Amazingly tasty yet gluten-free chocolate bourbon hazelnut pie with hazelnut crust

This recipe is my adaptation of the Pacific Pie Company’s delicious chocolate bourbon hazelnut pie recipe. The filling is already naturally gluten free (though I tweaked it just a tiny bit anyway), but I wanted to make the entire pie gluten-free so my daughter, who is avoiding gluten, could enjoy it. So I needed to use a different crust. I started with Bon Appetit’s hazelnut crust recipe and made it gluten free by using America’s Test Kitchen’s gluten-free flour blend. Then, of course, I had to modify the recipe to adjust for the gluten-free flour. If you don’t care about gluten-free, you can use Pacific Pie Company’s all-butter flour crust.

Timing: Make the hazelnut pie crust first, to the point where you start chilling it. After about ten minutes of chilling, start making the filling. You want to pour the filling into the crust while the crust is still hot and the filling is still slightly warm. Because chemistry. See my book recommendations at the end of this post if you want to learn more.

The hazelnuts: You pretty much need a food processor for this recipe, if only to chop the hazelnuts. A one-pound package of Trader Joe’s dry-roasted and unsalted hazelnuts is perfect for this recipe (leaving a few left over for tasting—purely for quality control, of course). Or you can buy raw hazelnuts and toast them yourself. The recipe assumes the latter, but of course you can leave out the toasting step if you buy roasted hazelnuts.

Makes one 9″ pie

Gluten-free hazelnut crust

3/4 cup hazelnuts
1 cup America’s Test Kitchen’s gluten-free flour blend
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
1/2 cup chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 tablespoons sour cream
3/4 teaspoon rice wine vinegar

  1. Chill a 9″ pie pan.
  2. If you are toasting the hazelnuts, place them on a rimmed baking sheet and toast at 325°F, stirring once, until fragrant and slightly darkened (about 8–10 minutes). Watch them like a hawk–hazelnuts go from lusciously toasty to unusably blackened in a very short amount of time. Let cool, then remove skins by rubbing hazelnuts together in a clean kitchen towel (don’t worry about some bits of skin remaining).
  3. Pulse flour, xanthan gum, sugar, salt, and hazelnuts in a food processor until the consistency of coarse meal, about five minutes. Add butter, sour cream, and vinegar to dry ingredients and pulse (or mix continuously) until the dough is holding together—just a few more minutes.
  4. Remove the dough from the food processor. Using your fingers and starting with the sides of the chilled pie pan, press dough evenly up the sides of the pie pan, and then into the bottom of pan; make it as even in thickness and as smooth as you can. Chill 20 minutes. After 10 minutes of chilling, start making the filling.
  5. After chilling, bake crust at 350° until golden but not totally cooked through, 15–20 minutes. Remove from oven.

Chocolate bourbon hazelnut filling (naturally gluten-free)

1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup brown rice syrup or light corn syrup
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
4 eggs
1/4 cup bourbon (scant; don’t yield to the temptation to put more in)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
1-1/3 cup toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup dark chocolate, chopped (semisweet chocolate chips are fine)
One hazelnut pie crust

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Combine sugar, brown rice syrup, maple syrup, and butter in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Let cool until barely warm. (This is important; if you get impatient, the chocolate will melt in step 4.)
  3. In a large bowl combine eggs, bourbon, vanilla, and salt. Whisk well to combine. Slowly stir in cooled sugar mixture.
  4. When the egg/sugar mixture is warmish, but not too warm, stir in hazelnuts and chocolate. If the egg/sugar mixture is not cool enough, the chocolate will melt. You don’t want that. You want the distinct bits of soft chocolate in the finished product. If you got impatient, as I did, and the chocolate melts anyway, let the filling cool some more before you pour it into the pie shell, then, after you pour the filling into the pie crust, sprinkle 1/2 cup chocolate chips on the filling.
  5. Pour filling into the still-hot pie shell.
  6. Bake 45-55 minutes until filling is set but slightly jiggly. Cool completely before serving. Really. It is much better that way, and I say this as someone who generally dives into tasty baked desserts when they are hot out of the oven. Serve with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, or just plain.

Book recommendations: gluten-free cooking

Baking is chemistry and requires knowledge of how things work in order to adjust your recipes. For example, you can’t just substitute gluten-free flour for regular flour and expect the recipe to work. I highly recommend America Test Kitchen’s two books on gluten-free cooking, The How Can It Be Gluten Free Cookbook and The How Can It Be Gluten-Free Cookbook Volume 2. I own both books, and have made a lot of recipes from them. Every recipe I’ve tried works, and the editors tell you why they work, so you can learn how to adjust any recipe to be gluten free, as I did with the hazelnut crust in this post. If you buy through these links, I get a small affiliate’s fee, for which I thank you very much! You’re helping to keep this blog online.

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