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Gluten-Free Crusts: Savory & Sweet

TIME: ~30 MINUTES + chilling; SERVES: 1 CRUST
Adapted from NYT Cooking & ‘Dishing up the Dirt’

If you’re looking for a crust that will replace a classic apple or cherry pie dough, these are not them. Ground nuts add a layer of richness, flavor and texture, but they are far from flakey. These are hardier crusts that are pressed into pans with either a sweet curd, like the Cranberry Curd tart from NYT Cooking, or a filling quiche.



2 cups almond meal or flour
2 - 3 cloves garlic, minced or grated
1 tbls. minced fresh thyme or 1 tsp. dried
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1/3 cup olive oil
~1 1/2 tbls. water


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease a 10-inch tart pan, cast iron skillet or 9-inch pie pan with oil or butter. In a mixing bowl, stir together the almond meal/flour, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. Pour in the olive oil and stir until thoroughly combined. Add the water, a little at a time until the dough holds together.

  2. Press the dough into your prepared pan until it is evenly dispersed across the bottom and at least 1 inch up the sides. Bake until the crust is lightly golden and firm to the touch, about 15 minutes.


You can substitute almonds or pecans for this recipe. I prefer to buy raw nuts and roast them, because many of the roasted & blanched nuts I’ve purchased are rancid.

1 1/4 cup raw hazelnuts
1 cup rice flour (brown or white)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 - 1/2 cup sugar
6 tbls. softened, unsalted butter; more as necessary


  1. Heat oven to 325°F.

  2. Spread hazelnuts on a baking sheet and roast for 12 - 15 minutes, until skins darken and crack. If you want a very uniform crust, place roasted nuts in a clean towel and rub off skins. Discard skins and let nuts cool.

  3. In a food processor, grind nuts with half the rice flour until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Add remaining rice flour and salt, and pulse briefly.

  4. Cream sugar and butter in a mixing bowl for a minute or two until pale and thick. Add nut mixture and combine until dough comes together. If it seems crumbly, add 1 - 2 tbls. softened butter or a little cold water.

  5. Press dough evenly into a 10-inch tart pan; use 1/4 of the dough for the sides and 3/4 for the bottom. Prick bottom with a fork and freeze for 30 minutes (or up to several days). Don’t feel obligated to use all the dough if the crust seems very thick—about 1/4-inch is thick enough.

  6. Heat oven to 350°F. Bake the chilled tart shell about 15 minutes until lightly brown before filling.

cran curd tart.jpg