As Good As Gluten: Chia Buckwheat Pastry

Oh yes, I went there. Trust me, I’d stake my reputation on this dough. Waddya mean what reputation?!

I’m going to preface this free-from self-lovefest with a short preamble, it’s something I feel is necessary to say. If you follow this blog you’ll know I don’t use added starches or gums, I can’t eat them and I do believe they aren’t as necessary as we’re lead to believe. I won’t slam anyone who does though, don’t get me wrong, we all work within the limits that are set to us, some of us have a lot of restrictions and it can mean even small victories mean a lot to us. So like I say if you’ve used gums and starches and are proud of the results good for you, I really mean that, but I don’t stand behind the idea that we should settle for emulating gluten-based foods with whatever comes to hand. We should strive to be better than that. We learn more and more how truly terrible some of that food can be, yet we still try desperately to cling to it, making it with whatever comes to hand. I understand why, but at the beginning of this journey I cut all ties from that kind of thinking and started looking for better food. I believe it’s a better path than just settling for processed, gummed and starched up foods. A little is fine, but there’s a reason so many celiacs don’t feel better on a gluten free diet.

This is worth the wait, trust me!

I’m just one person, but I’ve run the gauntlet of celiac disease and you might question why then am I saying all this now. Well, for one, I won’t sugar coat anything or coddle people who seem, the majority of the time, to want any excuse to stop or to look for a magical work-about. It’s difficult, it’s tough and you’ll have to be even tougher to get through it. If anyone tells you otherwise  then they’re lying, that’s harsh, deal with it if you want to get, be and feel better.  You might wonder why I’m addressing this now, really I suppose it’s because there’s a fallacy that’s being perpetrated by accident. There is help for new celiacs everywhere, so many GF goods to choose from and yet, there are so many, years in that are still struggling. Where are the people helping them? They’re out there, they’re just being ignored for the easy-way-outers, the ones who’ll help you replace all your old food for something vaguely similar, ignoring the nutritional values completely or using buzzwords to catch inexperienced people. So the ones who aren’t new, but are still struggling are left confused and, yes, scared. Lord knows I’ve been there and still am in some ways. Here’s the simple truth: All That easy food and processed junk, no matter how they try and sell it to you, will catch up to you, not today, nor tomorrow, but someday. I know from experience that being unhealthy can build up until it’s seemingly impossible to break away from it, but it’s possible. I did it, and if you can fight everyday of your life you can too.

This is running on a tad. Have a a hand-pie.

So we finally reach the point of all this, if you accept the limits and uncross-able boundaries then you can start breaking down the walls that can be broken, and building yourself a better you in the process. Today I’m going to show you a dough with just three ingredients (Four if you count the water), that doesn’t need starch or gum to hold it together and that is in my opinion, and I knew my wheat-based pastry way back when, as good as any gluten based pastry I’ve ever used or eaten. I don’t say that lightly, I’ve worked at this, with only my own meagre knowledge and instincts to guide me and now I can revel in my own victory, however slight, knowing that I did something special. I didn’t need a company to make it or a fad diet to convince me to eat it, I just needed a love of baking and a hope that it will help someone like me. Now, onto the fun part.

What order are these in? “Order?” Kidding, they should be chronological or close. This is just before baking.

This whole recipe is on the Buckwheat Flour Shortcrust Pastry page. This is the chia-egg version I couldn’t wait to try and it really is a wonder. I don’t claim to know how this works so well. I know that buckwheat by itself will hold fairly well, I also know that a flax-egg helps it become better, but a chia-egg somehow blows all that away. The dough was smooth and in no way tacky. I could pull it apart and it would spring back. I rolled it, cut it, pulled and dragged it and at no point did it tear or crumble. It was like going back in time and making wheat-based pastry again. The chia-egg is a wonder here, I still will recommend it on a recipe by recipe basis, I like to be through and nothing is infallible. It failed in cookies if you’ll recall.

I wanted to soften the apple so I cooked it in sugary water, just a bit, until soft.

I don’t have anyone to share this with (Or fob off on if things went awry) so I wanted to make the most out of a small portion of dough. I decided on three pie shells, that I topped with apple and then filled with Microwave Sponge and microwaved (Duh), which worked well enough, but I realised that the dough could now make a closed pie that remained soft so it would be just as nice. Still, it was an excuse to try something new. I also made two hand pies, one I just folded over, the other I cut out two circles and pressed them together. I would probably make a pie with a top the next time around, it’s just I had no idea what would work before I started. Seat of the pants recipes here today.

My decoration fell off the round one as I forgot to wet it.

It was a  breeze to work with, even easier than the flax version. It stuck together when pressed and didn’t break when folded over. So I have hand pies that you can pick up and eat. The pastry is thinner too so you don’t have a huge wad of pastry with no filling. It also turned out softer than usual. It was like eating my Mother’s apple tarts again, but with the knowledge I wouldn’t feel in any way ill after. A really wonderful moment. This is a dough I could see being used in so many ways. It takes a lot to tear it and it doesn’t need a huge amount of flouring to roll it out. You end up with a light, slightly crispy crust, that tastes delicious.

Maybe if they’d been deeper the sponge topping would have been better. Not bad as a test and handy for a quick topping.

I added more to the others, but I still had some left over.

I’ve seen recipes that boast of how well they hold and how they’re just like wheat based ones and of course you invariably end up feeling lied to as you scrape up your mess of a dough and toss it away. I’ve never said that before now, so maybe you can trust me when I do. I love this recipe, I’ve worked with it and tried so much that I feel like I’ve watched a child grow up. It’s up to you to figure out what this pastry will become, whether it’ll be an inspiration or just the base for something amazing. As for me, well, I’m looking at better Soba Noodles and taking a moment to be a little proud of my achievement. Until later.

I could fit so much apple in there and no pastry tore around it.

Bites taken out and one pie gone before I took a photo. Shows you how good they are.

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