Last weekend, we brought our kids and their two friends to the Veteran’s Day Parade downtown. It started with high school bands marching in perfect time with their shiny instruments, wiping beads of sweat from their foreheads. Flag twirlers followed in bright costumes. Then came the Marine Corps. marching band in their Dress Blues with the red stripe down their trousers and I got an instant lump in my throat. It’s roughly the same uniform my father wore when he married my mom in 1945 after arriving home from a year and a half in the Pacific.
A pilot, he flew out of North Island in Coronado, just across the bay from where I am standing. I am humbled by the presence of the veterans of that same war as they are driven in beautiful, vintage automobiles down the streets of the city I love, wearing hats that depict the names of the ships they served on in Pearl Harbor. Waving flags to cheering crowds is a humvee full of women, many in their 80’s, members of the Veterans Chapter 50 of the Women’s Army Corps.
To see veterans of all our wars, those in wheel chairs being pushed by loved ones, is something I won’t forget. Men and women who offered their lives and gave their limbs, their eyesight, their mobility, are images I hope my children won’t forget. I don’t think I can ever express the proper gratitude for their sacrifice, but I honor and thank them. And I tell my children all about the grandfather my daughter barely remembers, the grandfather my son never knew. So here’s one of my dad’s favorite desserts, gluten-free style, in his honor, because he’s no longer here for me to thank on this Veteran’s Day.
This dessert is easy, sweet and uniquely beautiful in a rustic sort of way, just like my dad.
Glutino makes a Perfect Pie Crust Mix for Gluten Free Pantry that produces a light and flaky pie crust. Trust me, no one will know they’re eating anything gluten-free. The box says it makes four 8″ pie crusts. I like my crusts a little thicker, with a bit more overhang for crimping, so I’d say it makes 3 crusts, which is perfect, actually. You can use two for a double-crust pie and the other for a rustic fruit tart (below).
This mix contains white rice flour, potato starch, corn starch, guar gum, granulated honey and salt and can be purchased at Whole Foods. You can freeze them in disks, wrapped in saran wrap then placed in a freezer bag. Pie creations are now endless.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 10 minutes (unbaked)
Yield: 3 crusts
Entire bag of perfect pie crust mix
1/4 tsp. baking powder
2 T sugar (optional)
10 T cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
10 T butter-flavored vegetable shortening in small pieces
2 eggs, beaten
2 T cold water
3 tsp. cider vinegar
- Combine mix, baking powder and sugar. Cut in butter and shortening until pieces are the size of large peas. (This can be done really quickly in a food processor). Combine egg, water and vinegar separately. Add to mix and form into a ball.
- Chill dough 1 hour and divide into thirds. Freeze or use immediately.
- Roll dough out between two pieces of plastic wrap works well, or use a rice floured rolling pin directly on the dough.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 50 minutes
Yield: 1 tart
1 GF pie crust, thawed and rolled out flat
2 c. assorted berries (I use equal parts blueberries, raspberries and blackberries). If out of season, I buy organic frozen.
1 T rice flour
2 T sugar
2 T lemon juice
2 T heavy whipping cream
sprinkle of sugar
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- In a bowl, mix all berries together with rice flour, sugar and lemon juice.
- Roll out pie crust until 1/8″ thin and transfer to parchment lined baking sheet. (Reynolds now makes a parchment paper that you should be able to find in any grocery store). If you don’t have parchment, heavily grease the entire baking sheet with shortening or butter to prevent sticking as the tart can ooze.
- Heap berries into center of crust 1 1/2″ from edge. Fold edges over berries.
- With pastry brush, brush heavy whipping cream on folded edges and sprinkle sugar on top.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes, making sure edges down over brown. Remove and let sit for 15-20 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.