Healthy blueberry pie (V, GF)
For awhile, I just haven't had a chance to post anything--either on my writing or foodie sites. Which in a weird sort of way worked out, because I didn't have a website to post on, either. Due to a WordPress vulnerability, both my writing and food blog sites were essentially destroyed. It's all working out, though. This post is brought to this place thanks to the Blueberry Pie Elf, Squarespace, and my awesome husband, Dave. Thanks to the latter two, I now have one, streamlined site that combines both writing and cooking passions which I can finally maintain myself without hassling my dear husband--and this is it.
Have you read The Blueberry Pie Elf, by Jane Thayer? It's a children's book I held in my heart with particular fondness since first grade, and recently represented reassurance that there are indeed a few childhood favorites--outside of the classics--that I can actually still enjoy sharing and find appropriate. There's No Such Thing as a Dragon, by Jack Kent, is another. I mention this because coincidentally both reappeared recently, received with pleasure.
I wish I could say revisiting beloved old books as an adult being a pleasant experience is the norm, but for awhile there it seemed more like an exercise in creative paraphrasing and on-spot re-writing...something occasionally awkward now that we are investigating the word-forming power of letter sounds. One that stands out I won't name...because it is still loved regardless...but in it, a sweet little badger girl's struggle to fall asleep is resolved by the threat of a spanking (!) by the father, and the ensuing spank-like sound of a branch blown by the wind and tapping at the window (!!).
But I'm digressing waaay too much. If however, anyone would like to explore children's books with new perspectives, it is awfully entertaining, informative, and revealing. But back to the Blueberry Pie Elf. I distinctly remember feeling so safe and warm on the circle rug in 1st grade one day, when a sub was in, having brought The Blueberry Pie Elf with her. She was soft and grandmotherly, and she brought the story of a helpful, invisible house elf who just pines for a second helping of homemade blueberry pie to life. The book incorporates helpfulness as a way of getting attention, the magic of writing, and even good manners, finishing with a "thank you". The real reason it's worth rambling on this blog, though, is that of course you have got to have super powers to be able to read it and somehow come away not craving blueberry pie yourself.
Little F wanted blueberry pie. He really wanted blueberry pie. So we made plans to make some--a pie, I said, that in classic New England tradition (which we've ignored too long) we could even eat for breakfast. He was so excited! The plan posed a problem, though. Our dairy-free, low sugar style isn't especially conducive to pie crust. But Chef F and I muddled our way through a solution that I can seriously say is delightful.
Almond flour, ground oats/oat flour, aquafaba (my kitchen hero), and a little OJ make the crust mixture--a touch maple syrup optional. The mixture is divided, with 2/3 making a simple press-down crust that you can blind bake without even thinking about pie weights or a bag of beans. The remaining third is sprinkled over like a crumble topping.
As for the filling, it's just blueberries, literally 2 tablespoons fruit-only jam, any flavor, and tapioca flour, and it's completed in a saucepan. The baking part is practically a formality, just enough to brown the topping. And the taste is luscious, light and guiltless. Chef F and I loved making it together--very kid-friendly to make. Even more kid-friendly (as well as adult-friendly) to eat. Top with a dollop of ice cream or coconut cream for a more indulgent dessert. This is a keeper. Much like the moments that went into making it.
Healthy Bluberry Pie (vegan, gluten-free)
For the crust:
- 1 1/2 cups almond flour
- 1 1/2 cups ground oats
- 3 tablespoons orange juice
- 1-2 tablespoons pure maple syrup (optional)
- 4 1/2 tablespoons aquafaba (liquid from drained chickpeas)
- rice flour on hand if mixture is sticky
For the filling:
- 1 pound fresh or frozen blueberries
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tablespoons fruit only jam
- 1/3 cup tapioca flour (or 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup depending on desired consistency)
- 1. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Place all crust ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir to combine. Press approximately 2/3 of mixture into a prepared pie plate. If mixture feels too sticky, sprinkle with rice flour until easy to press without crumbling. Set aside remainder for later.
- 2. Bake pie crust for 12-15 minutes, until turning lightly golden brown. Remove from oven.
- 3. While crust bakes, prepare the filling: in a saucepan on medium high, combine all filling ingredients, stirring constantly. Cook until filling thickens. Set aside to let cool.
- 4. Pour filling into pie crust. Sprinkle with remaining crust mixture. Reduce oven temp to 350 F and bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until topping begins to brown.