Sugar Free Thanksgiving

So this is my first Thanksgiving without processed sugar!  Last year I enjoyed my mother’s pie without guilt after being off sugar for around 6 months. Then something unexpected happened, I crashed back into depression for two weeks. After experimenting a little I discovered that for me sugar is a major contributing factor to depression. Thus no more sugar for me.  Which has led me to my present pie making adventure.

My mom makes amazing pies so I have never had the need to master the art of pie baking until now.   To add to the adventure I wanted to bake with sprouted spelt flour, gelatin, and butter. Thus finding recipes has been a fun bit of research. 

My first pie

I started by tackling lemon meringue pie, sadly I didn’t realize until I was about to put the pie into the oven to brown the meringue, that I was supposed to have put everything into a cooked pie crust…    After having a minor breakdown, I followed by calm husbands advice to just scrape it out, cook the crust and put everything back in the cooked pie crust. Unfortunately I then got to learn why it is important to put weights in a pie crust when you pre bake it as I ended up with a crust that has slid down on itself. Thankfully my second attempt was better and the lemon meringue was a total hit with my family.

Notes for next time: I think I would reduce the lemon zest to 1tsp and reduce the lemon juice by ¼ of a cup and do extra water instead.  It is funny how what you grew up with is your standard so I’m trying to get as close to my mom’s pie with my new ingredients.

I have also read that I can use another pie pan as the weight for pre-baking the crust upside down and totally want to try that next time.  

2nd and 3rd Pie

Next I tackled apple pie as that is a favorite of my hubby. I used this pie crust recipe, except that I omitted the sweetener as my mom never made sweet pie crusts and I used sprouted whole grain spelt flour instead of all purpose flour. 

For the apple pie filling I did

  • 8-12 cups of cored and chopped apples (I like a mixture of sweet and sour)
  • a sprinkle of SweetLeaf shaker
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon (as it is great for your blood sugar)
  • 1 tsp to 1 tbsp of lemon or lime juice (depending on the sweetness of your apples)
  • (Optional) 1 tbsp collagen (as the protein is good for balancing the blood sugar)
  • 1 tsp gelatin (as a thickener and a bit of protein)
  • 2 tbsp butter

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 450F. Core and slice apples (I don’t peel my apples as the added fiber is so good for you and I do not notice them in the pie at all but to each their own). Toss the rest of the ingredients besides the butter with the apples. Brush the pie crust with egg whites to keep it from absorbing as much of the apple juice which means it stays flakier. Pile apples into the bottom crust, making the pile a little higher in the center. Dot with butter. Brush the rim of the bottom crust with egg whites or water to make it easier to attach to the top crust. Cover with top crust, roll and crimp edges. Brush top with egg white or milk or not. 

Cut two or three 2in slits on top to vent the excess steam. Bake for 10min, reduce heat to 300-350F and bake for 40-50min or until golden brown.

Refrigerate: can be stored in the refrigerator for up to four days.

Freeze: freezes quite well. Just place the pie uncovered in the freezer until it is frozen solid, then wrap in plastic wrap or foil and place back in the freezer for up to four months. Thaw at room temperature for one hour and then reheat.

Reheat: at 350F for 20mim OR 300F for 30min.

In my research I read that it is important to not under bake apple pie so the first one I cooked for the 10min at 450F and then 50 min at 350F without checking it.  It got a little over browned so we warmed it up for breakfast just to make sure it wasn’t horrible. It was really yummy despite being so brown. But, the next time I cooked it for less time and checked it more frequently.  It was a delicious addition to Thanksgiving dinner with a bit of stevia sweetened whip cream.

Notes for next time: My only complaint was the the apples had cooked down a bit leaving an empty space so next time I am going to use more apples and cook them in a covered pot over medium-low heat, gently stirring occasionally, until the apples are soft, but do not lose their shape, about 15 minutes. Then I will put them in the crust.  

The things I’ve learned thus far are:

  • You need to cook the pie crust before you fill it with lemon meringue filling.  But scrapping it out, cooking the crust and putting it back in ended up being pretty yummy.
  • You need to put some sort of weight into a pie crust when you are pre baking it or it collapses in on itself, but the crust was still pretty yummy.
  • You don’t want to roll and crimp the bottom crust when you are going to put a top crust on or you end up with a very thick edge, chunks of which then fall off in the oven.  But they are still yummy.
  • You want to avoid underbaking apple pie but over baking it is also not the goal. But it is still yummy.
  • Precooking the apple pie filling will mean less empty space in the pie.  But it was still delicious even with the space.

Therefore my experiments up to this point haven’t always gone quite as planned but they all ended up being yummy.

Stay tuned I am planning on tackling Pumpkin Chiffon Pie this Halloween.

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