I'm sharing today a recipe - no, a solution - to a problem presented to me by The Hubster. Maybe you are making a lifestyle change or, like me, need to accommodate someone who is, or you need a gluten-free solution to accommodate a dietary issue for someone. Whatever it is, this can make dessert time the best time of the meal for everyone!
Quick background: My husband recently lost 100 lbs. by changing his eating habits and by adapting The Primal Diet, which is really a change in what you eat, not counting calories or having tiny portions. Basically, he doesn't eat "white" - no white flour, white sugar, pastas, etc. He snacks, he eats regular man-size portions, just not processed white products! And it has worked like crazy, I have to admit. Seriously, if you are interested in what has worked for him, need some inspiration, have questions, or just want to pick his brain, check out his blog, Haver Wisdom.
But, Thanksgiving was coming and I make a killer scratch pumpkin pie! It's not Thanksgiving without it. And, being a good and supportive wife (who doesn't like to share her pumpkin pie anyway), I wanted to support him and help him stay on track where I can. Dinners were easy, but desserts? Well, I did some research and it's not as tough as you might think!
Your basic baking substitutions are as follows:
- white flour -> switch to almond or coconut flour
- shortening -> switch to coconut oil
- sugar -> switch to organic local honey or maple flakes
- evaporated milk -> switch to coconut milk (if you need a true paleo primal recipe. My husband hasn't taken diary out of his diet, so I use the regular evaporated milk)
So, let's look at the recipe. The pie crust is made pretty much the same as you would make a regular flour and shortening crust.
- 1 1/2 cups of almond flour
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 1/4 tsp. sea salt (you can sub regular salt)
- 4-6 tbsp. cold water
Cut half your coconut oil into the flour and blend thoroughly with a pasty blender. Add the second half of the coconut oil and do the same. Blend until your flour is clumping together in the size of peas. Add water and lightly knead into a ball, handling the dough as little as necessary.
NOTE: Be really stingy with the water. Simply use a spoon and add a little bit at a time until your flour is holding together, but still dry feeling. I think the coconut oil adds more moisture than they realize. Just my guess. Put your dough on a sheet of floured waxed paper. Cover with another sheet and roll out from the center, like the spokes of a wheel, until you have a circle to cover your pie dish beyond the edge. I made mine a little thicker than 1/8", just to hold together better.
Take off the top sheet of waxed paper and transfer the dough into the pie dish, pressing into the bottom, using the bottom sheet of paper. Trim the excess and either fork-press or finger-press your edge. TIP: At this point, I put all pie crusts I make into the freezer for about 10-15 minutes. I don't know why, but it makes them bake up flakier! This was a tip I got my mother and grandmother and it does work! While you are freezing your spiffy brand new healthy pie crust, go ahead and preheat your oven to 425 degrees and grab your filling ingredients. (Remember, this is primal, but not paleo, so I will be using eggs and dairy.)
- 1 cup cooked mashed pumpkin (or 2 cups of canned 100% pure pumpkin works fine, too)
- 1/2 tsp. salt (scanty)
- 1 cup evaporated milk
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup honey (or maple flakes)
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/3 tsp. ground ginger
- 1/3 tsp. nutmeg
This part is easy - put all your ingredients in your mixing bowl and blend! That's it!
Pour the filling into your pie crust and pop into the oven. You are going to let it bake for 45-50 minutes. To check to be sure it's done, insert a butter knife in the filling towards the side. If it comes out clean, you are done!
This tastes almost exactly like my own great-grandmother's pie recipe and we were really happy with it. It was a hit at Thanksgiving, so much so that I'll be making it again for my mum-in-law's Christmas dinner. The crust cooks a little darker than a regular pie crust and it is definitely more crumbly, but the taste is nearly identical to a traditional crust! Now The Hubster can have his Thanksgiving pie and, hey, if I go healthy, I can have it too. Or I can pick up his slack on the regular pies I'm bake...by sneaking what would have been his portion and hiding someplace my kids can't find me...maybe the bathroom...