Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Easy as Pie: A Step Toward Healthier Desserts

Here at Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard, we not only provide food assistance to members of the Bloomington community. We actively try to build community with food. By providing whole foods, we offer the idea that people don’t have to settle for processed meals as learning how to make your own meals and maintain your own garden can be free and easy. Simply learning the basics can provide a versatile skill set that can be used in countless ways. This even applies to dessert. Yep, you read that correctly. Every type of meal can be made into a healthy treat simply by paying attention. When you build community with food, you don’t leave dessert out.

Last week, our resident kitchen guru, Kayte, walked us through how to make a perfectly healthy dessert pastry with the accompanying perfect pastry/pie crust. I know what you may be thinking, “A healthy dessert? Perfect pie crust? Get outta town!” Well, ladies and gentleman, before I close up shop and leave Bloomington forever, let me explain. Making your own desserts from scratch can (and will) give you more control over what goes into them. Don’t like your desserts to be overly sweet? Add less sugar. Is it impossible to find the kind of fruit pies you like in the dessert section of Kroger? Obtain your favorite fruit and make it happen; show Kroger that its your pie and you’ll put peaches and rhubarb together if you so please.
The point I’m trying to make here is that having more autonomy over your own meals, even desserts, can be extremely beneficial to one’s diet. It can also help to build confidence in one’s self-sufficiency. The task may seem daunting at first, but once you start making your way through you’ll see how easy it can be.

Is that it?" You ask. I say "Trust Me"
Less ingredients than you have fingers. Surprised?
    So, on this day Kayte walked us through a very low maintenance type of pie called a galette which is French for  a rustic free form pie. We used a blueberry filling as it is the easiest to work with but any fruit can be used. In addition to the above ingredients you’ll need a cookie sheet, any size will do really. After reading you will be the proud owner of a tasty treat that should look a little like this:
I can attest that it is as delicious as it looks
Of course it would be great if I was able to accurately transcribe Kayte’s instructions for all you wonderful people but, alas, I am not able to write/type as fast as natural speech progresses (shout-out to all the court reporters in the audience). All is not lost though; I have pictures of every step. The following directions come from another pie post here on our blog, they are very thorough and virtually identical to Kayte’s method.

·      Combine the flour, salt, and sugar in the container of a food processor; pulse once or twice. Add the butter and turn on the machine; process until the butter and flour are blended and the mixture looks like cornmeal, with a few pea-sized chunks (about 10 seconds).

·      Dump the mixture in a bowl and sprinkle 2 tablespoons of water over it. Use a wooden spoon or a rubber spatula to toss and combine, then sprinkle 1more tablespoon of water, and toss to combine. Gradually gather the mixture into a ball; if the mixture seems dry, add another ½ tablespoon ice water. When you can make the mixture into a ball with your hands, do so. Wrap in plastic wrap, flatten into a small disk, and freeze the dough for 10 minutes (or refrigerate for 30 minutes); this will ease rolling.

·      Sprinkle a countertop or large board with flour. Unwrap the dough disk and place it on the work surface; sprinkle its top with flour. If the dough is hard, let it rest for a few minutes; it should give a little when you press your fingers into it.

·      Roll with light pressure, from the center out. (If the dough seems very sticky at first, add flour liberally; but if it becomes sticky only after you roll it for a few minutes, return it to the refrigerator for 10 minutes before proceeding.) Continue to roll, adding small amounts of flour as necessary, rotating the dough occasionally, and turning it over once or twice during the process

·      Finally, move the dough onto whatever medium you’ll be placing in the oven (pie pan for standard pies, wax/parchment paper for galettes, tart pan for (you guessed it) tarts).

Ms. Lindey got creative w/peaches
Standard sugar and berries
Now that your dough is all rolled and placed, you’ll need to stop staring at your magic hands (because yes, they did make the perfect dough) so we can move on to the next step: the filling. This step is incredibly easy, mix together your blueberries and sugar gently in a mixing bowl and *boom* done. Now you may be wondering how long you’ve possessed super speed comparable to “The Flash” and my answer to you is “always.”

So close to being done
 At this point you’ll want to pour your filling onto the rolled out dough and start pulling the edges over the filling, making sure to leave an opening on the very top; this will ensure even baking. After that, brush the top of your dough with butter or cream (to help with browning), sprinkle with sugar and its ready to bake.

Intern Thomas assisting Kam
     Kayte suggested baking on high heat (450 degrees) for about 10 mins and then turn that oven down to about 350 degrees for another 15-20mins. Be sure to keep an eye on it throughout this time, though. No need want to burn the artwork.

Now, theres only a couple things left to say. When you take your pie out of the oven, you may notice a nice amount of blueberry juice that has spilled out. This is perfectly normal so no need to be worried. It just means that some part of the dough was a little thin. Once you give the pastry a little time to cool, you can easily lift the pie off the cookie sheet and onto a clean dessert pan, plate, stand or what have you.

    So, thats it. You've successfully made a flawless pastry that the whole family can enjoy (or just yourself, no judgment). Now, any time you want a unique dessert that you are tired of searching for you can whip it up at home in less than an hour and a half.  Remember, this recipe is incredibly versatile; you could even fill your crust with a savory blend of vegetables & eggs to make a quiche if you are so inclined. 

We were
Until next time, or as the french say, "Au Revoir!"



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