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Pie is something special, is it not? Fill a fatty crust with just about anything sweet or savory and you’ve got a meal or dessert that fills and warms and could easily be mistaken for a slice of love and nourishment all in one. I’m quite partial to a lard pie crust, of course, but these days butter is the fat of choice around here.
We eat weird food these days, apparently. Last night it was a plate of “dirty rice” and kraut in almost equal proportions. Breakfast is often whatever recipe I’m testing plus fried eggs. It’s not uncommon for a baked sweet potato, beans, and kraut to make up our entire meal. (So if you’re looking for normal people apple pie, might I recommend checking out Tracy’s recipe?)
Speaking of weird, we really don’t eat desserts or treats often – at group gatherings or a couple of times a month in our own home. Part of the reason for this is that some of our family can’t eat wheat or sugar right now. Part of the reason is because sweets are a treat and we try to pass that on to the children, especially since I ate way too many of them in my formative years.
And part of the reason is because we sort of have a no sugar rule. In fact, the only reason we really ever keep it in the house is for kombucha or water kefir. White sugar makes tasty treats, but I have a hard time spending money on something that detracts from the nourishment of our family, instead of adding to it. Thankfully, Stewart agrees… and has more willpower than me anyway, so it works out well.
So honey and the occasional bag of sucanat are pretty much all we use, the latter being fairly rare as well. Yes, these sweeteners are quite a bit more expensive, but that evens way out when you look at how much we actually consume. Everyone’s got to prioritize, right? This is simply how we’ve done it.
(And let’s not pretend I don’t eat dessert at potluck meals, buy dark chocolate from time to time, and try to create a version of one of Stewart’s favorites when the craving hits. We’re weird, remember, not crazy.)
Back to the topic of pie… I’m considering making more of it. Everyone can eat this recipe. It calls for minimal sweeteners. And the beauty of this gluten-free pie crust is that the texture and flavor are still flaky and delicious when I press the crust into a skillet with my fingertips and skip that whole rolling it out thing.
Wait. Yes, as a matter of fact I did say that you simply press the crust into a cast-iron skillet, fill, and top with flattened out bits of crust to form a lattice. It’s rustic, it’s easy, it’s deliciously flaky, and I don’t have to worry about bits of plywood clinging to my pie crust.
Plywood is the new granite in the counter top world, don’t ya know?
Oh, and here’s how I make that pie…
Deep Dish Apple Pie, Gluten-Free and Honey-Sweetened
- 2 cups flour (1/2 cup oat, 1/2 cup millet, and 1 cup potato starch)
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 sticks butter or 1 cup cold lard or a mixture of the two
- 1/4-1/2 cup cold water
- 6-8 medium baking apples, sliced (usually granny smith)
- 1/2 cup honey (I actually usually use a little less)
- 1-2 teaspoons cinnamon, to taste
- 2 tablespoons potato or corn starch
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt with a fork. Cut the cold butter (or lard) into the flour with a pastry cutter or your hands. (I usually start with the former and end with the latter.)
- Now add the water a little bit at a time, starting with 1/4 cup. Mix it in. If it’s still dry and crumbly at all, add the rest of the water. This crust is not going to feel just like a wheat flour crust when all is said and done, so no freaking out.
- Once you’ve gotten the dough to completely stick together, knead a few times to form a large ball, wrap and refrigerate. Or, in our case, leave it in a plate-covered bowl next to the draftiest window overnight until you’re ready to make pie in the morning. Allowing it to sit helps hydrate all of the flours.
- Four or more hours later, prepare to make pie. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. If your crust is really cold, let it sit out a bit before you get started. Get your 10″ cast iron skillet out and make sure it’s clean and seasoned well. Take 70% of your dough ball and start smooshing it into your cast iron skillet. Yes, smooshing is the correct term. Do your best to evenly distribute the dough, which will still be rather sticky. No freaking out.
- Once you have smooshed the dough into the skillet and up the sides ~3/4 of the way, just check to make sure there are no super deep dough corners. Take the other 30% of your dough and set it aside.
- Start slicing your apples thinly into the same bowl you prepared and rested your dough in. Add the cinnamon, honey, and starch or flour, and mix well with a wooden spoon or your hands. Dump this into the bottom portion of the pie crust.
- Dust a dinner plate with GF flour of your choice. Divide your dough into six pieces. Take each piece and roll it into a “snake” and then pat it out on your plate until you have a roughly formed 1.5 inch wide strip of dough that will fit your pan. Place that strip down the middle of the pan. Repeat with remaining pieces of dough, patting them into the correct length for their position in the pan.
- Weave the lattices over and under as needed. Then crimp the edges together and make sure the overlapping dough is sticking together well.
- Now throw that pie into the oven for about 45 minutes or until the edges are golden brown and the filling looks done.
- Remove and allow to cool for a couple of hours to set up before slicing. Serve.
Oh, it has been full and busy days around here. The forms were laid, the concrete mixed and poured, and the bolts set over the course of nearly a full week.
That was all during a warm spell here, which was a blessing to have while working with concrete.
Right now we’re carrying in armloads of firewood, bundling up in layers and cute little people hats, and coming in to warm up next to the wood stove. A cold front is upon us.
But the work continues as it can. We are very grateful for the concern and prayers in response to Stewart’s health, particularly after this post. He is doing better, working on this new space we’re constructing, all while still trying to take care of himself (and us!). That week was a bad one, to be sure, but thankfully there has been definite improvement since then.
And with a bit of help, the footers are poured and the lumber is beginning to trickle in.
And the swinging continues as these boys take breaks from the hauling of firewood and the chores for Mama.
We aren’t exactly sure what will become of this new space, but it will be welcome… especially with this going on just outside the windows.
It all began simply enough. A few trenches here, some rebar there. Little girls with pink socks looking on.
And before you knew it, the work site had erupted into utter chaos.
Soon the concrete bags were flying out of the trailer and into the mixing trough.
And then forms were filled and bolts sunk in.
And lets not pretend like I know what I’m talking about here in construction land (I may have spelt rebar wrong up there.) I take pictures, help out with the occasional watering of concrete and a bit of mixing when the sun is creeping down faster than they can mix and pour. But mostly, I’m just here with a happy grin on my face, catering the construction crew.
It’s not hard, though, to fill these big and little bellies. Not when I come out to witness these kinds of shenanigans. In between the hauling of water, the fetching of tools, and the moving of concrete bags, it seems these boys have found a way to pass the time not far from where the action is happening.
To be continued…
We’ve had a stretch of wintry days here and it’s been a lovely time of cozying in.
The boys have delighted in the morning frost, freezing rain, and ice treasures.
There have been a host of simple meals made on the wood stove.
School books have flown freely with little boys filling their minds with information and questions alike.
Of course the warm tea to fill bellies is always a plus. And so are those rubber band wrists.
A rooster made his way to the chopping block to become a couple of wonderful meals. And those sweet potatoes have been eaten every single day.
And one little lady has watched the digging and the concrete and the construction underway here. More on that soon.
Here’s wishing you and yours a cozy and blessed Thanksgiving.
This is our small but cozy kitchen, one wing of it anyway, and I have been enjoying spending more and more time here. Just to the right of this photo is the front door and if you walk in you’re bound to almost always see dirty dishes, fresh eggs, and an industrial-sized dish drainer. Because that’s how we roll.
Also plentiful these days are helpers. Someone’s always willing to lend a hand at pounding kraut, they’re happy to bring in firewood, and their daily table and floor chores sure help their mama out. And when the little lady isn’t making a bigger mess than we started with, she’s coming and going with plates and jars and carrying in eggs with me from the coop.
An afternoon spent fermenting various things is well worth the extra dishes. A couple of gallons of ferments make for some quick meals when enzymes and probiotics are scooped right from the jar.
Fermented cranberry-sweet potato relish anyone? Next time maybe I’ll remember to put it away before it turns to sweet potato hooch.
And am I the only one loving soup season? Fresh chopped vegetables and a bit of protein covered in water or broth all go straight in the pot and dinner is served, right?
How are you spending those moments in the kitchen these days?
my (grain-free) cookbook
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