I used to think that I was a cake person, but after this pie, I think I’ve been converted. Pie allows you to bring in so many different textures that I think that cake just doesn’t allow for (not saying that cake isn’t amazing, cuz TRUST ME, it soooooo is). BUT in one bite of pie, you get flaky, buttery crust, smooth creamy filling, and crunchy sweet topping – it really doesn’t get much better than that! I guess I should also preface by admitting that a huge part of why I didn’t used to like pie is because I’m lactose intolerant and pie just doesn’t taste as good without butter. I pretty much believed that butter-less pie was not worth eating until this past Thanksgiving rolled around. With my grandpa working on controlling his blood sugar level, and pretty much my whole family is lactose intolerant, dessert options had to be 1) low in sugar and 2) dairy-free. This pie delivers both. Not only are sweet potatoes naturally sweet, they are also perfect because the sugars in sweet potatoes digest slowly and won’t spike up your blood sugar.
Turns out, with the right substitutions, you can make just as delicious a pie crust and filling without dairy. For my pie crust, I use coconut oil, the filtered kind, so you can barely taste/can’t taste the coconut flavor at all. It’s honestly pretty amazing. Just make sure to pay extra attention when you’re buying you’re coconut oil to pick up the filtered kind, otherwise your crust will definitely taste of coconut (unless of course, you like coconut, then have at it). The key to making sure you get a flaky crust is to keep the coconut oil cold. Since it’s hard to scoop when its cold, I will usually pre-measure it out and then stick the amount into the fridge for maybe 10 minutes. You can assemble the rest of the ingredients while you wait. The same goes with the pie filling, I use coconut cream and it creates the most luscious and creamy filling – you won’t even remember that heavy cream wasn’t used. The real secret though? Straining your pie filling ensures that all the lumps are broken up and your custard will end up smoother than silk.
Now, I’m not a fan of walnuts, BUT, as it turns out, when they are candied, they become the perfect complement for a creamy filling. Of course, you can choose to leave the nuts out, but they just provide the perfect crunch, so I would recommend simply substituting for a nut that you do like. Seeds would probably work too! It’s just nice to have a trio of different textures 🙂
I’m getting hungry just thinking about this pie while I write! Might have to do some night time baking….
I’m currently on winter break still, and I’m blissfully savoring the days I have left. I’m still at work most days, but it’s just so nice to come home and not have a million pounds of homework to do. Instead, I get a chance to cook, watch some netflix and catch up on my blogging. The simple life pleasures are the best. So here we go, pie recipe coming at you!
DAIRY-FREE PURPLE SWEET POTATO PIE | Makes one 4.5in x13.5in pie
INGREDIENTSfor the crust
- 1/2 cup filtered coconut oil
- 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 whole wheat flour
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp ice cold water
for the filling
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1 cup coconut cream
- heaping 1/2 cup purple sweet potato mashed
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs
for the candied nut topping
- 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
- 1/3 cup walnut pieces
- Preheat oven to 425 (F)
- In a large mixing bowl, combine flours, baking powder and salt. Mix well.
- Add in coconut oil and use either a pastry cutter or a fork to break the oil into pea sized pieces. DO NOT use your hands, this will melt the coconut oil!
- Once the oil pieces are thoroughly mixed into the flour, add in ice cold water, 1 tbsp at a time until a dough ball forms. Try to add in as little water as possible, as adding too much water will encourage the formation of gluten which results in a tough pie crust.
- Form into a rectangle, wrap in saran wrap and chill in fridge for 30 minutes.
- While the crust is chilling, combine sweet potato, brown sugar, eggs, coconut cream, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice in a bowl and whisk until blended.
- Using a fine mesh sieve, strain the filling mixture into a clean bowl to ensure a smooth filling.
- Once dough has chilled, roll out to 1/4 inch in thickness and press into tart pan. Place parchment paper on top of pie crust and fill with baking beans (I just use rice).
- Blind bake the crust for 15 minutes at 425 (F).
- Take out crust, carefully remove baking beans and pour in filling (at this point, I usually place the pie pan on a baking sheet for easier maneuvering).
- Lower oven heat to 325 (F).
- Bake pie for 20-25 minutes until filling is just set. Let chill.
- While pie is chilling, melt 1/4 cup white sugar in a small sauce pan until it caramelizes (you are looking for a dark amber color). When it reaches this color, throw in walnut pieces and mix thoroughly. Pour out candied nuts onto waxed or parchment paper and let cool.
- When you are ready to serve the pie, break candied walnut pieces over pie.
- Pie keeps up to 3 days in the fridge (and tastes amazing straight from the fridge as well!). Be sure to store candied walnuts separately, as the moisture from the pie will liquify the sugar.