Well, if you’ve read my bio and my last post about New Challenges and Life Changing Decisions, you know I am now starting make healthier stuff for my hubby and I. So I had this great idea, or at least I thought it was, to see if I could make a homemade pie crust healthier. That way, my dessert loving hubby wouldn’t feel deprived while on this “diet”. I started to Google if it was possible to substitute butter for coconut oil in pie crusts and I found a few posts that sounded like they had success.
So, I went into the kitchen with an old recipe I had for pie crust. It sounded simple enough and I was gonna make it in my handy food processor so it would be even easier. (The easier the better in my opinion) Everything seemed to go together well, I even refrigerated the coconut oil so it would be solid when I used it. Everything worked great in the food processor, I pulled out the dough ball it had made, divided in half, put them in a zip-lock bags and into the freezer they went. (Just to assure the dough would be nice and chilled and hopefully work like a butter made pie crust.) I even left them in there a few days.
Fast-forward a day or two and I was now ready to use this dough. I had an interesting pie recipe I had pinned on Pinterest and I was ready to try it. (Cornmeal Pie…never heard of it before but it sounded intriguing.) I pulled one dough ball out of the freezer, let it thaw a bit and started rolling. It seemed to roll out fine. Lined my pie pan with it, and started on the second crust. (I need more practice with pie crust, I haven’t mastered that perfect art of crimping the edges and making it pretty. I think including the 2 pies this recipe was gonna make, I have only made 4 pies in my entire life and I’m sure 1 of them was made with the pre-made kind of crust.) After the second crust was ready I noticed that the dough seemed a little soft and slightly oilier than normal. But I figured it would still be fine, I finished the filling, popped them in the oven and waited.
Here is where I began to notice a big difference. Just peeking in the window on my oven I noticed there seemed to be a lot of bubbling oil in the bottom of both pie pans. (they were glass pans so I could see through them) But, I figured this would all somehow evaporate and this could still work. After the timer went off, I opened the oven to take a look…the crust hadn’t browned much and the filling still seemed too watery to be done. So I let it cook a little longer, again noticing this now puddle of oil in the bottom under my crust. More time cooking past and still, needed more time. Finally, the filling of the pie started to resemble a custard, which is what the recipe had compared the filling to. So I pulled these pies out of the oven to cool. Once they cooled, I decided I should taste test one of these pies to make sure everything had worked correctly.
The filling was perfect, the crust was a bit tough to fork cut. But my biggest dislike was the crust seemed extremely oily. The pies were edible, thank goodness, but I did not find the crust impressive to say the least. Too oily, not flakey, and tough. I am NOT above saying it was an error on my part somehow, but what?
My conclusion is, more experimentation is needed to perfect this idea of making a healthier pie crust. A friend has kindly given me her mother’s recipe for the perfect pie crust and she says it never fails, so I may try that and only substitute half of the shortening or butter with coconut oil. Or maybe I need to measure the coconut oil as a liquid instead of a solid?
When I feel brave enough I will try this again, buy since this experiment my husband and I have cut out processed flour and sugar….so pie crust could become even MORE of a challenge. I WILL accept this challenge…some day.
If any of you have tried or made a successful “healthier” pie crust please let me know. I would LOVE to learn what and where I went wrong.