The same garbanzo beans that can be used to make creamy, savory hummus or falafels can be used to make delicious, tender pie crusts and other pastries. Garbanzo bean flour, commonly known as besan flour or chickpea flour, is made by grinding dried chickpeas to a fine powder. This gluten-free flour adds a nutritional boost to baked goods with its high protein and fiber content. Whether you choose to use it alone, or as part of your baking mix, garbanzo bean flour is worth experimenting with next time you make your own pie crust.
Benefits of Garbanzo Bean Flour
From a purely nutritional standpoint, there’s no contest in the battle between refined white wheat flour and garbanzo flour. For example, garbanzo bean flour is less likely to cause a spike in your blood sugar than traditional wheat-based flour. Additionally, it is gluten-free and has more than three times as much protein and nearly five times as much fiber as refined white flour. As an added bonus, garbanzo bean flour lightens the density of nut flours and adds elasticity to gluten-free blends, which makes it easier to roll your pie crust out.
Using Only Garbanzo Bean Flour
Garbanzo beans add creaminess, texture and unmistakable flavor to pie crust. If you're looking to keep your crust simple, using all garbanzo bean flour delivers ease of operation. Combine chickpea flour and salt in a food processor before drizzling the cooking oil of your choice into the mixture. Process until the consistency is similar to breadcrumbs and then slowly add water until the dough is well formed. Roll the dough out on a flat surface and place it in your pie dish, cutting excess dough off the edges. Prick the dough with a fork and bake it for roughly 10 to 15 minutes in an oven that's been preheated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. If you'll be using the pie crust for a sweet pie, add a tablespoon or two of the sweetener of your choice to the mixture while it's processing.
Using Garbanzo Bean Flour as Part of a Mix
Like other bean flours, garbanzo bean flour adds a strong flavor to your pie crust. If you're new to using garbanzo bean flour or sensitive to its flavor, try using it as part of a baking mix. Traditional bakers can boost the protein content of their pie crust by using equal parts of all-purpose flour and garbanzo bean flour. Gluten-free bakers can make a high-protein baking mix by combining roughly 1 1/4 cups of garbanzo bean flour with 1 cup of white or brown rice flour, 1 cup of tapioca flour and 1 cup of cornstarch, potato starch or arrowroot starch. Then use that flour mix to make a light, tasty pie crust by combining it with coconut oil, xanthan gum, cider vinegar, a pinch of salt and the sweetener of your choice.
If you don't want to use any other flour in your crust, consider combining the garbanzo bean flour with chopped walnuts or pecans that have been processed to a fine meal in a food processor. The nuts will add texture and flavor to offset the garbanzos. Another way to cut the flavor a bit is to replace refined, white sugar with muscovado, date or Rapadura, all of which can balance the slightly bitter flavor of the garbanzo bean flour.