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Sunday, February 12, 2017

Healthier ♥ Heart Oil Pie Crust


Healthier Heart Oil Pie Crust is a tender, crisp crust for your favourite pies.  Made with oil, it is much kinder to your heart than the traditional butter/shortening crust.  February is Heart Month, not just because Valentine's Day is on the horizon but it is the month where emphasis on a healthy heart is stressed by the Heart and Stroke Foundation Give your heart a Valentine this year by trying this healthier pie crust recipe. 

Pie is one of my favourite desserts but I always have a twinge of guilt over the huge amounts of butter and/or shortening needed to make a decent pie crust.  Yes, there's no doubt that a good, flaky pie crust must contain unhealthy amounts of saturated fat (butter) or even worse, trans fat laden shortening.  

Fortunately, there is a healthier alternative.  I didn't say fat-free or low calorie.  I said healthier.  Now, I know there are all kinds of "healthy" pie crust recipes floating around the cyber world and in numerous cookbook.  I have several of those recipes, myself, tucked away where no one can find them.  Most of them are quite chew-worthy and a pick ax might come in useful when trying to cut a piece of pie.  

The secret to a healthier pie crust is the use of oil instead of solid fats.  You still have to use a fair amount of oil to achieve a good texture but you can eat it without the aid of the jaws-of-life.  

Speaking of texture, the pie crust itself will be a little different than a butter/shortening crust.  It is, in my opinion, more crispy than flaky but still tender and palatable to the taste.  It can also be more difficult to place in the pie pan if rolled as the dough is not pliable like a traditional crust.  That problem is easily remedied by pressing the dough into the pan instead of rolling it, which I think makes it a wonderfully easy crust to make.  

The sugar and milk aid in the browning of the crust when baking. If you wish, the sugar can be omitted and the milk can be replaced with water or a plant based milk such as soy or almond milk which, as a bonus, would give you a nice vegan pie crust.  Use your favourite cooking oil but I'd avoid oils that have a strong flavour or a low smoke point.  



Healthier Heart Oil Pie Crust
1¼ cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar (omit for savoury pie)
⅓ cup oil
3 tablespoons skim milk or water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix dry ingredients together with a fork in a medium size bowl. Make a well in the middle of the flour. Mix the oil and milk together and add to the flour.  Mix with a fork until it forms a ball. You may have to use your hands as well.  Transfer mixture to a 9-inch pie plate.  Flatten and press into the pan using your fingers. Flute or press the edge with a fork.  

You may fill the unbaked crust with pie filling and bake according to recipe directions or bake the crust to use with lemon, coconut cream or banana cream pie fillings, etc. or other favourite fillings. 

Bake 12-15 minutes in a 400 degree oven or until golden in colour. 

Makes 1 9-inch pie crust.  




Mix the flour, sugar and salt together.  Make a well in the flour and pour in the oil and milk mixture. Stir to form a dough ball.  Place the dough in a pie plate and start pressing.  


Use your finger tips to push the dough up the side of the pie plate. 
Patch any holes that may be showing.


Once you have the dough pressed into place, crimp the edges or press with a fork.  This gives the crust a nice, finished appearance. You are now ready to use this crust to bake pies like pumpkin pie or other baked custard pies requiring only a bottom crust.


If you would like to bake the crust for a lemon, banana cream or coconut cream pie, etc., prick the crust all over using a tines of a fork.  This will prevent the crust from bubbling while baking.  You may also blind bake the crust.


 Bake the crust for 12-15 minutes in a preheated 400 degree oven or until golden in colour.


 That looks so good!

Tender, crisp healthier pie crust.

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