I received an email from a reader a few days ago, asking me to post diabetic-friendly holiday-appropriate pie recipes. She asked specifically for pumpkin and pecan - which I'll get to in a few days - but first, I have this one.
This pie is about as healthy as a pie can be. It is sweetened solely with palm sugar, and uses nothing but whole wheat flour. There is a minimum amount of butter, as well as a little olive oil.
It is a snap to put together, helped out by the fact that it uses a no-roll crust. Nothing to be afraid of here!
Although the filling is almost entirely cranberries, it is not overly tart. The combination of palm sugar, vanilla extract, water and fresh ginger forms a delightful sweet, slightly spicy thin jelly-type layer below the cranberries which was a delightful surprise when taking my first bite. If you want to, other fruits can certainly be combined with the cranberries to sweeten it even more.
I was so impressed with the texture of this crust. It certainly isn't the same as a traditional crust that is laden with butter, but it has a charm all its own. It is so quick and easy to make, it cuts perfectly into beautiful clean slices, and is lovely and tender. It has a definite wheat flavor, and if that doesn't appeal to you, you could certainly do a combination of whole wheat and white. I really liked the earthiness of the wheat, and thought it paired nicely with the cranberries and ginger.
I hope this works for you, Eileen, more pies to come!
Cranberry-Ginger Streusel Pie
Before beginning, preheat oven to 350 and butter a 9" pie plate.
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
2 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
1/4 cup palm sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Combine flour, palm sugar and salt in small bowl. Add butter and toss with fingers until all flour is moistened and crumbs have formed. Refrigerate until the rest of the pie is assembled.
No-Roll Whole Wheat Crust
adapted from Joy the Baker
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup butter, frozen
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons cold milk
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, salt and baking powder. Using a box grater, grate the frozen butter into the dry ingredients. Add the cream cheese, and using your fingers, rub the butter and cream cheese into the flour mixture until they are well-incorporated, and there are butter bits of various sizes. Whisk milk and olive oil together in a small bowl and pour over flour/butter mixture. Toss together with a fork until all of the flour is moistened - it need not form a ball. Dump into a prepared pie plate and using your fingers, evenly press dough into the plate. Place in freezer while you make the filling.
4 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (If using frozen, work quickly so they don't defrost)
1/2 cup palm sugar
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons water
Combine all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl, and toss with fingers.
Finishing the pie:
Remove crust from freezer. Pour cranberry filling into crust. Scatter streusel topping evenly, ensuring that there are crumbs of various sizes throughout.
Bake pie for about an hour, or until the cranberry juices are released and they have thickened. The top layer of cranberries will keep their shape, but should give way when pressed. If topping looks like it is browning too quickly, place a foil tent over the pie. Let pie cool for at least an hour before cutting.