Gluten Free Vanilla Hazelnut Crumb Crust

Gluten Free Hazelnut Crumb Crust
I’ve tried many gluten free pie crusts over the last few years and some are much more successful than others. A good pie crust should be sturdy enough to hold up to the filling, add some texture – whether it is a crisp crumb crust or a flaky pastry crust – and it should taste delicious both on its own and with a filling. When it comes to gluten free crusts, I tend to prefer crumb crusts because they are easier to make and end up being consistently delicious. This Gluten Free Hazelnut Crumb Crust is a great basic recipe that you can use for many different types of pie.

The crust starts out with gluten free cookies. I used gluten free vanilla wafers, but it is quite easy to find gluten free graham crackers and chocolate wafers at just about every market out there, and you can easily use other cookie flavors. The cookies are ground to crumbs and mixed with hazelnut meal (ground hazelnuts), sugar, vanilla extract and melted butter, then pressed into a pie plate and baked. The nuts give the crust some body and help it to maintain a crisp texture, even after the pie crust has been filled up and baked.

If you’re not trying to eat gluten free, you can easily adapt this crust recipe to work with regular cookie crumbs by doing a straight 1:1 substitution for the gluten free cookie crumbs. You can also substitute almond meal or another ground nut for the hazelnut meal, though the hazelnut has a great flavor that pairs extremely well with the vanilla crumbs when baked. This pie crust can be baked a day or two in advance and stored, covered, until you are ready to use it.

Gluten Free Vanilla Hazelnut Crumb Crust
1 cup gluten free vanilla wafer cookie crumbs
1/2 cup hazelnut meal
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
4 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
1 egg white, lightly beaten (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F.
In a large bowl, stir together cookie crumbs, hazelnut meal, sugar, vanilla extract and melted butter. Mixture should resemble wet sand.
Pour into a 9-inch pie plate (or 9-inch square baking dish) and gently spread into an even layer over the bottom and sides. Press crumbs in firmly to create a tight crust.
Bake for 12-15 minutes, until crust just begins to turn golden brown around the edges.
Cool completely before using.

Makes 1 pie crust.

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