First off, I have to apologize to July 5th for complaining about it being a Thursday. One giant coffee down, and I was raring (and jittery) to go yesterday. Now today is like the 2nd Friday of the week! Which means tomorrow is the second Saturday. July 5th, the Thursday, you’re not so bad.
Second, I know this isn’t my normal Fun Facts Friday post, but I assure you it still is fun, and Friday. Please forgive me.
Here is one fact for you. Before this week I had never baked a pie by myself. I grew up baking them with my mom and grandma. We would have big apple pie baking days in the fall and knock out 50 pies at once. Then we would par-bake and freeze them and divide them amongst our family and friends. My job was always peeling the apples. My grandma had this awesome automatic peeler that could slice your thumb off. It made for easy work.
So that was when I was about 5. Now I’m 25 (shhhh, don’t tell). And I made pie again.
I was a little intimidated at first. Good crust is hard to come by. The kind that flakes apart in your mouth. Buttery, and a little bit sweet. I’ve heard it’s touchy to make. I didn’t want to mess it up.
I couldn’t find one recipe for an entire pie that I liked. So I made a mish mosh of recipes. I adapted a crust recipe from a cookbook I had (read: I used it as a very rough outline for the technique). Then I adapted this filling recipe from the Brown Eyed Baker and made it sugar free by using Stevia Baking Blend.
In the end, it really was pretty simple. Nothing to be scared of. I made the dough for the crust in my food processor, but if you don’t have one I’m sure you could do it by hand using a pastry cutter, or two forks. The trick is to make sure that the butter and shortening are frozen (or at least really cold). And also that you sprinkle it with ice-cold water. The tiny chunks of butter are what make the crust extra flaky and tender.
Another trick, rolling the crust out between parchment or wax paper. This makes it really easy to roll, without having to add any addition flour and messing with the texture. You don’t want to overwork your crust, so the parchment allows you to zip right through this step.
The strawberry filling is juicy and sweet, without any added sugar. If you don’t have stevia, sugar would work fine too, I’m sure. The gelatin in it does not turn this into a jello pie, it just helps bind everything together.
I cut out cute little crust stars and put them on the top for 4th of July festivities. You could also make this with a different shape, a whole top crust, or no crust on top. Whatever suits your fancy. I thought the stars were perfect though, because you got little extra bites of crust, without a whole other crust on top.
As I cut into this and served it to my friends on the 4th I held my breath and said a little prayer that it would taste as good as it looked. Judging by the licking of plates, and empty pie dish, I think it was a success. (and my wonderfully talented friend Ashley took some lovely pictures of it too!!!!)
I am seeing many more pies in my future. In the words of Kevin McCallister in Home Alone, “I’m not afraid anymore. Did you hear that? I’m not afraid anymore!”
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Keywords: bake dessert whole grain sugar-free pie
Ingredients (1 9 inch pie)
For the crust
- 2 1/2 c whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/2 c non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening (frozen, cut into cubes)
- 1/2 c unsalted butter (frozen, cut into cubes)
- 1 T stevia powder (or 1 1/2 T white sugar)
- pinch salt
- 4 T ice cold water, plus more if needed
For the filling
- 2 lb fresh strawberries, washed, tops cut off, cut in half
- 3/4 c powdered stevia (or white sugar)
- 2 T cornstarch
- 2 t unflavored gelatin
- pinch of salt
- 1 T lemon juice
For the crust
Put flour, stevia and salt in the bowl of a food processor
Pulse several times to mix ingredients well
Add frozen cubes of butter and shortening
Pulse several times until all of the flour is incorporated, if you have chunks of butter that’s okay
Put dough into a large bowl
Mix 4 T of ice cold water into the dough with a fork or pastry cutter until you have a loose crumbly dough (you may need to add a few more teaspoons of water to reach the right consistency)
Divide dough in half, press each half into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes
(go enjoy a glass of wine and an episode of your reality tv show of choice while you’re waiting )
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F
Remove dough from fridge
Roll 1/2 out between 2 sheets of parchment paper (it should be about 1/4 inch thick)
Gently lift it into the pie plate
Use a sharp knife to trim the edges off
Prick a few holes into the bottom the crust
Crimp the edges with a fork, or create an edge with your thumb and forefinger
Put in preheated oven to bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown
(while it’s baking you can start on your pie filling)
For the filling
Puree 1 1/2 c of strawberries in a blender or food processor
In a small saucepan combine stevia, gelatin, cornstarch and salt
Add strawberry puree
Put over medium heat
Bring to a boil, stirring constantly
Once it comes to a boil it will get a little foamy, let it cook 2-3 minutes at this point, it should thicken up
Pour into a large bowl
Add strawberries and lemon juice, chill
Turn oven to low broil
Roll out the other pie crust between parchment
Use a star cookie cutter to cut the dough into shapes
Pour filling into baked pie shell
Place stars on the top randomly
Broil 5-6 minutes until top crust pieces are golden brown (keep a close eye so that it doesn’t burn)
Remove from oven, cool, then put it in the fridge to chill and set up (at least 2 hours)
Enjoy with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream!