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The holiday season is a double-edged sword: While there’s a ton of excitement and anticipation in knowing I have days of baking delicious sweet treats ahead, there’s also a sense of mourning, since unlike the unfettered holiday seasons of my childhood, I’ve had to refrain from making (and eating) some of my favorite dessert recipes because of my gluten intolerance for years now. In fact, it’s not just an intolerance I have to contend with: I’m a diagnosed Celiac. Recently, though, I’ve found some truly sensational gluten-free options for some of my go-to meals and snacks (such as this pasta that won over my gluten-eating family or these cookies that I’ll eat an entire box of in one sitting), but when the holidays roll around, you can’t blame me for wanting the desserts my younger self so freely indulged in.
That’s why when I discovered west~bourne’s House Pie Crust Mix, I breathed a sign of relief. Now, I’m somewhat of a gluten-free flour mixologist (I know, it’s a cool self-proclaimed title), but pie dough always results in one of the more fickle outcomes when translating from gluten-full to gluten-free. So, finding a pre-made mix that tastes even better than what I would make myself and has superb crumb and texture is a total blessing, especially when there are so many other holiday preparations that need tending to.
If you’re unfamiliar with west~bourne, there’s a few things you should know about them before I continue on with my infatuation for their stellar pie crust mix. The California-inspired brand is founded on principals of zero-waste and sustainability. They offset the carbon footprint of each purchase by investing in a redwood preservation project and ensure that every element of their packaging (even down to the ink, which is made from soy!) is made as sustainably as possible. Oh, and inspiring mission aside, they bring the goods — besides my beloved pie dough, they’ve got a whole siteful of snacks, pantry staples, and gifts that’d knock anyone socks off (like their collab berry butter with Oishii, or muffin mix that fill my mornings with glee).
Okay, now that we’ve got some context, back to the pies! The crust mix is formulated with a smart blend of buckwheat, oat, and cassava flours. Buckwheat flour is high in fiber and can be dense when used on it’s own, but when added in conjunction with lighter flours, such as cassava (which is the flour that tapioca starch is derived from), it provides body, crumb, and a nutty flavor that’s versatile in both savory and sweet baking. Oat flour brings in a mild, sweet taste that pairs beautifully with the buttery flake of a pie crust. As for the cassava, well, its elastic, texturally unrivaled on the GF flour scene, and overall a great tool in structured, wheat-free baked goods. My rating for their flour mixture: 10/10.
When making the dough, you just need to add a bit of oil (or melted butter, which is what I opted for) and water, give it a little mix, and voila! It’ll keep in the fridge or freezer, can be used just as you would any traditional pie dough, and is utterly scrumptious. Unlike other GF doughs I’ve tried rolling out, this dough had minimal cracking and stayed together quite nicely. It even held its own, without tears, when I used it to form these little hand pies.
With one bag, I managed to craft a 9-inch savory pie (filled with a curry-inspired filling of feta, potatoes, beet tops and herbs) and form a half dozen apple hand pies. I can’t wait to use the mix to free form galettes, hand tarts, quiche — who knows, I might even make mini pigs in a blanket with the stuff for my next tailgate. The crust turns out buttery, with a crumb worthy of a Paul Hollywood handshake (for all you GBBS fans out there).
Most importantly, though, I know I’ll be relying on the easy-to-make and heavenly-to-eat mix for the holidays ahead. I haven’t had pie after my Turkey Day or Christmas meal in over a decade, and I can’t wait to dig in to tried-and-true family recipes that both my family members and I can revel in together.