Oma’s Pie Crust + Paleo Pumpkin Pie
When I was growing up, I would spend every Friday afternoon at my grandparents. It was a tradition for my family to get together every Friday and share a meal, splendidly prepared by my grandmother and gather at the weeks end. It was a sort of homecoming every single week, I always knew I would be picked up by my Opa (grandfather) at 3pm from school with my brother, driven to Petaluma (Im a Sonoma County Native) and the evening would culminate in a 6pm dinner (never later) prepared by my Oma (grandmother) with my family gathered around the table with the 6 o’clock news blaring in the background.
Not only did my Oma make an entire meal for at least 10 people, but she also made pies for dessert by scratch. I, to this day, have never in my lifetime tasted pies like hers. Although they were made with all the usual additions and renditions of not-so-great for you ingredients, they were in every way, divine.
This November, my grandmother joined my grandfather on the other side. In the beginning of November, before her passing, I decided to take on the feat of making a healthier version of her pie crust. I am not sure if it was my way of grieving for her (as she is the one in the family that shared my passion for baking) or another way to honor her while she was still alive but I felt that I just needed to do it.
So I tried, a few times, and I failed a few times. The first couple times I made a crust for a friendsgiving that came out okay, but it really wasn’t up to par. Between the Friendsgiving and Thanksgiving, my grandmother passed. When I attempted to try the crust again the day before Thanksgiving, I felt her with me, guiding me along as I carefully put each ingredient together. Some may say it was my intuition, but something just seemed right about this version I was making, almost like it was being channeled through.
Either way, for my benefit (and yours) I finally mastered a healthier version of my beloved Oma’s pie crust. There are some tweaks I may make along the way (don’t worry, I will certainly updated the post if I do!) but for now, this version is pretty darn close.
Oma’s Pie Crust-Paleo Style:
2 Cups of Almond Flour
1 Cup of Tapioca Flour
1 Cup of Coconut Flour
2 Tsp of Cold Water
1 Cup of Sustainably Harvested Vegetable Shortening-Cold, keep more on hand if needed
1/2tsp of Salt
1-2 pinches of Monk Fruit Powder to taste
Kitchenaid Mixer with Dough attachment or a bowl, a pastry cutter or fork to blend.
Blend the flours together evenly in a mixing bowl along with the monk fruit powder and the salt.
Scoop the vegetable shortening out of the container, trying to get as large pieces as possible. If you can get a large piece, the easiest way is to grate it (yes with a cheese grater) to create little pearls of fat for the crust. This step is imperative for how the crust comes together so making sure you slowly add as small-as-possible pieces of the cold shortening is ideal. If you cannot scoop a large piece out, just shave the top of the shortening with a spoon. This is by far the most difficult part as the shortening is very hard from being cold, have patience, and take some breaks if your hands need a break. If you are using a Kitchenaid Stand Mixer, you can put the machine on a mid-speed to aid in blending. If you are making this by hand, begin to cut the dough with the pastry cutter or a fork in between adding the shortening.
About halfway in with the shortening, begin to add a little cold water. I would say perhaps a tsp at a time, but not too much, allow for the dough to mix together. Asses, use your intuition (yes for me, baking is very intuitive and Oma never used recipes) and gauge if you need more. Keep cold water on hand just in case.
Continue to add the rest of the fat (feel free to use more if needed but not too much) to get the dough to combine. Once the dough looks crumbly in form, add the eggs and mix.
The dough should begin to form in the stand mixer almost immediately, but if you need to use your hands please do so. Also if you need to add more cold water to get the dough to stick, do so 1/2tsp at a time.
The dough should be slightly yellow in color and malleable, not crumbling in your hands. If it is, add more fat or water to get it to stick. The key to pie crust is for the ingredients to be cold, so make sure everything still is and if not, refrigerate and come back.
Once the dough has formed, divide the dough into two even rounds, cover them in plastic wrap (or beeswax wrap if you have it) and refrigerate for at least 20 min.
This recipe will make two pie portions of crust, so you can make two open pies (such as pumpkin) or one full pie with a top and bottom crust.
Paleo Pumpkin Filling:
For Two Pies:
1 Can of Pumpkin or 2 Cups of Roasted Pumpkin Puree
1 Can of Full Fat Coconut Milk
1 Tbsp or more of Pumpkin Pie Seasoning
2 Tbs of Arrowroot Starch
2 Pinches of Monk Fruit Powder or more to taste-don’t go overboard, this stuff is extremely strong, you can also use the extract or stevia if thats what you have.
Optional: 2 tsp of Maple Syrup for Flavoring
Combine all ingredients into a blender to combine. Test the mix to see if its sweet enough for your taste, add more sweetener of choice if it’s not.
Paleo Pumpkin Pie:
Grease a 8 inch pie dish with Coconut Oil or other fat of choice
Roll out one of the rounds of dough between two sheets of parchment or wax paper. Put the pie dish upside down on the rolled out dough and flip the dough into the pie dish, or you can simply press the dough into the pie dish as well and skip the rolling.
Form the crust with your hands, either making a shape or a simple crust. With a fork poke holes in the bottom of the crust to release the air pockets. Any extra dough can be rolled out to create cut outs for decoration or simply toss or bake alongside the pie for a snack.
Bake the crust at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 5-10 minutes or until its just turns a light golden brown.
Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Combine 1 egg with 2 tsp of water for an egg wash (optional but turns the pie a golden brown) and wash the pre-baked pie crust and any unbaked cut outs (like the moons above) with it as well.
Pour the Pumpkin Puree from the blender into the pie dish with the pre-baked crust. If you have dough cut outs place them gently on top of the pie so as they do not sink in. With the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, bake the pie(s) for 45-50 minutes or until the pie does not jiggle or wiggle when moved. You can also stick a toothpick in the center, there will still be some pumpkin puree on the toothpick, but not that much when it is done.
Let cool completely before serving.
Whipping up some coco whipped cream would be absolutely splendid to enjoy with the pie as well.