Vegan apple pear and fig pie with a spelt crust
If ever there’s a pie worthy of breakfast, this is it. Or, one of them. Considering that over the years at least four posts on this blog have referenced pie for breakfast, it’s clear I’m fairly lax with my criteria. Pie is after all a pastry, and it goes really well with coffee. Unlike some of it’s flaky counterparts however, whether sweet or savory it can be healthy and delicious with very little tweaking. Classic less is more.
You can’t really go wrong with apples and pears. Adding in figs is fun and feels somewhat sophisticated given the general rustic appeal of pie; and, spice is always nice. But getting crust right can take a trial or three. This one was so well worth the time to experiment though, and as usual, simplicity wins.
I have something of a fascination for spelt. For one thing, it’s 9000 years old. How can you help but feel a little reverence? Not gluten-free but gluten-low, many people with wheat sensitivities can tolerate spelt. Further, it’s a whole food. Unlike wheat, the essential nutrients are found in the inner kernel of the grain, as opposed to being removed during milling. Spelt is rich in protein containing all 9 essential amino acids, and is reputed to be more readily digestible due to its high water solubility.
I’ve been baking with Organic Sprouted Spelt Flour from One Degree Organics, whose products are not only veganic and Non-GMO Project verified, they feature the family farmers behind them on their modest packaging. Given the nutrient density of this ancient grain, you’d think that spelt would be heavy to work with, but in fact it’s really light. Spelt flour is reputed to have a slight sweetness to it. This pie crust can cheerfully confirm, having so few ingredients but no sugar. It’s not what you’d call a buttery, flaky crust, but that’s only fair given the absence of butter. What it is instead is wholesomely delicious. What’s more, the dough is easy to work with and so versatile. You can let the food processor do the bulk of the work just fine, and there’s no chilling required. Rolling is easy, patching barely necessary. It is equally comfortable and delectable wrapped around savory vegetables as it is sweet fruits. Most importantly, pie crust and pie are toddler-approved, and I have no qualms about either for him, or countless variations to come. Perhaps even for breakfast.
Vegan apple, pear and fig pie with spelt crust
Prep time: 40 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
Yield: 1 pie (8 servings)
For the crust:
- 2 cups whole spelt flour (I used sprouted whole spelt flour from One Degree Organics)
- ⅛ tsp salt
- 1 tablespoon flax meal
- 2/3 cup coconut oil
- 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup cold orange juice
- ice cold water
For the filling:
- 1 cup dried figs, stemmed and quartered
- 2/3 cup water
- ¼ cup honey
- 4 baking apples (such as golden delicious), peeled, cored and sliced
- 3 firm pears, peeled, cored and sliced
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ cup raw or brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons almond or other milk
- Combine figs, water, and honey in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Cook until figs are soft and liquid is thickening into a syrup about 20-25 minutes. Cover and let stand until later use.
- Prepare the crust: Place spelt flour, salt, and coconut oil in food processor and pulse mixture until you have a crumbly, coarse meal. Add vinegar and orange juice. Pulse until the mixture begins to turn to dough. Transfer to a bowl. Add cold water 1 Tbsp at a time. Divide into 2 equal-sized balls and set aside (do not chill).
- Place apple and pear slices in a large bowl. Stir in spices, sugar and lemon juice to coat. Add reserved figs in syrup and stir to combine.
- Put rack in bottom third of oven; preheat oven to 400°F.
- Flatten one of the reserved dough balls into a disc and roll out to fit 9-inch pie pan, approximately ⅛-inch thick. Place into pan, patching any holes and trimming any excess dough overhanging.
- Spoon fruit mixture into bottom crust. Roll out second ball of dough. Place over fruit mixture and fit over bottom crust, pressing edges to seal. Brush top lightly with almond milk. Pierce crust with a fork in several places to vent. Bake for 55 minutes to 1 hour.