Stupid question – How do you feel about flakey pie crust filled with gooey autumnal fruits and warm spices? Good? Me too.
This is an emotionally significant recipe for me as it marks some serious progress in my healing, and in my ability to navigate alternative baking for truly satisfying results.
I’ve resurrected one of my favorite recipes – one that I thought I might have to lay to rest forever when I decided it was time to address my Candida overgrowth and related health issues a couple of years ago: Pear and Toasted Nut Pie.
The summer Nick and I were married, I started baking and selling pies at our local farmer’s market in Ohio. I called my little booth “Pie Joy”. My middle name is Joy, and I also think bear an inherent joy between those layers of buttery crust, unrivaled in the world of baked goods.
To kick off my new series, which will be ramping up over the holidays “Pie Joy: Tidings of Pie and Joy”, I figured what better way to start than by going back to one of my favorites and giving it new life to fit my new lifestyle. That is – sugar-free, grain-free and one day Candida-symptom free.
I loved the whole process of baking pies for the market: from getting lost in thought dreaming up new combinations, to buying the ingredients for next week’s pies before leaving for the day, to staying up late in a flurry of flour, sugar and produce the night before.
Well… sometimes I loved that. Sometimes I just wanted to go to bed. But looking back it’s all fondness.
Every surface in our little apartment was covered with cooling pies. We didn’t have air conditioning, so our window fans were rotating full blast; the hot air was sweet with cooked fruit.
This was just a few months before making the huge move to Southern California. We had one more fall in Ohio before the move, and my pear and toasted almond pie was the one I kept making throughout the season as Boscs were peaking.
I could never really decide which pear I liked best, which is why when I decided to try to re-create one of my favorite pies with my new allergy-friendly perspective, I went for all three: Bosc, Bartlett and Asian.
Technically, Bosc is best for baking as they have the best watery to firmness ratio. But Bartlett comes in a close second. They’re a little softer, which I think makes for a nice plump, juicy filling. Asian pears are the driest and firmest.
I think the best method is to use some Bartlett and some of one of the firmer varieties. So why not use all three and get more color and slightly different texture within each bite?
I also decided to go with toasted pecans because they’re softer, and have more of a crumble than almonds.
Also, since I’m staying strictly paleo for at least a while, in attempts to permanently heal my gut lining, the crust is made of blanched almond flour. So the pecans also boost the variation of flavor .
If you’ve never had confidence in flakey paleo pie crust, let’s put that uneasiness to bed right now. This recipe really nails it. I wish I could take credit for it, but I can’t. I can honestly say you won’t even miss the wheat.
I haven’t been able to find a blanched almond flour I like better than Honeyville. It’s a really fine grain so it’s great for baking.
If you’re nervous about the milk sugars in the butter, you could use ghee (clarified butter) or maybe even try coconut oil. Though for that, you may want to add the oil 1 Tbs at a time to make sure you don’t drown it.
- Ingredients for double pie crust as linked above.
- 2 Cups blanched almond flour
- 1 cup arrowroot or tapioca flour
- ¾ tsp sea salt
- 8 to 10 tbs cold unsalted grass fed butter, ghee or organic palm shortening
- 2 large organic eggs
- 1 packet Truvia - I added that. I think a little sweetness in fruit pie crust is nice.
- Ingredients for filling
- 1 Bosc pear
- 1 Bartlett pear
- 1 Asian pear
- ¼ Cup Latanko monkfruit sweetener
- 1 Tbs lemon juice
- 2 Tbs arrowroot flour
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp allspice or apple pie spice
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- ½ cup toasted pecans (preferably soaked and dried for easier digestion)
- For the Crust:
- Preheat the over to 350.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the almond flour, arrowroot or tapioca flour, and sea salt. Cut in the butter or shortening using your fingers or a pastry cutter until small pea-sized crumbs form.
- Crack the egg into the middle of the mixture and then stir in using a fork. Continue to knead a few times until the mixture forms a ball. If dough seems too dry, then add a very small amount of cold water (about 1 tablespoon). If making a double crust, divide dough into two equal sized balls.
- Wrap dough in parchment or waxed paper and chill in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours or into your freezer for about 20 minutes.
- Remove the top sheet of paper and then carefully flip dough over and into the pie plate. Remove the second sheet of paper. Flute edges. Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork a few times. Pre-bake crust for 8 to 10 minutes for a single crust pie and then fill with a pumpkin filling (or your favorite filling). Bake as directed. If making a double crust pie such as an apple pie then roll out dough, fill, and place the second layer on top. Flute edges and bake as directed.
- Source: www.NourishingMeals.com
- For the Filling:
- Slice and chop the pears into 1 inch cubes.
- Chop the pecans.
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.
- Once the dough is chilled roll it out between 2 sheets of parchment paper.
- Put your pie dish on top of it.
- Gently flip it so that your crust rests in the pie dish.
- Add the filling.
- Roll out the other crust and quickly, but carefully flip it on top of the filling.
- Push the sides down to close the edges.
- Cut four slots on the top.
- Put aluminum foil over the whole pie and bake for 25 minutes.
- Pull the pie out and tear the foil into three 1.5 inch strips.
- Carefully crimp the foil along the crust edges so that it doesn't burn, but the pie center is exposed.
- Put it back in the oven for 10 to 15 more minutes.
- Let it cool for at least 10 minutes, slice and enjoy.