Recipes: Apple and Sweet Potato pies

I may be flagged by the NSA for the following statement, but I feel that it's important to be honest with my readers: I don't like pie. Perhaps one of the most un-American statements ever written, I apologize if it offends pie-lovers out there. With the mother of all pie days arriving soon (Thanksgiving), such an assertion may be borderline blashemous and unpatriotic. When talking about pie recently (you know, because that's what normal people discuss), my brother said, "We aren't really a pie family." (Because it's also normal to have a family-wide opinion on a food category.)

So, why this post then? Coupled with a number of gatherings over the next month and ample supplies of storage crops, I decided to confront the pie. And, I'm happy to share two recipes: Apple and Sweet Potato. I may not be my dessert of choice, but I'm happy to bake, share and actually enjoy these two.

Apple Pie with Coconut Oil Pie Crust

 Crust (adapted from "The Best of Bloodroot: Volume Two") - makes two 9" pie crusts

 Behold, the apple pie. (November 2013, A. Gross) 

Behold, the apple pie. (November 2013, A. Gross) 

Ingredients: 

  • 2 cup whole spelt flour
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 4 Tbl maple syrup
  • 2/3 cup coconut oil (heated to liquid state) 
  • 4 Tbl water

  1. In a small bowl, combine flour and salt. Add cardamom. Whisk together.
  2. In another bowl, combine water, coconut oil and maple syrup, and whisk together. Dump liquids into flour mixture and stir with a fork. It will become a sticky ball of dough. (You can also do this in a food processor: Place the dry ingredients in the bowl and stream in the wet ingredients. Pulse until it becomes a ball.)
  3. Split the dough into two equally sized balls. Place one dough ball in plastic wrap and refrigerate. Place the second between two sheets of parchment paper. Roll out a shape as close as possible to a circle. When it is thin enough, remove one sheet of parchment and invert a 9" pie plate over the pastry, and carefully turn it all right side up. Once in the pan, work the crust into the pan. Prick the crust with a fork.  
  4. Once complete, refrigerate until cold, 5-10 minutes, or until ready to add the cooked filling. Once filling is added, roll out the second dough ball between the two pies of parchment and carefully transfer on top of the pie. Crimp the edges and cut several vents in the top.

Apple filling  (adapted from "The Fannie Farmer Cookbook")

Ingredients: 

  • 3/4 cup sugar (unrefined cane or maple syrup)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp mixture of your favorite warming/pumpkin pie spices: cinnamon, ginger, cloves, cardamom and/or nutmeg
  • 1.5 tsp arrowroot powder (all-purpose, white spelt or cornstarch also work here) 
  • 6-8 large, firm apples (variety of your choice)
  1. Preheat oven to 425 F. Your first pie crust should already be lining your pie pan. Here, you can roll out the second crust and set aside on the parchment. 
  2. Peel, core and slice the apples and toss them in the sugar, salt, spices and arrowroot. Pile the filing into the crust-lined pie pan, and place the second crust carefully atop the filling. Crimp the edges and cut several vents in the top.
  3. Bake for 10 minutes, and then lower the oven temperature to 350F, and continue baking for 30-40 minutes until the crust is browned. 

Sweet Potato Pie with Pecan-Oat Crust  (adapted from "Moosewood Restaurant: Cooking for Health")

Crust 

Ingredients: 

  • 2/3 cup pecans, walnuts or almonds
  • 2/3 cup rolled oats
  • 2 Tbl maple syrup
  • 2 Tbl coconut oil
  • pinch of salt

Filling 

Ingredients: 

  • 1.5 c mashed sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2/3 cup plain yogurt (I used Greek) or buttermilk
  • 2 Tbl arrowroot powder (all-purpose, white spelt or cornstarch also work) 
  • 2 large eggs
  1. To make the crust: In a food processor, whirl all of the crust ingredients until the mixture is finely ground. Scrape into a 9" pie plate and use your fingers to press into an even thickness across the bottom and up the sides of the plate. Set aside.
  2. To make the filling: Place the mashed sweet potatoes in a food processor with the nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, maple syrup, yogurt and arrowroot. Separate the eggs, adding the yolks to the food processor and placing the whites in a separate bowl. Puree the sweet potato mixture until smooth and place in a mixing bowl. 
  3. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. With a spatula, gently fold the whites into the sweet potato filling. Pour the filling into the pie crust and bake in a preheated 350F oven until the filling is set and the center feels firm, about 45-50 minutes. Allow the pie to cool to room temperature before serving.  
 Sweet potato pie - nutritious and delicious. (November 2013, A.Gross)

Sweet potato pie - nutritious and delicious. (November 2013, A.Gross)