It’s all about expectations. If you bite into a chocolate, expecting a caramel center and get shredded coconut instead, you’ll probably feel a little disappointment (at the prospect of having to chew coconut bits for the next 2 hours, no doubt).
As with the shepherd’s pie that was not a pot pie, a cassava flour pie crust does not behave like a wheat flour pie crust. I happen to enjoy it, though. It’s the flakiest and most buttery of the crusts I’ve tried and perfect for any sweet or savory pie dish. However–disclaimer–it’s a delicate dough that’s fragile to work with and you risk having it fall apart in transport to the pie dish. Fear not, I will give pointers on how to handle this (how’s your lattice work?).
Ingredients for Cassava Flour Pie Crust
Since wheat flour is a distant memory now, you may need to visit your local health food store, Amazon, or Thrive Market to get the flour you need for this scrumptious grain-free pie crust. If you haven’t already stocked up on flours, just get it done. Nut and root flour baking has been one of the great joys of this lifestyle. I highly recommend Thrive Market for stocking up. Their generic brand flours are much less expensive (and good quality!) and new members get 25% off their first order below.
Cassava (or yuca) is a starchy root vegetable (not a yam), native to South America. The dried and ground root is the closest thing to an all-purpose flour on a lectin-free diet. I’ve used it in a lot of recipes. Unfortunately, readers have reported that different brands yield different results because there’s no uniform consistency among them. I can never guarantee that this pie crust will be a smashing success. But it’s more likely to happen if you use this brand of cassava flour. I used it exclusively until Thrive Market came out with a generic that is just as good.
More Recipes Using Cassava Flour
There appears to be confusion about what arrowroot starch is. I’ve seen it listed as the only ingredient on a bag of tapioca starch. Which makes zero sense. I was under the impression arrowroot starch was an extract of the…arrowroot plant (too logical?). Either way, starch is starch, and we need some to hold this buttery crust together, so get some arrowroot from Amazon or Thrive Market if your store doesn’t carry it (most do).
Coconut Oil & Butter
Ideally, we’d be using lard for this recipe. Call me Laura Ingalls Wilder, but lard makes the best pie crusts. But the days of living on pesticide-free prairies and hunting wild, forested pork are over, so it’s easier to just do butter and coconut oil. I like to coat the flour with melted coconut oil first, before cutting in cold butter. You want softened extra-virgin coconut oil (I used this brand) and cold unsalted butter (French imported–President’s).
Grandmas around the world will tell you that you must use your hands to make a pie crust dough, because otherwise how will you get the crumbs right? I’m here to tell you that you can let kitchen technology do all the “crumbing” for you. That’s right, you don’t have to slather your hands in butter and flour unless you want to. You can stand back and watch as a whirring electric motor stirs up the doughy obituary of human usefulness in the kitchen.
How to Make Pie Crust Dough in a Stand Mixer
Time needed: 1 hour.
Easily make a gluten-free pie crust in a stand mixer using these simple instructions.
- Mix flour, starch, salt, and coconut oil.
Combine 1 scant cup cassava flour, 1/4 cup arrowroot starch, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 cup softened coconut oil in a stand mixer. Mix on medium-low speed to evenly coat the flour and starch with the oil. Texture should resemble a coarse flour.
- Mix in cold, cubed butter.
Cube 5 tablespoons unsalted cold butter and add to the stand mixer while it’s still running. Continue to mix until all butter is added and coarse crumbs form–they do not need to be evenly sized.
- Add ice water.
Add very cold water, one tablespoon at a time, while the mixer is still running. Stop adding when the dough begins to form large clumps. The dough should hold together when squeezed with your hand.
- Fold dough into parchment paper.
Place dough in the center of a large sheet of parchment paper and fold one side at a time into the center to make a square shape. If it’s too crumbly you may sprinkle additional water over the dough and press with the parchment paper to incorporate.
- Make a disk and refrigerate.
Round out the edges to make a “dough frisbee” and then wrap completely in the parchment paper and chill for 30 minutes.
Rolling out Cassava Flour Pie Dough
After refrigerating the dough disc, allow it to sit at room temperature for several minutes. Because a cassava flour dough is more delicate than a wheat dough, I suggest rolling it between parchment paper (you’ll see why in the next section). You can use the piece of paper in which the dough is already wrapped.
Lightly flour the surface of a piece of parchment paper and place the dough over it. Then lightly flour the dough and place another piece of parchment paper on top. Now you can roll (with a pin) to your heart’s content. It’s fine if the dough breaks or cracks–just patch it up and keep rollin’ till you reach the size you need (this recipe makes a crust that will fit a 9-inch pie plate).
Getting the Crust onto a Pot Pie (Magic)
This is where things get…delicate. If you’ve seen my cassava flour tortilla recipe, you know I’ve mastered the art of the “parchment paper flip.” It’s where you place the rolled dough onto a lightly floured piece of parchment paper, say a prayer, and quickly flip it over onto the skillet/sheetpan/kitchen floor. Well, it’s the same thing here…except that pie crust is twice the size of a tortilla. The solution? Patch jobs!!
There was a giant crack in this dough after I flipped it onto the pot pie filling. I just patched it up and moved on with my life. I’m here to impress with taste, not looks. If this pie crust weren’t so flaky and delicious, I’d say it’s not worth the moment of panic. You can always do a lattice top pie crust, and skip the parchment paper flipping game altogether.
For added “crack insurance,” make extra dough ahead of time and keep it separate. Then you can roll it out into a very long snake and use it to seal the edges of the crust around the pie. Or you could cut fun shapes. Make pie crust puzzle pieces. Just roll with it (har har–a dough pun). In the end, a buttery cassava crust will brown up and look like this:
Cassava Flour Pie Crust
A buttery, flaky, gluten-free pie crust made with cassava flour.
- 1 scant cup cassava flour
- 1/4 cup arrowroot starch
- 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/4 cup coconut oil softened
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
WHISK together the cassava flour, arrowroot, and salt. Add the coconut oil, and work it into the mixture until the flour is evenly coated and crumbly.
CUT the butter into ½-inch cubes, and add to the flour mixture. Use a stand mixer or your fingers to work it in roughly. Mix until the dough is very unevenly crumbled—with both big and small chunks of butter.
ADD water, 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing, until the dough starts to become a chunky, cohesive mixture. When it starts to hold together when you squeeze it, stop adding water.
POUR the dough out onto the center of a large piece of parchment paper. Fold the paper from all sides towards the middle, creating a square with the dough. Round out the edges to make a disc of dough, and wrap it up in the parchment paper. Wrap in clear plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes (up to overnight).
TAKE the dough out, and let it warm until it’s soft enough to roll. Place the dough between two lightly floured pieces of parchment paper, and use a rolling pin to roll it flat, patching cracks as you go.
TRANSFER the dough to a pie pan by carefully peeling off the parchment paper on both sides. Then place the dough back onto one of the paper pieces. Using a very large spatula or your hands, carefully flip the crust into (or on) the pan, patching cracks with your finger.