Friday, August 27, 2010

A Healthier Pie Crust

A Healthier Pie Crust

As some of you may know,  I've been going through my stacks of collected recipes.  Some of these recipes go back to the mid 1990's.

My hubby "suggested" that I toss the beloved stack.  However, I told him that I've give myself a year to try as many as possible before tossing the rest.  We have been trying the recipes, a few a week.  Actually, what's happened is that we have found many new favorites!  We both decided to remove the deadline, as long as we tried some new recipes each week.

This pie crust recipe comes from a 1996 Vegetarian Times issue, where the author remakes lemon meringue pie.  The filling is a mixture of lemonade and kudzu to thicken it, which didn't interest me.  

I am guessing the article was saved for the pie crust recipe. And I am glad I saved it!  It is a good tasting "from scratch" recipe,  and not one that uses a lot of butter, margarine, shortening, or sugar.  It's not as flaky as a crust with shortening, but it's a great tradeoff.  My husband gave it a "10", that being the highest score.  However, we don't eat a lot of pies for him to compare.  Still, we both felt it was really good, and light tasting.  Small tradeoffs can add up toward better health and weight management.

If you want to avoid a lot of saturated fats, this is a great recipe.  We hope you enjoy it also:

A Healthier Pie Crust
Adapted from Feb. 1996, issue, Vegetarian Times
Makes one crust

1 Cup             unbleached white flour
1/2 Cup          whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 tsp            salt
1 to 1 1/2 tsp  baking powder (I used a rounded tsp)
4 TBSP          canola oil  (chilled, preferably)
5 TBSP          apple juice, chilled (use 6 TBSP, if needed)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  

     ***Sift flours, salt and baking powder.  Add oil, mix lightly with a spatula until oil is absorbed.  Add 5 TBSP apple juice; mix again to form a ball.  Add additional apple juice if necessary.  Knead gently 1 minute, or until smooth.  Flatten dough into a disk shape, cover with plastic wrap and chill 30 minutes in the coldest part of the refrigerator.
     Roll out dough on floured surface, 1 -2 inches larger than a 9" pie pan.  Fit dough into lightly oiled pan, easing dough along sides.  Trim excess to edge of pan, crimp with fork.  Chill 20 minutes or more.  Tightly line bottom of crust with aluminum foil, weight with rice, dried beans or pie weights.  Bake until light brown and crisp, 20 to 30 minutes.  If you want, remove the weights after 15 minutes and bake the crust a bit longer to bake the bottom.  It seemed to make a sturdier crust.
     Cool pie crust on a rack.  Fill as usual.

Note:  ***I made this crust quickly in the food processor.  The dry ingredients were mixed and then the oil.  Finally,  5 TBSP chilled apple juice was added.  A few bursts of the food processor kneaded the dough.  After removing the craggy mixture from the food processor, I formed the dough into a ball.  It didn't seem to need more apple juice, because it held together quite well.  Finally, the dough was flattened into a disk and wrapped in plastic wrap for chilling in the fridge.

  The crust, ready for filling!

My yummy (and first ever) lemon meringue pie!!!  We really enjoyed this pie, and the crust was just right for the light taste.

Thanks for coming by.  Happy Baking!  I would love to hear your comments, so please leave one below.  And don't forget to return soon, for my next post.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Rosemary Flax Baguette

Rosemary Flax Baguette

The whole wheat dough for these baguettes was really easy to use.  It was much stiffer than the dough using all purpose flour, making the shaping much easier.  I baked these baguettes twice, using  stored dough.  

The first time, they were baked on my baguette pan.  Parchment paper was used so the dough wouldn't seep through or stick:

Halfway through baking time, I took the baguettes off the baking pan and put them directly onto the stone that was in the oven.  This gave the bottom of the baguettes a nice crust:

Energy saving tip:  Instead of heating up the oven twice for baking, I baked my blueberry pie first.  Then I heated up the oven higher for the baguettes.  It takes a half hour to heat up the oven, but it the oven was pretty hot by the time I baked the baguettes:

Nice crumb, crust on the baguettes.  Great whole wheat and rosemary flavor!

There was just enough dough for a second baguette, later in the week.  It's great to have stored dough in the fridge--no need to mix up another batch of dough.  This time, I did a "freehand" shape:

It looks like the baguette pan makes smaller loaves.  The loaf on the left is the freehand loaf.  The one on the right was baked in the baguette pan.

The baguettes were especially enjoyable when we dipped them into olive oil!

This bread is one of the breads from the "Healthy Breads in 5 Minutes a Day" book.
The HBinFive Baking Group, started by Michelle of Big Black Dogs, is baking through all of the breads in this book.  To see what my HB5 baking buddies have made recently, check out The 17th HBin5 Bread Braid

Thanks for stopping by to visit!  Come back soon, I'll be baking again often.  I hope you will leave a comment below.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Vollkornbrot: 100% Whole Grain Bread, and My Favorite Gazpacho

Vollkornbrot: 100% Whole Grain Bread, and My Favorite Gazpacho

Hearty bread lovers, this is one for us!!!

Honestly, I wasn't sure I would like this bread.  It sounded too dense--rye flakes, whole wheat flour, wheat berries.  All purpose flour wasn't used, and the dough wasn't enriched with eggs or milk.

Wow, this bread is wonderful!  As soon as I bit into my first bite, I said "where is the deli mustard!?"  This bread can really stand up to hearty sandwiches. 

The wheat berries and rye flakes came from my local health food store.  The dough seemed wetter than usual.  However, the recipe didn't say to presoak the wheat berries.  After 24 hours, the wheat berries had soaked up much of the excess moisture.  

I rolled out the dough into a rectangle.  My favorite 4 sided folding method gives the breads a nice rectangle shape.  For more information, check out my prior post: Folding technique for a rectangular loaf
The instructions are in the middle of the page.

After placing the dough in the loaf pan, I covered it with a shower cap to rise.  Shower caps work wonderfully.  It's fun to repurpose household items; it saves me from using plastic wrap.  

We really enjoyed the finished bread with a chicken cacciatore dinner.

The leftover bread made wonderfully hearty croutons when mixed with olive oil, garlic powder, onion powder and Italian seasoning.   They were baked in a 450 degree oven, just after I took something else out of the oven--energy saving!

The croutons seemed just perfect for a cold summer soup.  To me, nothing screams "summer" to me like gazpacho or ratatouille. So, this month, I decided to make my favorite gazpacho recipe.  Here's my favorite low calorie recipe, which is delicious!.

Gazpacho (Chilled Salad Soup)
Adapted from Weight Watchers
(Makes 4 servings)

1 cup tomato juice**** (see substitutions below)
1 packet or tsp instant beef broth and seasoning mix
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 medium cucumber, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
1/4  cup diced onion
1 TBSP olive oil
2 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp lemon juice 

3-4 garlic cloves (less, if you don't like garlic)
1/4 tsp salt
dash pepper
2 drops hot sauce (I use 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper)

Combine tomato juice and broth mix in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and let cool.  Combine remaining ingredients in work bowl of a food processor.  Process until
vegetables are finely chopped.  Add cooled tomato mixture;
process just until combined.  Refrigerate at least 2 hours, preferably
overnight, before serving.

*** can substitute 1/2cup tomato sauce & 1/2cup water or 1 cup water, several TBSP tomato paste, salt and pepper. Whatever you have on hand.

About the HBinFive Baking Group
The HBinFive Baking Group, started by Michelle of Big Black Dogs, is baking through all of the breads in the Healthy Bread in Five Minutes book. To see what my HB5 baking buddies have made recently, check out The 17th HBin5 Bread Braid

Thanks for stopping by to visit!  Come back soon, I'll be baking again often.  I hope you will leave a comment below.