Downton Pie

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Hey hey friends!

Short and sweet today – this isn’t so much a recipe as it is a brainchild that actually came to fruition, of which I’m SO pleased and proud. Many of you will have already seen this on my insta, but I’m sharing it here too for blog posterity.

I made a Downton Abbey Pie! I really wasn’t sure I could pull this off and have it translate in pie dough, but somehow it worked. As usual for these crazy, once-a-year pies, this one was my donation to be auctioned off for the benefit of Lamplighters Music Theater at their yearly gala – so many friends, such a fun day! It was Downton Abbey themed and I couldn’t resist.

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For those of you interested in the specifics:

  • Total renderings for concept design: 2
  • Total time: 4 hours
  • Top crust design & construction: 2 hours
  • Bottom crust crimp & pie assembly: 1 hour
  • Bake time: ~shy of 1 hour
  • Essential tools: paring knife, bench scraper, rolling pin, hands, crappy pair of scissors
  • Amount of blueberries: somewhere close to 4 cups
  • Flour usage: just over 2.5 c of whole wheat pastry flour
  • Butter usage: just over half a pound
  • Refined sugar usage: none, of course!
  • Final bid: $65! YAAAY!
  • Amount of fun had and creative joy generated: defies description

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There you have it!

Pie. The Dowager might think it was chintzy, but I’m happy with it ;)

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Let’s get crackin’

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Oh heavens, the holiday market shopping madness has already begun! I rather forgot this was the last weekend before Thanksgiving… Whole Foods is already at full-tilt insanity. It’s all good though, I don’t think I need to go back until after the holiday (ha. famous last words).

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It’s time for all things pumpkin, sweet potato, apple, and cranberry! I love the run of late autumn/holiday seasonal baking. I will say though, things can get a little one-note with all of the cinnamon-nutmeg-ginger combinations out there, which is why I especially love this pie. It’s light on the spice, but the cinnamon and ginger are present just enough to give it that seasonal vibe. Plus, it’s purple! Naturally! What’s not to love.

This thing obviously cracked like crazy (it cooled too fast in my apartment…might, *ahem* be a little cold in here?!) but I’m embracing its imperfections! It was delicious, and, like human beings, is unique and imperfect in its own way.

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Interestingly, it lightened up a lot in color after baking – see below photo! That was taken just over 24 hours after baking. The lighting is a bit different of course, but it was fun watching the color change.

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C and I both loved this one, a LOT. So much so that it might make another appearance this week for Thanksgiving! We’ll see. Regardless, we ate it for dessert and of course for breakfast, as we hibernated away from the bad air.

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I was traveling in SoCal for work last week and avoided some of it, but we’re still under a big blanket of smoke. The sunsets have been incredible, but that’s small comfort when outside is essentially verboten.

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My heart just breaks for those displaced by the terrible fires to the north of us and my beautiful state – we are on our 10th day of extremely unhealthy air quality and choking smoke in the Bay Area, and I can only imagine what it’s like closer to the fires. Sending all the good vibes to those who need them, though I know that isn’t nearly enough.

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Hold your loved ones, and bake them things – it is always the little kindnesses that are the most appreciated!

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Purple Sweet Potato Cheesecake Tart on a Chocolate Coconut Crust

Perfect for the holidays! Only lightly sweet – as always – and I love the purple sweet potatoes for their natural color. This comes together in a snap; you can always use regular sweet potato puree, or even pumpkin. This is kind of like a cheesecake, but uses yogurt instead of cream cheese for a lighter dessert. Yield: 1 9″ tart, serves 6-8 realistically or two really hungry people for dessert & breakfast the next morning :) Filling is adapted from the Roasted Root, here!

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For the crust:

1.75 c almond flour
1/3 c unsweetened cacao powder
1/4 c unsweetened shredded coconut
heaping 1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
4 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1/4 c dark chocolate, melted

In a large bowl, stir together almond flour, cacao powder, coconut, sea salt, and baking soda. Add in vanilla, maple, and melted coconut oil and stir until completely combined. The dough will look crumbly, but you’ll be able to press it together with your fingers.

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease a tart pan with coconut oil (you can also use a pie pan; I like the tart pans with removable rings). Press the crust into the plate and up the sides with a spoon or your fingers, creating a smooth edge (or not, your call!). Poke the bottom with a fork a few times, and bake for 15 minutes.

For the filling:

1 cup pureed purple sweet potato*
1 cup whole milk, plain yogurt (I use Straus European style – it’s pretty runny)
3 eggs
1/4 c pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons tapioca flour*
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon allspice
½ teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

* I boil them; you could also roast & mash them – either way is fine!

Add all of the ingredients for the filling to a food processor or blender and blend just until combined. Pour into the prepared crust and bake at 350 for 25-30 min until the center is set. Let cool completely, then refrigerate until serving.

Keeps well overnight in the fridge; probably best eaten within two days of baking, but I really doubt ours will even last that long :)

Part of the SF Pie-Line

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Good morning!

I made another pie for auction this weekend, for my favorite Lamplighters! It feels so good to be able to help out a group of people and an organization that I love so much – on account of both the fave human and my good friends!

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I’ll keep this short today but I wanted to share pictures – I am SO proud of how this one came out, and I was definitely stressing the details.

Process pictures! Sorry for the crappy lighting – I was definitely more focused on making pie than I was taking good photos at that point.

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I used my usual pie recipe, found here. I made a double batch of dough so I’d have enough, plus some leftover for any potential last minute patch jobs (thankfully wasn’t needed!)

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Have a great week!

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For the Horde!

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Brace yourselves for another Nerd Pie!

This one is…. FOR THE HORDE! Obviously.

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I thought the red/purple-y color of the filling seemed like an appropriate Horde color, so there you go – Nerd pies strike again!

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I have it on good authority that the leftovers didn’t even last a day, so I consider my mission accomplished. This pie is definitely a winner if you like tart things – there is barely any sweetener in here, since we very clearly like tart things around here. I love unadulterated rhubarb – it smells SO good when it’s baking!

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Pie for breakfast? …. Obviously, have you met us?!

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In other news, aside from pie…

Great hike/walk up to Twin Peaks with fave human and some beautiful wildflowers. Thankfully, this world never stops being beautiful – no matter what else is transpiring.

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Also, I made my mama some Mother’s Day cookies (because she is amazing and in Scotland as of today so it had to be something portable) and this one kind of looks like the Millennium Falcon…? No? Just me?

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Keeping it short because it’s (the end of!) Monday and I’m tired… and can’t quite believe we’re already halfway through May! What?!

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Happy baking!

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Rhubarb, Blackberry and Ginger Pie on a Whole Wheat Crust

Refined sugar free and whole wheat. This pie is for those who love all things tart but naturally sweet: the rhubarb is allowed to be its true self! Sugar need not apply. Sweetened very minimally with a little maple – feel free to eat with whipped cream, ice cream or just plain as you see fit. Yield: 1 9″ pie. Recipe is a riff on the many pies that have shown up on here, such as this one or this one.

For the pie crust:

2.25 c whole wheat pastry flour
3 tbsp coconut sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/3 c unsalted butter
1/3 c vegetable shortening
5-6 tbsp ice water
For the filling:

4 c rhubarb, chopped*
2 c blackberries*
1/4 c maple syrup
1/4 c whole wheat flour
zest of 2 meyer lemon
juice of 1 meyer lemon (or regular)
1/4 c candied ginger
1/4 tsp salt

*I baked straight from frozen; fresh would also be fine

For finishing: 1-2 tbsp butter, 1 egg for egg wash

To make the crust: in a large bowl, whisk together pastry flour, coconut sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in shortening and butter either with your fingers or a pastry cutter until a coarse mixture forms and the butter chunks are the size of peas. Make a well in the center of the dough and add in the ice water one tablespoon at a time – mix as little as possible when incorporating the water to avoid overworking the dough. Once it will stick together, you’re good to go. Divide it into two even pieces, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 10 minutes and up to an hour.

While the dough is chilling, put together the filling. In a large bowl, toss together rhubarb, blackberries, maple syrup, whole wheat flour, lemon zest and juice, cinnamon and salt. Let sit for at least 10 minutes — easiest to do this while you roll out the pie dough.

Once the dough is chilled, roll it out between two pieces of parchment or on marble, whatever you have – I like parchment for easy removal. Aim for about 1/8″ thickness, and lay the bottom crust into a lightly greased pie dish. Shape it with your fingers, evening out the top as per your pie plate or design you want — this crust will make a double crusted pie, so keep that in mind. Toss in rhubarb filling goodness and dot with butter.

If you want to get fancy and get all Horde-pie nerdy…

Cut out templates (thick paper or thin cardboard work nicely) for the Horde crest. Have egg wash and coconut sugar handy (I use a beaten egg + 1 tbsp water). Use the templates to cut out the top crust shape, and brush everything with egg wash to make it stick. Sprinkle coconut sugar where contrast is desired.

Once finished, carefully lay top crust over the rhubarb filling. Bake at 450 for 10 minutes, then 350 for 35-40 until the filling is bubbling and the crust is golden brown. Remove from the oven when done and let sit to cool for at least an hour, preferably more so that the filling will set. Serve warm or at room temp, and store any leftovers overnight on the counter, loosely covered, or in the fridge for longer (assuming it lasts that long). Pie can be made a day in advance if needed and reheated briefly in a 375 oven to crisp the crust and warm the filling – 10/15 minutes. The pie filling will firm up if stored in the fridge overnight, making slicing easier.

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I only have (pies!) for you

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Could someone explain to me what happened to October? I blinked, and then… here we are. ALSO it’s already less than two weeks till Thanksgiving?! Um…. wat.

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But regardless… I have PIE!

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And it’s PURPLE pie!

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Because really, how could something like this not make you happy? That color just makes me smile every time. As does the fact that it’s grain & gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free, vegan & paleo so errrybody can enjoy – because also, despite all the ‘free’ in its name, it is also delicious (NOT taste free. ha!)

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Maybe consider it if you’ve got friends or fam with some dietary stuff and they’re coming for Thanksgiving? I’m 100% sure they’d love you for it.

It’s been raining! I love love love the sound of rain – it so soothing, no matter what kind of day I’m having. Baking when it’s raining is one of my favorite things – I love that even though my apartment’s galley kitchen doesn’t have windows, I have a big window on the wall facing the entrance to the kitchen, which lets in light and rain sound. It’s perfect! Besides, my little one-butt kitchen is exactly the right size for my baking shenanigans.

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In other news, pretty coffee and some opera (shocking, I know…NOT).

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I’ve made this pie twice in three days – it’s that good! Full disclosure: the first time I made it, I took the first bite straight out of the pie dish: fork, meet pie. I NEVER do that, since I’m all about the presentation, but you know what? Sometimes it just has to happen.

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Happy Saturday! I’m loving the beautiful fall weather over here – the leaves are gorgeous, the air is crisp, and I had purple pie, eggs & kale for breakfast with the best company: life is wonderful! Happy baking!

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Purple Sweet Potato Pie on an Almond Coconut Crust

Gluten & grain free, refined sugar free, dairy free, vegan, paleo. Crust is a Wait are Those Cookies original, filling is adapted from The Endless Meal, here! Yield: one 9″ pie, serves 2 or several! ha.

For the crust:

  • 1.75 c almond flour
  • 1 c unsweetened shredded coconut
  • heaping 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil, melted

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease a pie plate with coconut oil.

In a large bowl, stir together almond flour, shredded coconut, sea salt, and baking soda. Add in vanilla, almond extract, maple, and melted coconut oil, and stir until completely combined. The dough will look crumbly, but you’ll be able to press it together with your fingers. Press the crust into the plate and up the sides with a spoon or your fingers, creating a smooth edge (or not, your call!). Poke the bottom with a fork a few times, and bake for 15 minutes. Remove and let cool for a few minutes, but keep the oven on if you’re making the whole thing at once.

For the filling:

  • 2 large purple sweet potatoes, peeled & sliced into 1″ pieces (about 3 cups worth)
  • 3/4 c full fat coconut milk
  • heaping 1/4 c maple syrup
  • 1.5 tbsp tapioca starch*
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon (~1tbsp)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • heaping 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine salt

*full disclosure: I made this twice in three days & totally forgot the tapioca starch the second time. It’s actually not essential – the filling set up fine without it.

While the crust is baking, make the filling!

In a medium saucepan, boil the sweet potato slices until fork tender. Drain and let cool for a few minutes. Add them to a food processor (or high powered blender) and pulse a few times to puree. Add in coconut milk, maple, tapioca, lemon juice, vanilla, and almond extract, and pulse to combine. Add cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and sea salt, and pulse until combined. The filling should be thick! Pour/spoon/spatula it into the prepared crust, smooth the top (or not, you do you!), and bake at 350 for about 45 minutes – the crust should be golden brown and the pie should be set, but with just the slightest bit of jiggle in the middle. Remove and let cool completely before serving (preferably with ice cream or whipped cream of choice, either dairy or non dairy). I prefer to make this earlier in the day and refrigerate until serving, to give the filling ample time to set up.

Top with crystalized ginger & extra coconut if desired!

Keep leftovers covered in the fridge – it will last for a few days, provided all of it doesn’t get eaten first!

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Pie in the sky(line)!

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I’ve discovered in the last year that I really love making fancy pies! That’s probably fairly obvious to anyone who reads this on a semi-regular basis — I’m still dreaming of one day starting a pie/dessert business – we shall see!

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This is a start at least – to benefit the Lamplighters at their annual Champagne Gala auction, I made pie! Excited to report that it went for $45 — not too shabby! Besides, it was such a joy to make and to help benefit a group I love — everyone is just winning all around :)

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This one is an ode to my beloved Bay Area – despite all its issues (traffic and ridiculous cost of living, to name a couple), there is nowhere I would rather live. Besides, since the Lamps are based in SF, it was a fitting auction contribution.

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The recipe is the same I’ve made before; namely the Death Star pie (here) – I find wild blueberries are optimal for decorative pies, since the small berries don’t create distortions in the top crust like chunkier things do (think blackberries, rhubarb, and apples). Plus, they look like night sky, AND they’re delicious – what’s not to like. This pie was refined sugar free and whole wheat.

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I’m excited for so many top crust ideas – since I draw my own templates, the options are endless! Watch this space for further pie shenanigans ;)

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Trifecta Complete: Terran Pie!

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I had to finish the trifecta, of course. Terran Pie!

Appropriately earthy, so I think the Terrans would approve. AND delicious, so I approve – I love rhubarb, and it pairs so well with apples.

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My pie crust game is going strong over here! It feels great to be able to make pie and not sweat the crust. Besides, it’s June now (how did that happen?!) which is summer and official pie season. Though I will say there will be a pie break over here for the time being, time to do new things!

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In other news… I saw the Mountain Play this weekend! So fun: a round-trip 8+ mile hike with ~1750 of elevation gain to get to the amphitheater –  I definitely earned my pie! (besides that, we did all the uphill on the hike in – 4.2 miles essentially all uphill in 1.5 hours. BEAST MODE. No big deal) The Mountain Play was awesome – great show, great weather, and lovely company!

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All things considered, a great weekend. And there was nerdy pie. Which makes it all the better.

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Sometimes… you just need to play with your food:

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Earthy, whole wheat crust filled with tart rhubarb and granny smith apples – the tart-pie lover’s dream. I haven’t had an apple pie in ages so this was a welcome change. The lemon shines through too, adding brightness that balances out the sweetness of the maple. Barely sweet, mostly tart – this pie is for those who love their fruit.

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Happy Monday!

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Rhubarb Apple Pie on Whole Wheat Crust

A Wait are Those Cookies original! Whole wheat and refined sugar free. Tart, for those who don’t shy away from a little tart in their desserts – the rhubarb and the apple play so nicely off each other, and the maple adds just enough sweetness without diminishing the flavor of the fruit. Yield: 1 deep 9″ pie. Serves: 2… I kid. Sort of.

For the pie crust:

  • 2.25 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • scant 2 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/3 c unsalted butter
  • 1/3 c vegetable shortening
  • 5-6 tbsp ice water

For the filling:

  • 4 c chopped rhubarb*
  • 2 granny smith apples, chopped
  • 1/4 c maple syrup
  • zest and juice of 2 meyer lemons
  • 1/3 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of sea salt

*I baked straight from frozen; fresh would also be fine

For finishing: 1-2 tbsp butter, 1 egg for egg wash

To make the crust: in a large bowl, whisk together pastry flour, coconut sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in shortening and butter either with your fingers or a pastry cutter until a coarse mixture forms and the butter chunks are the size of peas. Make a well in the center of the dough and add in the ice water one tablespoon at a time – mix as little as possible when incorporating the water to avoid overworking the dough. Once it will stick together, you’re good to go. Divide it into two even pieces, wrap in plastic wrap or a ziploc and chill for at least 10 minutes or up to overnight. You can also chill the dough for about 5-6 hours or overnight in the ball, then roll it out and chill it, shaped, in the pie dish. I discovered that works quite well – make filling & bake straight from the fridge.

While the dough is chilling, put together the filling. In a large bowl, toss together rhubarb, granny smith apples, maple, lemon juice + zest, whole wheat flour, vanilla, and salt. Let sit for at least 10 minutes — easiest to do this while you roll out the pie dough.

Once the dough is chilled, roll it out between two pieces of parchment or on marble, whatever you have – I like parchment for easy removal. Aim for about 1/8″ thickness, and lay the bottom crust into a pie dish. Shape it with your fingers, evening out the top as per your pie plate or design you want — this crust will make a double crusted pie, so keep that in mind. Toss in filling goodness and dot fruit filling with butter.

If you want to get fancy and get all Terran-pie Starcraft nerdy (you must construct additional pylons!)…

Cut out templates (thick paper or thin cardboard work nicely) for the Terran crest. Have egg wash and coconut sugar handy (I used a beaten egg). Use the templates to cut out the top crust shape, then use a chopstick or a knife to make the surface lines. Brush everything with egg wash to make it stick. Sprinkle coconut sugar where contrast is desired. Once finished, carefully lay top crust over the filling. Bake at 450 for 10 minutes, then 350 for 35-40 until the filling is bubbling and the crust is golden brown (*note, apples & rhubarb might look a little dry on top, but the pie will be done and delicious, I promise!) Remove from the oven when done and let sit to cool for at least an hour, preferably more so that the filling will set. Serve warm or at room temp, and store any leftovers overnight on the counter, loosely covered, or in the fridge for longer (assuming it lasts that long). Pie can be made a day in advance if needed and reheated briefly in a 375 oven to crisp the crust and warm the filling – 10/15 minutes. The pie filling will firm up if stored in the fridge overnight, making slicing easier. Sometimes I actually prefer to make pie a day ahead, since it reheats in the oven beautifully and the filling sets up so nicely overnight.

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