As I began working on this recipe, I quickly began to doubt the wisdom of this particular recipe assignment for the Have a Healthy Holiday event.
See, the thing is… I’m a not a baker (shhh).
I can cook wonderfully healthy food. I can make some main dishes that taste incredible. I’m a smoothie queen. But baking? I wouldn’t usually consider it to be my forte, nor do I particularly enjoy it.
That said, I threw myself into this wholeheartedly, because I was determined to present you with an end result that might not be picture perfect, but that would satisfy my two basic criteria:
- It has to taste good. Really good. And be approved by my husband.
- It has to include real, whole, traditional ingredients. No hydrogenated fats (just plain ol’ butter). No white flour or sugar. No canned anything. Wholesome foods make for the best celebrations.
It’s not the prettiest thing you’ve ever seen, but I think I fulfilled my criteria. I’m hoping you’ll agree!
Whole Grain Buttery Pie Crust
- 1 ¼ cups freshly ground Kamut or Spelt or Whole Wheat flour OR 1 ⅓ cups pastry Whole Wheat flour
- Pinch of sea salt
- 1 Tbsp Sucanat (unrefined sugar) – not necessary, but it does add to the flavor nicely
- ½ cup cold butter (1 stick, pastured/organic is best)
- 1-2 Tbsp cold milk (I use whole raw milk)
Step 1– Sift the flour into a bowl, add sea salt and sugar if using.
Step 2– Cut stick of butter into smaller pieces, then cut into the flour using a pastry cutter. If you don’t have one, you can use your fingers to mix it and break up the butter. Continue until pieces of butter are pea-sized.
Step 3– Add 1 Tbsp of milk and begin shaping into a ball. Add extra liquid bit by bit if needed, only enough to get the dough to a workable texture for rolling out.You want it to stick together, but you don’t want it wet.
Step 4– Roll the dough out on a piece of floured, unbleached parchment paper. The paper is optional, but it really does help to make the process of transferring the dough to the pie plate a million times easier! Roll it until it is about 1/4-1/2 inch thick and large enough to completely cover the pie plate.
Step 5– Carefully flip the dough over onto the pie plate. Peel off the paper and gently push the dough into the edges of the plate. Cut the excess dough off, using the edge of the pie plate as a guide. If you want to make the edges fancier, with crimping or fluting, you can use kitchen scissors to cut the dough evenly around with a 1/2 inch overhang, to give you more dough to work with. Save your scraps, because you can use these to fill in any thin spots or gaps in your edges.
Step 6– Prick the unbaked pie crust several times with a fork. Put into the oven at 400 F for 15 min. (I also read after I made mine that you will get less shrinkage with your dough if you let it sit in the fridge for 20-30 minutes before baking- I will have to try that next time, as mine always shrinks a little). Cover with a piece of foil to keep the crust from browning too much.
I am still no pie crust making expert, not by a long shot. I can make it healthy and I can make it taste good, but perfect looking? I only wish. However, I did find a couple of helpful articles, one on making Perfect Pie Crusts and the other on Making a Pie Crust Step by Step.
Scrumptious (and Healthier) Pumpkin Pie Filling
When we were all planning this Healthy Holiday event, it was noted that the pumpkin pie was not to come from a can. And so this one doesn’t… except that it could. And mine did.
Every fall, I dedicate one day to take quite a few organic pumpkins, cut and de-seed them, bake them, and then make puree.
I take my pumpkin puree and put it into glass canning jars. I just screw on lids, label them and stick them in the freezer, rather than messing around with pressure-canning them.
When I want to make pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread or any other pumpkin goodness, I just take a jar out of the freezer a day in advance and I have homemade puree at my ready.
- 1 pint of organic pumpkin puree (or 16 oz.)- This is usually about 1/2 a pie pumpkin. You can follow my directions for preparing the puree here.
- ⅔ cup Sucanat or other unrefined sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp ginger
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- ⅛ tsp allspice
- ½ tsp salt
- 3 free-range eggs
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup milk
- ½ tsp lemon juice
Pour into the pre-baked pie shell. Bake at 375 F for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out of the center clean. Set the pie on a wire rack to cool. Put into the fridge within 2 hours of baking, to store it until it’s time to dig in.
Mmmm… top with a dollop of freshly whipped cream, and devour. Save me a piece, ok?