Sept. 23, 2010
Whole Wheat (Fat-Free!) Vegan Pie Crust
I love cooking seasonally, esp. during the Fall months when so many of my favorite foods to cook with (pumpkins, butternut squash, acorn squash, apples and cranberries) are readily available and inexpensive.
Last week a bag of local apples was just $2 at the grocery store. I couldn't help myself and picked up two overflowing bags. Of course, when Scott saw all of the apples in our cart, he asked if I was planning to make an apple pie. I wasn't, but as soon as he said it I wanted a slice of fresh, homemade apple pie -- only what was I going to do about the pastry crust?! They're not exactly fat-free... or wholesome!
In the past, I've had success making whole wheat crusts but cutting that fat always proved tricky -- using Tofutti cream cheese works pretty good, but it's still not a totally fat-free alternative. The same is true of my whole wheat graham cracker crusts. Plus, I know that not everyone has access to Tofutti cream cheese or whole wheat graham crackers, so I've been meaning to find a way to make a fat-free crust with "everyday" ingredients... and friends, I've done it! I've found a way to make a healthy (yes! healthy!!) pie crust!
This pie crust uses only two ingredients! It's also easy to make and doesn't require much more effort than traditional pie crusts. In fact, I might say it's even easier. I think it would work for any pie, but it's best to only use as a bottom layer. (I recommend using a whole-wheat, fat-free crumb topping for the top cover).
Go ahead and go make that guilt-less blueberry or apple pie this weekend!
Can you have a pie crust that's whole wheat and fat-free? Yes, yes you can. This pie crust, however, works best only as the bottom layer. I don't recommend using it as the top cover for the pie also. Instead, use the Blueberry Crisp crumb topping.
1¼ cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 whole banana, cold
1 tsp cinnamon (optional)
1 tbsp raw sugar (optional)
½ tsp salt
Combine flour and banana (a slightly unripe, still greenish banana is best) in a food processor, pulsing until there are no whole banana pieces left and you can mold the mixture (think play-dough). Transfer it out on to a clean surface and incorporate 1-3 tsp of warm water. You want enough water so that the dough is wet and not crumbly or dry, but not so wet it becomes sticky or hard to work with. Again, think "play dough". Roll it out using a glass (such as a drinking glass) until it's very thin. I find picking the dough up and moving it as I roll it out helps keep it from sticking to my clean surface. Once it is rolled out thinly, drape it over a greased, shallow 9" glass pie dish. Add your pie filling into the center, crumb topping over top and bake at 350F (regardless of what original pie recipe says). For a "premade crust" bake 10-15 minutes and let completely cool. If at any time the dough tears, push it back together with your fingers and a few drops of water.
To make apple pie, thinly slice 6-8 apples and toss with 1 tbsp cinnamon and 1/4 cup or more brown sugar. A few dashes of ground ginger is also a nice addition.