Tuesday, February 23, 2010

0 Recipe #73: Almond Pie Crust -- Unique & Delicious!

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I came up with this recipe while baking a series of lowfat, sugar-free desserts, (so that I could try them out in my test kitchen for publication on this blog). At the time, I needed a pie shell, but didn't have one on hand. Also, the versions I'd seen online didn't fit the bill; they were all tremendously unhealthy on the whole.  So I created my own recipe.

I ended up filling my newly created pie shell with a homemade & healthy version of lemon custard, although you can use it for any type of filling.

Almond Pie Crust

3 Tbsp. unsalted butter (Or, for an even healthier version, you can substitute with 3 Tbsp. nonfat yoghurt)
1/3 c. honey
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/4 c. unbleached, all-purpose flour (or, for even more flavor, try using almond meal instead)
1/2 c. unblanched, slivered almonds, crushed into smaller pieces

Directions: In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter, honey, & vanilla. Next, whisk in all dry ingredients. Combine until doughy mixture forms & the almonds are crushed into small pieces. Gently form into dough ball (making sure not to overwork the dough) & roll out onto even surface. Lay dough layer over glass pie plate & press into shape.  Dough will most likely be a bit brittle, & may come apart, but that's OK. When you work the dough into the pie plate, make sure to spread it evenly with your hands so that there are no thin spots or whole. Bake for 10-15 minutes & let cool.  Add pie filling.

Chef's Notes: Use nonstick rolling pin when rolling out dough. However, if dough is too soft & pliable, it'll stick to any rolling pin.  The best way to work with this type of dough is to press the dough together while it's still in the bowl, making a rough ball shape, but not actually rolling the dough ball.  Pressing the dough together quickly into a rough ball shape will ensure that the dough binds but remains firm. When you roll out dough, roll from the center outwards, making sure to even out the dough to approximately the same thickness.  Do not worry if the dough is slightly misshapen or uneven in spots; you can easily fix this once you place the dough layer over the pie plate.

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