Saturday, April 17, 2010

Pie in the Sky

So I offered to do a dessert for a dinner I went to yesterday and I wanted to do something healthy, something with fruit, and something from items I already had in my kitchen and pantry. Turns out that pie in the sky fit the bill. I mean, at our altitude, it really is.

I even love the act of getting things out and ready for baking. I first considered the crusts. You can't make pastry without fat but I wanted to use healthful fats so I decided on a combination of butter and coconut oil. And of course it had to be whole grain. And it seemed to me that buttermilk would be good in it.

Here's how I made the crusts (Makes 2 crusts):

2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup fat (1/2 cup each of butter/coconut oil)
A pinch of salt
2 Tbsp sucanat for a hint of sweet
1/4 - 1/2 cup buttermilk

Put the flour, salt, sucanat and fats in the food processor and pulse until it looks like coarse crumbs. It will be kind of like a graham cracker crust mix at this point but won't stick together well. Then turn on the processor and pulse while drizzling in buttermilk until you get a nice dough that will hold together. Try not to overwork it. Here's where it got a little tricky, I didn't want to roll it with flour because it is my opinion that adding more flour is a great way to get a tough dough. Instead, line your mat with plastic wrap and then use another piece on top. I had to keep moving the top piece around as I work the circle. Then pick up the whole crust still stuck to the bottom plastic and position it in the plate and peel back the plastic. Voila! Do the same for the top crust and pinch the edges together. This produced a very flavorful, crumbly crust that was definitely worth eating.

And for the filling?
Well, for one I pulled a bag of organic blackberries out of the freezer and put them in the steamer to thaw. For the other, I pulled out some Braeburn apples I'd dehydrated and put them to soak. They even had crunch when rehydrated. I didn't do anything special when I dried these, just ran them through my peeler/corer/slicer and tossed them in a bit of lemon water before draining and dehydrating. They really retained their flavor and texture. I was so pleased! I tossed each of the fruits with about a 1/4 to 1/2 cup sucanat, a few tablespoons of arrowroot powder, and spices as seemed appropriate. I believe I used cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom on the apples and vanilla and cardamom on the blackberries.

And here are the pies. I'd offer you a slice but they got all eaten up at dinner. I guess that means they turned out OK.

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