Though turkey may be the centerpiece on most of our tables, we cannot forget another crucial component of the Thanksgiving Day meal (and one of my personal favorites) —PIE. Reputed for putting its victims into a diabetic coma, the pies that grace our tables are quite different than those consumed by pilgrims many years ago. Rather pilgrims presented English-style meat pies to the colonies, using its flakey exterior as a means of preserving the contents inside. It wasn’t until the 1800s that pumpkin pie surfaced, and it was pies actually made with squash—GASP! As colonies spread, so did the popularity of sweet pies. And isn’t that a reason in itself to be thankful.
In an effort to help you keep off those holiday pounds, we’ve devised several health promoting ingredient substitutions for your Thanksgiving pies. On a most basic level, pies are composed of two parts: crust and filling. To “healthify” your crust, try using half whole wheat flour in place of refined white flour. This is a great way to bump up your whole grains and fiber, but maintain the same flakey texture.
As for the filling, replacing some of the refined sugars with natural sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, or agave nectar have less of an impact on blood sugar levels. In addition to subbing unwanted ingredients, you can also add healthy foods to boost your pie’s nutrient profile. Try this unique addition to your traditional pecan pie—oatmeal! More soluble fiber, 100% whole grain!
Recipe from Eating Well Magazine
- 1 1/4 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons room temperature butter
- 4 tablespoons ice water
- 6 cups thinly sliced apples
- 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
-1/3 cup honey
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Pinch of ground allspice
- Pinch of salt
- To prepare crust: Sift together dry ingredients. Using a pastry cutter, cut small pieces of butter into dry ingredient mixture. Sprinkle mixture with cold water and mix to form dough like consistency. Separate dough into two balls, wrap in plastic, and chill for one hour.
- To prepare filling: Combine sliced apples, brown sugar, honey, lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice and salt in a large bowl.
- To assemble: Using a rolling pin, roll each dough ball to fit 9 inch pie plate. Transfer one of the pie crusts to the pan and remove excess crust from edges. Pour filling into crust. Place remaining pie crust over filling, poking holes in crust with a fork to release steam. Bake at 425°F for 35 – 40 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.
Oatmeal Pecan Pie
- 3/4 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
- 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons room temperature butter
- 2 tablespoons ice water
- 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 2/3 cup regular oats
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- To prepare crust: Sift together dry ingredients. Using a pastry cutter, cut small pieces of butter into dry ingredient mixture. Sprinkle mixture with cold water and mix to form a dough like consistency. Wrap dough in plastic and chill for one hour.
- Roll dough into an 11-inch circle. Fit into a 9-inch pie plate, removing excess crust from edges with sharp knife.
- In a medium size bowl, combine all ingredients for the filling. Stir well with a whisk. Then, pour into prepared crust.
- Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until center is set. Cool completely on a wire rack.