Pies have a reputation of being “bad for you”, a diet-killer, a guilty pleasure. While this reputation is somewhat deserved, pie can actually be a healthful choice, no matter what your dietary restrictions. But pie that’s GOOD for you can actually taste good.
General tips for making a health-conscious pie:
Use 1 crust, not 2. The majority of fat and calories comes from the pie crust, so obviously recipes that call for a top crust are more fat- and calorie-laden. Choose pies with no top crust, or substitute the top crust with a healthier alternative, such as a crumb topping.
Add fiber. Substitute half of the flour in the pie crust with wheat flour. You may have a chewier crust, but you’ll also have more fiber. You may need to add more liquid to the recipe to compensate for the added bulk . If you can find whole wheat pastry flour, use it. Be aware that the wheat flour really browns when it cooks, so eyeballing when the crust is done gets really tricky, and even when the crust is perfect, it might be darker than you’re used to and look a little burnt.
Use less fat. The flakiness of your crust is caused by layers of fat particles trapped between layers of flour particles. As long as your fat is distributed well, you should be able to reduce the amount you use and replace it with a low-fat, low-calorie alternative, such as fat-free cream cheese. You can also substitute any crust with an oil crust or a trans-free fat shortening.
Use less sweetener. In addition to substituting sugar for natural sweeteners suitable for baking, you can also just reduce the amount you use, especially in fruit pie fillings. Also, if the recipe calls for pudding mix, choose a sugar-free version. Add an alternative “flavor enhancer” to bring out the sweetness and flavor already in the pie – orange or lemon zest heightens flavor; vanilla or nut extracts enhance “fattening” sweetness and flavors without adding fat, or try adding cinnamon, allspice, cloves, or nutmeg. In chocolate fillings, substituting strong black coffee for any liquids will bring out the chocolate flavors.
How To Thicken Fruit Pie:
When thickening a fruit pie filling, there are several options to consider. Very often flour or cornstarch is used, but in certain instances tapioca, arrowroot and potato starch can also help achieve the desired consistency.
Tapioca starch is preferable for products that will be frozen because it will not break down when thawed. Tapioca is best in blueberry, cherry or peach pies.
Arrowroot, unlike cornstarch, is not broken down by the acid in the fruit you are using, so it is a good choice for fruit with a higher content of acidity such as strawberries or blackberries.
Potato starch is a great alternative because unlike other options, it does not break down, causing your pie to become watery again.
Although these options might result in a better end product, plain old flour also works just fine.
Here are some pie recipes matched with a healthy crust for you to try this summer.
Oil Pie Crust For A Crumb Topped Pie
This crust works very well for a blueberry crumb topped pie so make a double recipe of the oil pie crust.
This recipe makes enough for a single deep dish crust; to make a two-crust pie, double the recipe and remove 1 1/4 cups of the mixture; this will become your top crust. You can add cinnamon and sugar later. After you fill the bottom crust, sprinkle the topping evenly over it. It will bake into a crispy, flavorful crumb crust as the pie bakes.
- 1 1/2 cups (5 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/3 cup (2 3/8 ounces) vegetable oil
- 3 to 4 tablespoons (1 1/2 to 2 ounces) water or milk
Whisk together the flour, salt, sugar and baking powder. This can be done right in the pie pan, if you like. Whisk together the oil and water, then pour over the dry ingredients. Stir with a fork until the dough is evenly moistened. Pat the dough across the bottom of the pie pan and up the sides. A flat-bottomed measuring cup can help you make the bottom even. Press the dough up the sides of the pan with your fingers, and flute the top. Fill and bake.
- 2 pints blueberries (1 1/2 pounds)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- Reserved 1 ¼ cup pie crust
- 3 tablespoons (packed) light brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 375° and line a baking sheet with foil.
In a bowl, stir the berries with the sugar, flour and lemon juice, lightly mashing a few berries and por into the prepared pie crust.
Add 3 tablespoons (packed) light brown sugar and a 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon to the 1 ¼ reserved pie crust. Mix topping with fingertips to blend and form large crumbs. Sprinkle over the pie filling.
Place pie on prepared baking sheet and bake the pie in the center of the oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the bottom crust is golden and the fruit is bubbling. If necessary, cover the edge with foil for the last few minutes of baking. Let the pie cool for at least 4 hours before serving.
Quick And Easy Pie Crust
Makes enough dough for one, deep-dish, 10″ pie
- 1-½ cup unbleached all purpose flour, plus little extra for rolling the dough
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons Spectrum Shortening or other tans-free shortening, pinch off small pieces and chill in the freezer for 15 minutes
- 4 to 6 tablespoons ice cold water
Fit your food processor with a metal blade.
Measure the flour and salt into the processor bowl. Process for 10 seconds to combine.
Scatter small bits of shortening into the processor bowl, evenly over the flour. Process for about 15 seconds, stopping once to scrape down the sides using a rubber spatula, until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs.
Measure your cold water into a cup. While the processor is running, slowly pour 4 tablespoons of the cold water into the feed tube. Process for about 30 seconds, or until the dough has formed an elongated ball on one side of the processor bowl. You’ll hear a banging sound as the dough forms into this elongated ball.
Turn off the processor and feel the dough. It should be smooth and it should hold together completely. If it feels dry and is crumbly, you’ll need to turn on the processor and add another tablespoon or two of cold water and process until it holds together and feel smooth and not dry.
Usually, you won’t need to add additional water, but sometimes the protein in the flour is a bit higher than usual and it will require a little more water, or if it is a particularly dry day you might need a bit more water. The more you make pie dough, the more you’ll know the feel that is perfect for a good pie dough.
Remove the dough from the processor, and pat it into a thick disk, about 5″ round. Wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes to chill and to let the dough rest – this makes it easier to roll out. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and set it on the counter for a few minutes to make it easier to roll.
Sprinkle your counter top lightly with flour. Unwrap the dough, and place it in the center of the lightly floured counter top, then turn it over to coat with flour. Dust your rolling pin with flour, then use it to pat the dough into a round disk about 8″ in diameter. Roll the dough into a 14″ circle, rolling from the center out and using lighter pressure on the ends of the dough.
Drape the dough over the rolling pin to transport the dough over the top of a deep dish pie plate. Gently press the dough into the pie plate, using your fingertips, overlapping the dough over the edges of the pie plate, pressing lightly to patch any breaks in the dough. Fold the overlapping edge of pie dough up, evenly around the entire pie plate. Crimp it with your fingers or a fork.
Proceed with your favorite pie recipe.
If making a double crust, roll out the second crust as described above and fit over filling. Crimp edges together to seal. You can also make a lattice top crust for the pie. See directions below.
This pie crust recipe works very well for a Strawberry Rhubarb Pie.
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
Double the recipe for Quick and Easy Pie Crust
- 2 1/2 tablespoons tapioca
- 4 cups sliced fresh or frozen (not thawed) strawberries , (about 1 1/4 pounds)
- 1 cup sliced fresh or frozen (not thawed) rhubarb
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Pinch of ground nutmeg
- Pinch of salt
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with foil to catch any spills from the pie.
Follow directions above for rolling out the bottom crust.
For a Lattice Top Crust:
Roll the remaining dough between sheets of parchment or wax paper into a 12-inch circle. Peel off the top sheet. Cut the dough into 1-inch strips using a pastry wheel or a knife.
Lift off every other strip and lay them on top of the pie, leaving about a 1-inch gap between strips. Use the shorter strips for the edges and the longer ones for the middle of the pie.
Fold back the first, third and fifth strips of dough to the edge of the pie. Place a shorter strip of dough across the second and fourth strips, about 1 inch from the edge.
Unfold the folded strips over the crosswise strip. Fold back the second and fourth strips over the first crosswise strip.
Place another strip crosswise, about 1 inch from the first. Unfold the strips over the second crosswise strip.
Continue folding back, alternating strips and placing crosswise strip, until the top is covered with woven strips.
Trim any overhanging crust. Crimp the outer edge with a fork.
Brush the dough with egg white; sprinkle 1 teaspoon sugar (if using) over just the lattice top, not the outer edge.
Place pie on foil lined baking sheet and bake the pie for 20 minutes. Then rotate the pie 180 degrees and lower the oven temperature to 325°. Continue baking until the crust is golden and the filling is beginning to bubble, 30 to 35 minutes more. Let cool on a wire rack for at least 2 hours before serving.
Whole Wheat Pie Crust
one 9-inch pie crust or 10-inch tart shell – double the ingredients for a two crust pie
- ¾ cup unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- ½ cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 5 tablespoon trans-free vegetable shortening
- In a mixing bowl, combine the white and whole wheat flours and the salt. Add the shortening and with a pastry blender cut the fat into the flour. You can also quickly use your fingers to break up the shortening and form a coarse dough. Sprinkle with ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and mix with a fork until moist dough forms. You’ll use 5 to 6 tablespoons water.
- For a filled crust: Roll the dough into an 1/8-inch-thick round on a floured piece of wax paper or a pastry cloth. Roll the dough onto a rolling pin and then unroll it onto the pie pan. Cut off the excess, leaving an inch to fold under. Crimp the edge with the tines of a fork. Freeze for 10 minutes before baking.
- For a baked crust: Prepare the dough as for a filled crust. Prick the sides and bottom with a fork and bake in a 450ºF oven for 10 to 12 minutes, or until lightly browned.
Double Recipe Whole Wheat Pie Crust
- 6 cups sliced peeled peaches, (6-8 medium, ripe but firm
- 1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
- 2/3 cup sugar, plus 1 teaspoon for sprinkling
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 large egg white, lightly beaten, for brushing
Divide the dough in half and shape into 5-inch-wide disks. Wrap each in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Meanwhile, prepare filling:
Combine filling ingredients in a large bowl; toss well to coat. Let stand for 5 minutes.
To assemble pie:
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with foil.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator; let stand for 5 minutes to warm slightly. Roll one portion between sheets of parchment or wax paper into a 12-inch circle. Peel off the top sheet and invert the dough into a 9-inch pie pan. Peel off the remaining paper. Fit the crust to the pie pan with your fingers. Pour the filling into the crust.
Roll the remaining portion of dough between sheets of parchment or wax paper into another 12-inch circle. Peel off the top sheet of paper and invert the dough onto the fruit. Trim the top crust so it overhangs evenly. Tuck the top crust under the bottom crust, sealing the two together and making a plump edge. Flute the edge with your fingers.
Brush the top with egg white and sprinkle with the remaining 1 teaspoon sugar. Cut 6 steam vents in the top crust.
Place pie on prepared baking sheet and bake the pie on the center rack until the crust is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling, 50 to 60 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for at least 1 1/2 hours.
- Embracing Summer’s Bounty with Fresh Fruit Crisps (omgyummy.com)
- Third Thursday Thoughts: Frozen Fruit Tart Recipe (susanheim.blogspot.com)
- how to avoid common mistakes while making pie (glutenfreegirl.com)
- Rustic blueberry-peach galette (mamastephf.com)
- Two Sides of the Same Coin (kitchenmischiefs.wordpress.com)
- Apricot Almond Galette (with Strawberry and Mango variations) (spontaneoustomato.com)
When Father’s Day Is Celebrated Throughout The World:
MARCH: Andorra, Bolivia, Honduras, Italy, Liechtenstein, Portugal, Spain, Antwerp
MAY: Romania, South Korea, Tonga, Germany
June, third Sunday: Antigua, Argentina, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, People’s Republic of China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Ethiopia, France, Ghana, Greece, Guyana, Hungary, India, Ireland, Jamaica, Japan, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Myanmar, Netherlands, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Puerto Rico, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Venezuela, Zimbabwe
JUNE, other dates: Denmark, Austria, Belgium, El Salvador, Guatemala, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Uganda, Nicaragua, Poland, Haiti, Iran, Pakistan
JULY: Uruguay, Dominican Republic, Brazil, Samoa,
AUGUST: Taiwan, Nepal
SEPTEMBER, first Sunday: Australia, Figi, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea
NOVEMBER, second Sunday: Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden
DECEMBER: Thailand, Bulgaria
Father’s Day In Italy
Festa del Papa, the Italian name for Father’s Day, is celebrated on March 19. St. Joseph’s Feast Day in Italy is a day that commemorates San Giuseppe- a fatherly symbol of love, compassion, kindness, generosity and acceptance. Households prepare traditional spreads of special Italian breads and cookies.
Italians just love to celebrate. And St. Joseph’s Day or Father’s Day is no exception. This day is extremely popular in the northern part of Italy. In Florence and Rome, this festivity is marked with several days of live music and dancing, and of course, food and drink.
In some areas people wear green attire to commemorate this day and contemporary celebrations include people going out on street parades.
Family get-togethers include traditional San Giuseppe desserts that vary from region to region. In the south, zeppole (deep-fried dough balls) and bigné (cream puffs) are prepared and, in the north, frittelle (fritters) are eaten to mark the occasion.
In some regions, people set up bonfires or pageants to celebrate this day and a traditional donkey race is still held in some parts of Italy.
There is a tradition of sharing gifts. Children usually buy gifts for their fathers as a sign of honor and reverence. After people go to church on Father’s Day, they go out on the streets and greet their fathers as a symbol of love, compassion and respect.
Father’s Day in the United States
There are many different stories as to the origins of Father’s Day in the United States. Some of the possible scenarios telling the story of the first Father’s Day are:
1. It started in 1908 during a church service in West Virginia.
2. Vancouver, Washington was where the first Father’s Day celebration occurred.
3. Harry Meek, president of the Lions’ Club branch in Chicago, created the first Father’s Day with his organization. It was celebrated in 1915 on the third Sunday of June, since that was a date very close to his birthday.
Even though we don’t know exactly when the first Father’s Day was celebrated, we do know who promoted this holiday with a great passion. Mrs. John B. Dodd, who resided in Spokane Washington, felt that her father was outstanding and deserved to be honored. He had fought in the Civil War and had raised six children on his own after his wife had died.
Mrs. Dodd spoke to her minister and other ministers around Spokane to see if they would have a church service that was solely dedicated to fathers. She wished this service to be held on June 5th, her father’s birthday. It was actually scheduled on June 19th., however, since the minister needed more time to prepare such a service.
After that, the whole state of Washington began celebrating “Father’s Day” on the third Sunday of June. Children prepared special meals and desserts as a treat for their dads. If they happened to live apart, children would make an effort to visit.
Other states and organizations wanted an annual Father’s Day for the whole country. They began lobbying Congress to declare such a holiday. The idea of a “Father’s Day” was approved by President Woodrow Wilson in 1916, but it was not official until President Calvin Coolidge made it a national celebration in 1924.
In 1957, Maine Senator Margaret Chase Smith wrote a proposal accusing Congress of ignoring fathers for 40 years while honoring mothers. In 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation honoring fathers, designating the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day. Six years later, the day was made a permanent national holiday when President Richard Nixon signed it into law in 1972.
Grilled Steak Florentine Pinwheels
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 1/2 pounds Flank Steak, trimmed and cut into 6 pieces
- 1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 pound baby spinach leaves, washed and dried
- 1/2 cup Progresso Italian bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped (or 1 teaspoon dried)
- 3 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped (or 2 teaspoons dried)
- 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 egg
1. In medium skillet heat oil, cook onion and garlic until softened, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
2. Place flank steak between 2 pieces plastic wrap and pound each piece until thin (to about 1/4 inch — you may have to butterfly it to get it really flat).
3. Mix bread crumbs, oregano, basil, Parmesan, mozzarella cheese, salt and pepper together. Add cooked onion and garlic and 1 egg. Spread the stuffing mixture over each piece of flank steak, leaving a small border at the edges. Spread each piece with a layer of spinach leaves.
4. Roll each piece of flank steak and skewer each piece with a toothpick or small metal skewer.
5. Heat grill to high; lightly oil grill rack. Place pinwheels on grill, and cook, turning often, until a thermometer inserted into center of roll reads 140 degrees F, about 10 minutes.
- If you like, you can also pound, fill, and roll the entire flank steak; allow extra cooking time.
To cook inside (if grill is not available), sear rolls in a large heavy skillet, then finish cooking in 425 degree oven, about 7 to 10 minutes.
Makes 6 servings.
Grilled New Potatoes with a Red Pepper Crust
You can choose among tiny red potatoes such as Red Bliss, tiny fingerling or banana potatoes, Yukon Golds, purple or blue varieties and a host of others. All are low in starch and have thin skins and a firm, moist texture. Larger potatoes may be cut into halves. Starchy russets are not a good choice for this recipe.
- Olive oil for coating
- 24 small new potatoes
- 2 tablespoons sweet paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for direct cooking over medium-high heat and oil the grill rack. If the potatoes are very small, have ready a grill basket to keep them from falling through the grill rack into the fire, or use skewers.
Bring a pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the potatoes and cook them just until they can be pierced with a knife but are not completely tender, 5 minutes. Do not overcook. Drain and pat dry.
Put the potatoes in a large bowl and coat with oil. In a small bowl, mix together the paprika, cayenne, garlic powder and salt. Toss the potatoes with the spice mixture until well coated.
Grill the potatoes directly over medium-high heat, turning often, until nicely browned and tender, 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the size of the potatoes. Serve immediately.
Preparation Tip: If you are also grilling over indirect heat, you can cook these potatoes over the heated part of the grill toward the end of cooking. If grilling over direct heat, small potatoes may be grilled while the meat rests.
- 4 medium zucchini, about 6 inches long
- 4 medium yellow squash, about 6 inches long
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
- 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Juice of 2 lemons
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons chopped scallions, white portion only, reserve the greens for garnish (see below)
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped oregano
2. In the blender, or a medium-to-large bowl with an immersion blender, combine all of the marinade ingredients and blend until smooth. Pour over the zucchini and squash. Squeeze out any excess air from the bag and close. Roll the bag to evenly coat in the marinade. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
3. Preheat a well-oiled charcoal or gas grill to medium.
4. Remove the zucchini and squash from the bag, letting all excess run into the bag. Lightly pat dry with paper towels and place in a large bowl. Toss with the olive oil and a sprinkling of salt.
5. Place cut side down on the grate, close the lid, and grill until well-marked, 5 minutes. Flip, close the lid, and grill on the second side until well-marked, 5 minutes.
You can serve this pie with sliced fresh fruit.
- 1 1/2 cups crushed almond or hazelnut biscotti
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or Smart Balance Spread, melted
- 4 eggs
- 16 ounces whole-milk ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon rind
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Coat bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie plate with cooking spray.
- In a medium bowl, combine biscotti crumbs and butter. Pour into the bottom of prepared pan and press down firmly. Bake 10 minutes. Let cool.
- To prepare filling, whisk eggs in large bowl. Add remaining ingredients, and whisk until well combined.
- Pour filling into crust and bake 50 minutes, until a wooden pick inserted in the center of the pie comes out clean.
- The History of Father’s Day (socyberty.com)
- Father’s Day FAQ (greetingcarduniverse.com)
- Father’s Day (thedarkglobe.wordpress.com)
- Fire Up the Grill on Father’s Day; A Host of Ways to Celebrate Dad as “King of the Grill” (prweb.com)