So… you may recall that I promised my boyfriend that I would bake treats with reduced sugar or no refined sugar at all. It’s been weeks and everything was going just fine until he said, “I want a cookie”. After I asked (excitedly), “Do you really want a cookie?” and he said “no“… well, I have of course been obsessing over cookies with real sugar. Sweet, chewy, bendy cookies. It sucks.
To make matters worse, everywhere I looked people were blogging about their cookies. Like this one, or that one or this other one or yet another. I was also bumping into websites (even healthy recipe sites) with cookies, like this or this. Ugh.
Today, I set the DVR to record the Oscars so that I could go on an adventure. We drove up north to look for wild flowers. We didn’t find the big field of lupine and poppies I remembered so we stopped at a local lunch place where we ate monster sandwiches. On the way out, I noticed what looked like giant biscotti. These things were enormous!! We both were obsessing over them and we almost drove back to the restaurant to get one, but we stopped at a local winery where we drowned our craving in Pinot Noir instead.
On the way home, my boyfriend mentioned that he wanted to get a sugar free pie on the way home. We have a bakery that makes these amazing sugar free fruit pies with dates or apple juice as the only sweeteners. Great pies but I was feeling frugal after splurging on lunch and wine tasting. I wasn’t about to let him spend $15.99 on a pie, so I told him I would make him pie.
I envisioned a variation on the sweet lemon crust from last time. I would do an orange scented crust and then the filling would be loaded with orange flavor and blueberries and spices. I always have such delusions of grandeur…
The crust came together like a charm. Flecked with orange rind, it was beautiful in it’s raw state. I have developed a habit of rolling the pastry out much larger than my pie pan and then I pinch the edges together, roll them under until they form a thick crust and then pinch the crust all the way around to give it a slight fluted shape. When I used this method this time, I created a hilariously outsized crust.
The filling was lightly sweetened with honey, but I think I needed more cornstarch. Our first couple of slices saw a pure collapse of the filling which was too wet. A consequence of not enough thickening agent and frozen fruit and liquid sweetener. As a consequence it was difficult to photograph a pretty slice. I forgot to add cinnamon and vanilla which I thought would be great in the filling so I was worried that the pie would fail, especially when I saw how wet the filling was. However, the flavor was wonderful. The crust, due to the acid in the orange juice, was as light and flaky as a croissant. A beautiful and delicious pie. But… I may still want a cookie. Harumph!
Sunshine in a blueberry pie
3 cups unbleached white flour
1 tsp salt
1 cup cold, unsalted butter cut into chunks
1 tbsp honey
Zest from an orange
4 – 5 tbsp orange juice
4 – 5 tbsp cold water
26 oz frozen wild blueberries
Juice and zest from an orange
3 tbsp (or more) cornstarch
3 – 4 tbsp honey
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a 9″ pie pan.
Mix flour, salt and zest. Using a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse cornmeal. Add honey and orange juice to the flour mixture. Begin to mix in a tablespoon of ice water at a time, gently mixing the flour and liquid together, trying not to over-knead the pastry. Mix in just enough water to be able to form a ball of dough. Cut the dough ball in half and put half in the refrigerator. Roll out the first ball of dough until it is large enough to overhang the edges of your pie pan by at least an inch or two. Store the pastry in the fridge while you mix the filling.
In a large bowl, mix together, orange juice, zest, honey and cornstarch until well combined. Add frozen berries and stir until combined. Pour filling into pie shell, store in the refrigerator while you roll the top crust.
Roll out the top crust into a round that is one to two inches larger than the pie pan. Top the pie with the top crust. Pinch the overhanging lower and upper crusts together and then roll them under themselves to form a thick crust. With your thumb, make a fluted pattern by indenting the top of the crust edge. Cut steam holes into the center of the top crust. Bake the pie for 55 – 60 minutes until well browned. Check the pie at the half hour mark. If the edges are browning too quickly, use a pie shield or (if the crust is enormous like mine) crimp foil around the edges. Cool the pie completely before serving.