Thursday, November 26, 2009
Perfect as Pie
One would think it makes more sense to blog about Thanksgiving food AFTER Thanksgiving, but I couldn't stand to wait because of how my morning has gone! Aaron and I have plans to spend the evening with some good friends, Grant and Joy, who happen to be in town and also without family in the area. I told them that I'd like to bring the pumpkin pie (I LOVE making pies) and the stuffing (my number 1 Turkey Day favorite!) Joy is a Vegan, so I knew I wanted to make both of these dishes suitable for her diet. She certainly didn't request this...but I made the decision! Vegan eating is obviously very healthy because it focuses on veggies and protein from legumes. I'm no where near a Vegan, but Aaron and I have been eating far more veggies and fruits since my diagnosis over the summer than we previously did, so I'm ALWAYS looking for "healthier ways" to prepare a classic meal. Pie, in my opinion of course, is one of those classics. I learned from my mom and grammy G when I was just a kid that you NEVER EVER buy your own pie crust. You make it from scratch! So I've gone from using Crisco, to using butter (not much better for you!), to just today learning how to use light olive oil for the crust. I've found that butter is better than crisco because it creates a flakier, pastry type crust, but olive oil is always healthier for you. I couldn't have used butter in this case because it comes from cow's milk and that isn't Vegan.
So, my first try with the recipe I found: Terrible. It wouldn't even roll out without falling apart! I thought I may have missed a step, so I tried again. STILL no luck! Then I finally looked up a different recipe...PERFECT! It worked like a charm! So I think i've found the best olive oil pastry crust recipe. After a morning of initial frustration, please allow me to share the wealth of knowledge!
For a single crust pie. Double the recipe for a two-layer crust.
2/3 C Extra-Light Olive Oil-chilled (put bottle in the fridge for about 20 minutes)...and emphasis on extra-light. You don't want a strong olive flavor to your pie!
2 1/2 C Flour
1 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Sugar
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 C Ice Water - I suggest even putting cubes in it to make it really cold
Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix thoroughly with a fork. Add the chilled olive oil and cut in with a pastry cutter. Cut until pea-sized balls are formed. Add cold water and mix again with the fork. Then form a ball of dough with your hands. Flour your rolling pin and rolling mat and flatten dough.
Add ingredients (apples, blueberries, cherries, pumpkin, etc.) and bake for 15 minutes at 425. Then lower temperature to 350 degrees and bake for another 35-40 minutes.
*Today I made a pumpkin pie and I highly recommend the pumpkin mix from Whole Foods. It's all natural and smells amazing. The color (as you can tell from the picture) is darker than usual...probably because they don't use artifical colors! Hooray!
Enjoy! This recipe makes a beautiful pie!