Wooh. Big day for me. I successfully made a pie crust that wasn’t oily nor contained shortening or butter. And tasted great. And I was able to roll it out pretty/not tear. I’ll be honest, pie making is not my area of expertise. My Mom was the one who could make a tender, flaky crust. Not me. Part of it was being so impatient. I would watch her and wonder why anyone would want to spend that kind of time when they could buy a pre-made crust. Yes, I am cringing. I haven’t bought a refrigerated pie crust in years (nearly all of them contain multiple artificial colorings) and frozen ones often have questionable fats added. It was hard to give up the convenience though and try to learn how to make a good crust. But with my only options being mostly freezer burnt organic ones – that cost $5 or more, I had incentive. And frankly, how many times do you buy a frozen pie crust that doesn’t need to be thawed and repaired before you bake it? And that even taste good enough that you want to waste calories on it?
My inspiration came from The Best of Clean Eating 2: Over 200 Recipes with Cleaned-Up Comfort Foods and Fast Family Dinners, on pages 236 through 238. I took the liberty of adaptation, using hazelnuts versus peanuts – after all, hazelnuts and chocolate are a match anytime, no? And I used refrigerated unsweetened coconut milk versus the light called for, which would have been canned milk. It is cheaper, fresher and tastes better! Maybe it was my years of working for an Asian importer, but I got soured on canned coconut milk, then found a new love once I started using the refrigerated last year.
The only downside is the pie is a bit less creamy than it might be than if you used the canned. Once frozen you do need to let it thaw on the counter for 30 to 45 minutes, till you can cut it. Then let your slices sit a bit longer, it gets creamier the longer it sits (although there is that fine line between frozen and melty!).
Walker enjoying his slice:
Whole-Grain Nut Pie Crust
- ¼ cup whole raw hazelnuts
- 1 tsp sucanat or organic granulated sugar
- ¼ tsp fine sea salt
- 1¼ cups whole-wheat pastry flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 1/3 cup low-fat milk (dairy or non-dairy, used unsweetened coconut milk)
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 Tbsp sunflower oil
- 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
Preheat the oven to 375°.
Add the hazelnuts, sugar and sea salt to a food processor bowl, process until finely ground. Add the flour and baking powder, pulse a couple of times to combine.
Whisk the milk, egg, oil and vinegar together, slowly pour through the food chute with it running on low. Process just enough to combine ingredients, it will be partially crumbly, but stick together when squeezed.
Dump dough out onto a well-floured surface. (I found I had to knead the dough a bit to work in a little more flour) Use a lightly floured rolling-pin to roll out to a 12″ circle. Roll the dough gently on the rolling-pin and transfer to a pie pan, unroll over. Gently fit the pie crust inside. Either make a fancy fluted edge or trim the excess off and use a fork to crimp the edge. Prick the dough all over the bottom and sides with a fork to create steam holes.
Transfer to oven and bake for 20 minutes, until edges and center are golden. Remove from oven and let cool fully before using.
Dough scraps? See below!
Makes 1 9″-inch pie crust.
Chocolate Banana Freezer Pie
- 5 ripe bananas, peeled
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- ¼ cup raw hazelnuts, finely chopped
- 1 ounce dark or semi-sweet chocolate or chocolate chips, finely chopped
- 1 pie crust, from above
Add the bananas, cocoa, coconut milk and vanilla to a high-speed blender (such as a Vitamix). Process on high until smooth, scraping the sides if needed.
Transfer the baked pie shell to a small rimmed baking sheet. Scrunch up two bits of foil and position at each end to keep the pie pan from shifting. Pour the mixture in (it will resemble cake batter). Sprinkle the hazelnuts and chocolate on top. Transfer to the freezer, covering with plastic wrap. Freeze for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Let set at room temperature for 30 minutes (longer if pie was frozen overnight), until pie is just soft enough to yield to the cut of a knife. Slice and serve.
Strawberry & Chocolate Hand Pies
- Left over raw pie crust
- Strawberry preserves
- Dark or Semi-sweet chocolate chips
Roll the dough scraps out to about ¼” thick, trim the edges to make neat, cut into rectangles about 8″ long and maybe 4″ across – or whatever size you desire. Add a dollop of jam in the center (a heaping teaspoon or so) and a sprinkle of chips (4 to 8), fold in half and crimp the edges with a fork. Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, bake alongside the pie shell, for 20 minutes. Let cool down before eating, the filling will be very hot.
Made 3 from scraps. Oinks!