Seriously good heart-healthy apple pie

Don't laugh! Here are the secrets to a state-fair-winning crust with essentially no saturated fat

Topics: Guest Chef, Baking techniques, Food,

Seriously good heart-healthy apple pie

After heart problems forced me to stop eating saturated and trans fats, I thought I would never make or eat pie again (and believe me, I cried myself to sleep over that one). Then I saw a crust recipe in Saveur made with white flour, vegetable oil and whole milk. The old Cathy would have scoffed at this idea, but I had to give it a try – especially considering that a pie with this crust won the Iowa State Fair pie contest!

I gave the recipe a bit of a health makeover by using half whole wheat pastry flour, plus organic canola oil and fat-free milk. The result was shockingly good, and I was a Pie Queen once again. Not a good thing for my waistline, but great for my happiness level.

Don’t be skeptical, you butter lovers. This crust is so tender and flavorful, people will shake their heads in disbelief when you tell them it’s made with oil. My mother-in-law proclaimed it as good as her grandmother’s lard crust, and that’s about the highest compliment I could receive. A few people who commented on the Saveur site had problems with the crust, but I think it’s nearly foolproof if you follow my instructions and these three rules of thumb:

1. Measure everything accurately. A tablespoon means right to the top of the measuring spoon!

2. Measure the flour by spooning it gently into your measuring cup rather than scooping, then level off with a knife.

3. Never refrigerate the dough.

Heart-Healthy Apple Raspberry Pie

Ingredients

Filling

  • 5 cups peeled, thinly sliced apples (about 5 apples)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh raspberries (about 12 ounces)

Crust

  • 2 2/3 cups flour, half all purpose and half whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup organic canola oil or high-oleic safflower oil
  • 6 tablespoons fat-free milk
  • 1 teaspoon milk and 1 teaspoon sugar, for brushing top crust


Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Combine the apples, lemon juice, spices, sugar and corn starch in a large bowl, then gently fold in the raspberries.
  3. Whisk the flour and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Pour the oil in a glass measuring cup and add the milk, without stirring. Pour this mixture into the flour and stir briefly, just until combined. Divide the dough in half and form two balls.
  4. Place a 15″ long piece of wax paper on your work surface, putting a few drops of water under the paper to keep it from sliding around. Put one ball on the paper and press it into a 6-inch circle. Top with another piece of wax paper and roll it out with a rolling pin to a 12-inch circle (the edges may extend beyond the top and bottom of the wax paper slightly, but you can loosen it with a knife when you lift the dough.) If your circle is uneven, simply tear off a piece from one part and add it to another – it’s easy to make repairs.
  5. Remove the top sheet and turn the dough over into a 9-inch pie pan, pressing to remove any air pockets. Pour in the filling. Roll out the second disc between fresh wax paper and place it on top of the pie. Fold the top crust under the bottom all the way around, and crimp the edges. Cut some slits in the top, then brush very lightly with milk and sprinkle on a little sugar.
  6. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350 and bake about 45-50 minutes, until the crust is lightly golden and the filling is bubbling. Cool 3 or more hours before serving.

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