Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Easy Peasy Pie Crust {Clean Eating}


Scene in the Garden of Gethsemane
Each year Gregory Drive Alliance Church, puts on an amazing production on a weekend leading up to Easter. The last several years it has been an Easter Dinner Theatre production which includes a large cast of amazing volunteer actors from our church, musicians, a well-run team of kitchen staff, servers, a sound & lighting team etc. and it's all directed by our friends, Pat & Sandy who have a great vision and the talent and drive to pull it all together. Pat writes a script every year that tells a story that most anyone can relate to that is acted out alongside the Easter Story itself. I am always impressed with how professionally done it is and night after night sells out as people come to enjoy a full dinner and great entertainment with a clear message. It is always a wonderful time of service that brings our church family together and it's a great outreach to the community as well. And, if you will allow me a little moment to brag...I greatly enjoy watching my husband, Kirk use his acting talent as well! I had not been able to witness much of his acting up until the point that we became involved with these productions and let me tell you, he is amazing! Of course, I am a bit partial, but seriously, he's good. :) Next year, you must come out and witness it yourself!

This year was a little bit different...the production was smaller, with less actors and was entitled "Are You Listening" Dessert & More Cafe. It did not contain the Easter story, but rather lots of little stories to which any number of people can relate all set in and around a Cafe. There were stories for all kinds of life situations as well as a challenge to Christians to be the light of Jesus in this world...to listen to others, to care for them and help those in need. As for the music, there was a full band with several vocalists and it was fun to be part of a team of talented musicians and we had a good time! I found the whole production well done and challenging...once again a great thing of which to be a small part. Kirk had one of the lead roles and he did a great job as always...in fact, he played his part so well that people literally came up to him afterward to tell him how mad they were at him...not just his character, but at him! Haha Good job, Hun. :) Now, being that it was Dessert Theatre, according to the script, Kirk had to order an apple pie on stage. I volunteered to make him a gluten-free pie that would be just for him on the 3 nights of performances. More on that after the video because the pie crust I am sharing with you today is NOT the pie crust I made for him for the Dessert Theatre. That crust started out as a big fail. It ended up tasting good, but it was loaded with butter and, like I've said several times, I like my recipes to be as naturally low calorie as they can be and butter does not fit into that mold.

The recipe I AM sharing is one that I threw together for our Easter day dessert. The idea came about from chatting with my mom from whom I inherited that delicious Banana Pudding Recipe and that is exactly what I put in this pie crust. It was a huge hit with Kirk, the boys and Julie Cuthbert, our good friend who was our guest for dinner that day. I had called my mom to tell her that I was making a variation of her famous potato salad as a side dish to the ham that Julie was bringing over and she reminded me about using the Banana Pudding as a pie filler and that she used to use a graham cracker crust. Well, eating gluten-free, I don't have any graham crackers in the house anymore so I needed to improvise and this crust is what was born! It's versatile enough that you can fill it with any number of options; apples with a crumble topping would be delicious, pumpkin pie filling would be excellent as well, but be sure to try the banana pudding. The final result was a very light and sweet dessert that disappeared before my eyes! I wanted to take the leftovers over to Kirk's parents and he wouldn't let me take more than one piece over which I gave to my father-in-law who is diabetic. This pie is PERFECT for someone with diabetes since it uses the palm sugar which is low on the glycemic index. My mom used to make the Banana Pudding with or without a pie crust for her dad on a fairly regular basis due to his diabetes and he always enjoyed it! I hope you do too...

Easy Peasy Pie Crust




Ingredients:
1/2 c Almond Flour*
1/2 c Wheat-free Oat Flour (or regular oat flour)
1 Tbs Coconut Palm Sugar
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1/4 tsp Cream of Tartar
Water as needed

Directions:
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
- Place all ingredients except for the water in your Kitchenaid Mixer (or in a large bowl)
- Put the mixer on lowest setting and just start to mix the ingredients (you can also just use a spatula and your hands to mix)
- Add water a little at a time until you get a consistency that will allow the dough to stick together, but isn't runny.
- Ball the dough up and place it in your pie pan and spread it out until it covers the bottom and comes up the sides...be patient, it takes a little time to spread it evenly, but feel free to pull from some areas and fill in where needed.
- Bake for 12 minutes.
- Fill with the entire batch of Banana Pudding (or as much as is needed, you may not need the entire batch) and place in the fridge to set for a couple hours. (If you are doing an apple pie or pumpkin filling, just bake the crust, fill it and bake again - baking times will vary depending on the filling choice)



*You can use regular almond flour, but I used my homemade flour made with the pulp left over from my Almond Milk.You can dehydrate the pulp with a dehydrator or just place on a cookie sheet in your oven on the lowest setting and check it for several hours, breaking it up to remove all the moisture. Then, place the dehydrated pulp in your Vitamix blender and quickly grind it into flour! I haven't tried it, but I would think you could even just use the pulp itself, but if you do that you need to create your crust immediately because I find I can't let the pulp sit around for more than a day.


Banana Pudding Filling


                             The story of the failed pie crust

Kaleb helping Mommy make
an apple  pie for Daddy.  :)
When I was making the apple pie for Kirk for the Dessert Theatre, I googled gluten-free pie crusts and found several that looked good so I figured I would give it a go!  How hard could it be? Gluten Free Girl has a video tutorial that I watched and then the actual recipe I followed simply used butter, wheat-free oats, palm sugar and salt. All the tutorials I watched or read stressed the importance of keeping all your ingredients VERY cold along with any tools you were using. So I put my food processor bowl in the freezer prior to making my crust and I used cold butter and extremely cold water. I was very pleased with the initial dough and it was very delicious. However, when I went to bake it, it basically melted! I looked in the oven and just saw a puddle at the bottom of my pie plate! I took it out and placed it in the freezer. Once it was somewhat solid I spread it out in the pan again, poured in my apple pie filling and crumble topping and put it in the oven and baked it for close to an hour. It came out looking beautiful, but I didn't want to taste test it because I wanted to keep it intact. So, Kirk was actually tasting it for the first time ON-STAGE during the performance that night! Ha! I was sitting over with the band holding my breath when he took a bite...I was so nervous! 
Well, he got a couple bites down, made a joke about it being gluten-free which got a huge laugh from the audience and he made his exit as he was supposed to. After the performance I asked how the pie turned out. He said it was ok and I thought he would say that the crust wasn't that good so I asked him what wasn't so great about it. He said it was just that the apples were under-cooked! Oh well, can't win 'em all! :) He had 2 more pieces during the following 2 performances and then we both ate the rest up at home...it did not go to waste! But, since he has raved about the simple pie crust that I have shared above and would request the Banana Pudding Pie any day, I think I'll stick with the simpler, healthier option! Wouldn't you?
Served with Dairy-free Coconut Milk Whipped Topping

I hope you try this easy and healthy crust with your family using the fillings you enjoy. I would love to hear what you try and feel free to post pictures of your own creations on my Facebook page so we all can be inspired! And don't forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel and follow on Twitter, Pinterest & Instagram.


Treat yourself well!