Come to the Dark Side… I have pie.

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Pie! Such a perfect food. Especially when it resembles… the Death Star! Because why have plain pie when you could show off your nerdiness to the world? I almost didn’t want to eat this… but I did.

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Pie crust used to intimidate me, which is pretty stupid given that it’s basically just flour and water and butter… yet I think sometimes the simplest things end up being the trickiest (in life and in baking!). But pie is also a fairly forgiving food, and will love you endlessly if you learn to make it with the confidence it deserves.

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I think I’m finally at that point — this one felt great! I am quite pleased with the way it came out both in looks and taste… the sci-fi nerd is strong in me ;) I think the key with pie crust is not to let on that it makes you nervous! It can probably sense that, ha! Maybe with its pie crust force powers…

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Thank goodness pie is so delicious – it makes all the potential crust shenanigans worthwhile.

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In other news, another drawing for the series!

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Anndddd…. the first skiing of the season! Wheeeee!!! And what great skiing it was. More to come, that’s for sure.

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But for now, pie. Because often the simplest things in life are the most enjoyable, especially leftover pie for breakfast in good company! Nothing better.

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Wild Blueberry Pie with Whole Wheat Dark Side Crust

Refined sugar free and whole wheat! Naturally sweetened with coconut sugar. Crust recipe yields a double crusted pie, enough for a Death Star of your own making if you so choose. Crust recipe lightly adapted from Carolyn McCuaig (thanks Carolyn, if you’re reading this!)

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For the crust:

  • 2.25 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1/3 c vegetable shortening
  • 1/3 c butter (mine was salted), cut into chunks
  • 5-7 tbsp ice water

For the filling:

  • 4 c wild blueberries, or enough to heapingly fill your pie plate (frozen is fine)
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1/4 c coconut sugar
  • 1/3 c whole wheat pastry flour

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, salt, baking powder, and lemon zest. 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. Toss blueberries, lemon juice, coconut sugar and flour in a large bowl.

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 blueberry filling goodness and dot with butter.

If you want to get fancy and do the Death Star…

Cut out templates (thick paper or thin cardboard work nicely) for the Death Star and a TIE fighter. 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, then use a chopstick or a knife to make the surface lines. Roll out thin pieces of dough for the details, 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 blueberry filling — there is no real need to seal the edges. 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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Sometimes, dessert just needs to be an unashamedly sloppy, delicious mess

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This tart is a lesson in what dessert sometimes should be: an aesthetically pleasing, sloppy, delicious mess. Because sometimes dessert should just be eaten out of the pan it was baked or assembled in, with two spoons and happy grins. Or, you could attempt civilized plating (as I did) when you consume it for dessert, with a hasty decant into bowls topped with ice cream. Which is perfectly acceptable. Until the next morning when you peek at the custard tart that’s been hangin’ in the fridge overnight and notice that the custard has decided to attempt an escape outside its proscribed bounds, at which point you decide to eat it out of the pan with spoons. Wise and delicious decision!

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Sometimes, you need a less than perfect dessert. Messy, delicious and less than perfect is exactly what this tart is. You’ve been warned! Indulge accordingly.

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In other news, I completed another year on this earthplane, and celebrated accordingly at Gary Danko! Nowhere else am I going to sit down to a four course dinner with two desserts. Shockingly, I didn’t even need a wheelbarrow to leave…. I consider this a success all around. Thanks to everyone who made my birthday weekend such fun! Y’all are so rad.

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Hmm, what else. It’s officially autumn! Which means apples, scarves, boots, and pumpkin. And baking. Except that the Bay has decided to have a heat wave these last few days, which means baking is totally off the table until it gets back down into the 80s, at least. Since when do I wear a dress and no jacket in San Francisco all evening?! Since never… until yesterday! Reason number one to eat messy, cool, creamy dessert that can be had with minimal baking and heating of the kitchen!

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More drawing! A wee bit of dome practice with the beautiful San Francisco city hall.

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Nighttime cityscapes are so beautiful.

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But back to the food!

This tart presents beautifully but once cut, devolves into a sloppy, delicious mess. But, fear not! Just grab a spoon and eat it straight from the pan. Messy and delicious, just how dessert should be.

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Maple Custard Apple Tart with Almond Crust

Lightly sweet, creamy and an appropriate amount of crust. Refined sugar free, grain free, gluten free, paleo & dairy free with one small swap (coconut oil for butter in the crust). Yield: 1 10″ pie pan of the deep variety; serves as many as you feel like sharing with. Recipe adapted from Hip Foodie Mom, here!

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For the crust:

  • 2.5 c almond flour
  • scant 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 4 tbsp salted butter (or coconut oil), melted
  • 1 runneth-over tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg white

For the custard:

  • 1.5 c coconut milk (mine was light; use whatever you have)
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/2 c pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 c tapioca starch
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

For the apple topping:

  • 2 apples, finely sliced
  • 3 tbsp raspberry jam, thinned with a bit of water and lemon juice

Because the custard needs to sit and chill in the fridge after cooling for at least 2 hours, I made this a day ahead and let it hang out in the fridge overnight. The crust only takes about 15 minutes to bake, so the tart itself comes together quite quickly.

Preheat the oven to 400 and lightly grease a 9 or 10″ deep pie plate with coconut oil or butter. For the crust: in a large mixing bowl, stir together almond flour, salt, and coconut sugar. Add in melted butter or coconut oil, vanilla, and egg white, and stir until combined — I found it more fun and more efficient to use my hands at the end. Press the dough into the bottom of your pie plate of choice, poke the bottom a few times with a fork, and bake for 15 minutes. The crust should be lightly browned. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.

For the custard: in a medium saucepan, heat the coconut milk over medium, until small bubbles begin forming along the egg whites. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks, maple, tapioca starch, and salt. Slowly temper the eggs by pouring the hot coconut milk into the egg bowl in a thin stream, whisking constantly until all the milk is incorporated. Pour this whole bowl of goodness back into the pot that was previously holding the coconut milk, and cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until the custard begins bubble and thicken (you’ll know. it’ll go from watery to thick enough that your whisk makes tracks). Remove from heat, stir in the vanilla, and let sit until cool. Give it a good stir, and store in an airtight container in the fridge if you made it ahead.

Pour the custard into the completely cooled crust. Thinly slice 2 apples of choice, and drop them in a bowl of lemon water to prevent browning while slicing. In a small bowl, thin the raspberry jam with a few tbsp of water and lemon juice (I used the leftover from my apple-soaking water). Fan the apple slices across the surface of the custard, brush with the raspberry jam mixture to prevent excess browning. Cover and refrigerate if not eating immediately!

Keeps well overnight in the fridge, covered, but don’t expect it to stay in one piece! The custard is runny — best advice (and I definitely put this into practice) is to just eat it with a spoon, straight out of the pie plate. For breakfast! Keep any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.

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Happy Birthday, Bloglet!

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Happy Birthday, little Bloglet!!

My little baby bloglet is TWO years old this week!! (I say this week as I’m really not sure what day I started, and wordpress isn’t telling and I’m far too lazy to look back at my posts, whoops).

I feel like a proud parent! It’s so cute. To celebrate, I made… pie!!! (of course). I love my bloglet. Pie equals love. Therefore (QED?!), because I love my bloglet, I have made it a pie! And then I get to eat said pie, so everybody wins. Mmm, warm pie. Happy birthday, little two year old bloglet! Thank you for giving me an excuse to make pie (right. As if I ever needed an excuse to do that), even if it was a thousand degrees the day I made it and my dough got all sticky. Note to self: hot weather = sticky things = use mo’ flour! Whatever, got the crust in the dish in one piece so sticky is clearly sooo not a big deal.

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There has been such a massive amount of change over the two years I’ve been writing this, I’m so thankful I’ve had this as a creative outlet. It’s hard to believe it’s been two years since I started! 142 posts, lots of snark, and some epic fails later, I can look back with quite a bit of pride! Lots of growth to be had if you check out the early pictures (actually, do me a favor and let’s ignore those, shall we?) versus the later ones. Lots more invisible internet friends! You know I love you. Some things haven’t changed though: I’m still as irreverent and alternative awesome as I’ve ever been (wait. Probably even more than I was…you can be the judge of that ;) and the food is still delicious. I think. Most of the time!

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For now, here’s a list (because I love them) of things I’m loving right now:

1) Gottschalk’s Symphonie romantique, “La nuit des tropiques”! Love love love.

2) Monarch of the Glen. Ob.SESSED.

3) Whole wheat english muffins. Like that’s ever going to change…

4) ALLL the grains and seeds (bird food. whatever): barley, amaranth, millet.

5) LENTILS! Enough said. I eat them for breakfast (I heard that and saw that eyeroll. Let’s not be judgy, you wouldn’t love me unless I did weird things like that, riiiight?!)

6) Reading several books at once. I think my current total is 4. And yes, I will finish them all ;)

7) Raw honey and cinnamon on toast. How have I not discovered this before now?

8) Single crusted pies. That way, you get smacked in the tastebuds by summer’s gloriousness!

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Anyway. Random things that were on my mind, and now they’re on yours. Muahha! Next thing you know you’ll be eating lentils for breakfast…

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Marionberry-Peach Pie

Makes one 8″ pie. The crust is the same one I’ve used before, coconut oil-whole wheat. It’s delicious and easily the fastest and least irritating pie crust I’ve ever made. Even when it’s ridiculously hot in your kitchen, it still cooperates with only minimal fussing. Oh yeah, and it’s absolutely delicious as well!

Crust: 1 whole wheat coconut oil crust, 8″

For the filling*:

  • 1 bag frozen peaches (I cut up the slices a bit because they’re usually really chunky)
  • 2 bags of frozen marionberries
  • 1/4 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tbsp tapioca (I use quick-cooking)
  • 1/2-1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp honey

*I used the amount of fruit that would fill my pie dish—the pie was 8″ single crusted, and I didn’t want the filling to sink too much so I threw in an added bag of berries. In my relatively shallow pie pan it was perfect!

Prepare pie crust of choice and preheat oven to 425.

In a large-ish bowl, toss together peaches, marionberries, flour, tapioca, cinnamon, and honey. I usually thaw my berries/fruit slightly, since honey tends to be difficult when it hits frozen things—it mixes a bit better when the fruit is slightly thawed. Once everything is combined, pour filling into the prepared pie crust, and bake for 15 minutes. Lower the oven temp to 350, and bake for about another 45 minutes, until the juices are bubbling and the crust is lightly browned. Remove from the oven and let cool a bit (but serve warm!).

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Transcendental Pie.

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Oh little bloglet, I do love you. I wasn’t even going to post today, but I suppose the bloglet muse struck…

AND I have this pie. Oh my goodness.

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There are no words. So, you get pictures.

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Actually, there are words. Words like family. Sunshine. Warm fruit. Warm weather. Nostalgia. Long evenings, dusky twilights. Memories. Summers that felt endless. Fresh. Happiness. Peace. Soul.

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Pie.

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Pie to me seems older than many traditional desserts or foods… it’s one of those intrinsically ‘family’ foods. When I make it and eat it, I feel a connection to generations of female family members who made pie before I did, and fed it to their loved ones. This is why I make pie by hand, not with a food processor or any other technical kitchen implements. I like just using a simple pastry cutter, and my mom’s wooden rolling pin. So simple, yet I think it makes the best pie. Why is it that the simplest things are so often the best? Probably because we get so much more out of the taste sensation than delicious food: nostalgia and taste receptors go hand in hand. To me, pie is generations of strong women. It makes me proud to feel connected to them in a physical way—those strong, wonderful, loving women who came before me.

So this pie is an homage to them: I am proud to derive my lineage from such a long line of fantastic women and their pies!

Happy early Mother’s Day to my mama, and to all of the wonderful mothers in this world!

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Simple Peach Pie

I know this is the second peach pie recipe on the blog, but um… I LOVE peach pie. So I’m giving you choices! This one is slightly healthier than it’s predecessor, not like that particularly matters when it comes to pie. But actually, this is my favorite of all of the pies on here! Simple, and delicious. The crust comes together easier than anything, and the filling is easy as well. Since it wouldn’t be a Hayley post without some nutritional tidbits, of course I have to add a note about the healthy fats from the coconut oil crust, and the blood-sugar regulating properties of cinnamon. Peaches are fruit, fruit is good for you… Whole wheat crust! And minimally processed sweeteners, from unrefined sources. Wheee!

Crust recipe lightly adapted from The Joyful Pantry, here! I made 1/2+1/4 of the recipe, as I wanted cut outs for the top. My pie pan was a shallow 8″, and I had just enough left for a few decorations. The measurements below are for a double crust, makes two 8″ crusts.

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Make pie. Eat. Love.

Crust:

  • 3/4 c coconut oil
  • 2 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1.5 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 5-6 tbsp ice water

Filling:

  • 2 bags frozen organic peaches (I think between 2-3 c sliced)
  • 1/4 c honey
  • 1.5 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp quick cooking tapioca

Preheat the oven to 400.

In a  bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and coconut sugar. Using a pastry cutter, cut in the coconut oil until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Add in ice water, a tablespoon at a time, until you can form a dough (I like to do this part with my hands). Gather the dough up into a ball, then roll out on a floured surface (I like waxed paper, as it makes it easier to flip the crust back into the pie dish). Once it’s larger than the circumference of the dish, flip the dough carefully back onto your pie dish, and press into place. Poke the bottom a few times with a fork, and crimp the edges so it looks pretty!

Combine peaches, honey, cinnamon, flour, and tapioca in a large bowl. Give it a few stirs… see? I told you this was easy. Pour this into the prepared pie dish, top with whatever kind of crust you’d like (double, lattice, cutouts, whatever), and then pop it into the oven. Bake for 30 minutes uncovered, then use foil to tent it and prevent excess browning, baking it for another 30 minutes. The filling should be bubbly when done, and will thicken as it cools.

Let cool a bit before slicing, but not too much… pie should be eaten warm!

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Haha, what leftovers??

 

Pie.

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Pie.

I love that word. It’s so simple, but it brings with it so many positive associations! Fruit. Ice cream. Family. Eating al fresco. I’m sure you have your own; those are mine. Besides all that, I love that I can pack a dessert full of fruit and then call it good for me… and then call it snack. And breakfast. And maybe lunch. Why not? Fruit+whole grains+healthy fats = a balanced(ish) meal, happy tummy, and happy soul.

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This post is rather short, as I’ve been a bit under the weather. I also loooove the photos, so this time, less is more!

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Life is short. Eat pie. Be happy!

Simple Blueberry Pie with a Coconut Oil Crust

I used the coconut oil crust recipe from Food 52, here, with only a slight modification (ww flour, always!). I wanted to use coconut oil, since it provides a nutritional bump in healthy fats (among other things like antioxidants, antimicrobials, and a host of other wonderful things). I always struggle with pie crust, partially from lack of patience and practice, and also probably because I’ve never used a trusted recipe. I really liked this one though—not only did it come together relatively easily, but it also was quite probably the best-tasting crust I’ve ever made. Winner. I’ll be making this one again, when I can get my hands on some peaches :)

I used blueberries I’d frozen in the summer—if you use frozen fruit, no need to thaw it first.

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Whole Wheat Coconut Oil Crust

  • 2.25 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar (or other granulated sugar)
  • 1/2 c coconut oil, cool enough to be solid
  • 1/3-1/2 c ice water

You can do this by hand, or use a food processor if you want to save time, like me. Food processor method: toss flour, salt, and sugar into the processor and pulse to combine. Add in solid coconut oil, and pulse again. It should start to come together when you pinch a bit. Pulse in 1/3 c ice water, until the dough starts to come together even more; adding ice water a tablespoon at a time until it holds together. You should be able to hold a handful without it disintegrating into crumbs. A few crumbly bits are okay, but it should be relatively easy to form it into a ball to roll out.

Flour your work surface and rolling pin. Toss dough onto the freshly floured surface (or, if you’re smart, onto wax paper so you can pick it up easily… definitely remembered that trick *after* I rolled it all out on the counter, oops), and roll it out until it’ll fit into your pie dish of choice. I used a deep-ish one, so I had enough crust left over for a few decorations but not for a lattice.

Gently lift crust into the pie pan, and crimp the edges so it looks nice! Prick the bottom a few times to prevent sogginess (no one wants that). I baked mine immediately—if you’re going to wait a bit, wrap the ball of it in plastic wrap and store it in the fridge, letting it come to room temperature before rolling it out.

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Blueberry Biz!

  • enough blueberries to fill your pie pan of choice. I probably had 1.5-2 c, and could have used a bit more if I’d had them.
  • squirt of lemon juice (about half a lemon’s worth, mine were Meyer lemons, hooray!)
  • 2-3 tbsp brown sugar, depending on berry sweetness
  • 1/6-1/4 c whole wheat pastry flour*

*apologies for the indefinite measurements… when I make pie filling, I usually don’t measure and taste as I go!

Preheat oven to 425, and make sure you have your prepared pie crust lurking around on hand somewhere.

Toss blueberries with lemon juice, brown sugar, and flour in a large bowl. Add blueberries into the prepared pie crust. If you have leftover crust and want to roll it out so that you have an excuse to play with cookie cutters, by all means do so! Place little pieces of crust on top of blueberries, and pop the entire thing into the oven for 15 minutes on 425, then lower the temp to 350 for another 45 minutes. Pie is done when the juices are a little bubbly and the crust is browned. I like my blueberries to have more body and be less like soup, so I took mine out at the hour mark. Let cool for a bit before slicing! Pie stores well in the fridge for the next day’s breakfast… and is reeeeally good with whipped coconut cream. Just sayin’. (I used a can of Trader Joe’s Coconut Cream, chilled it for a few hours, scraped off the cream and whipped it with an electric mixer. I added just a hint of vanilla and maple syrup).

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And one more… just because I happened to make this on Pi Day, and seriously, who doesn’t like extra pictures of pie??

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Pie and my happy place!

Once again, a long hiatus between posts. But this time I have an extremely good reason:

I was here.

happy place.

Among other things, doing some of this:

like a boss.

And a ton of this:

dock yoga!

Yes. You SHOULD be jealous. Be very, very jealous…

Because this also happened:

the best place to do yoga? I think so! I’m on the left in the ridiculous shorts… 

My tenth year at the best, most beautiful place on earth: a counselor for the best campers; laughing, goofing (can I say we pulled the most amazing prank ever?!), singing, eating pilfered brownies whilst stargazing: a group of the most diverse and amazing women I have ever met.

And I came back with sore ribs from laughing so much. Camp is wonderfully restorative—-being covered in camp dirt for ten days always gives me a refreshed perspective on life back home. Camp = love! So much love. I already can’t wait to go back for my 11th summer next year.

pieeeeee!

Anyway—I got back Wednesday night. And all I wanted was PIE. Blueberry pie, to be exact. Don’t ask, I’m not exactly sure why… I do love pie, but it’s not usually my go to (I’m guessing this has something to do with the somewhat temperamental nature of pie crust and the comparative ease of cake, as well as my laziness). I think it might have been the lack of berries up at camp or something, but sheeesh… pie definitely needed to happen. I decided to get experimental and make a teeny pie, just enough for four people (I bought a new 6″ cake pan, since mine are sadly in storage in another state…I had to break it in somehow, didn’t I?!). I also dispensed with the top crust- I like crust, but a bottom one is enough in a small pie, and I wanted to see what happened when I halved the recipe. Great success! Half the crust recipe fit perfectly into a 6 by 2″ cake pan, and left just enough for a top decoration. I wasn’t sure on bake time either, but it turned out perfectly. I think this might be the best crust I’ve ever made—I credit Carolyn McCuaig and her awesome pies for the recipe! Pie is most assuredly happening with greater frequency in the wait…are those…cookies universe, now that pie crust has decided to be a tad more cooperative.

mmm., antioxidants!

Blueberry Pie

Simple and satisfying, and tastes like summer in a bowl. Do yourself a favor, and eat it a la mode, like any self-respecting pie should be eaten (especially for breakfast). Many thanks to Carolyn McCuaig for her pie recipes :) I’ll include the full recipe here. For a pie like I made, make half the recipe and use a 6″ cake pan.

Double crust:

  • 2.25 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/3 c vegetable shortening (like Spectrum brand)
  • 1/3 c butter (preferably unsalted, although I used salted and the crust was still really good)
  • 5-6 tbsp ice water

Blueberry filling:

  • enough fresh blueberries to fill your pie dish or tin of choice
  • 1/3 – 1/2 c sugar (depending on sweetness of blueberries)
  • 1/3 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • a squirt of lemon juice (I didn’t have any, if I had, I would have added it…but it’s still fab without)
ahh, pie a la mode. Summer in a bowl.

Listen to some awesome music and get yourself in the pie groove:

Preheat the oven to 425, and (if using a cake/pie tin) grease and flour the pan. In a largish bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Cut in butter and shortening (the colder the better) until the mixture looks like cold sand. I like to use a pastry cutter for this. Add ice water a tablespoon at a time until the mixture just holds together, then pat into a flatish disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for a bit. You can roll it out right away, but dough that’s been chilling is easier to deal with. Meanwhile, toss blueberries with sugar and flour (and lemon juice, if using) to coat. When the dough has chilled (I left mine in for about 15 minutes), roll it out to 1/8″ thickness between two pieces of plastic wrap. Peel off one layer, invert dough over pie dish/tin, and press out the dough, crimping the edges as you go. Prick the bottom with a fork a few times, then toss in filling. If using a top crust, make sure to cut a few steam vents in the center.

Place the pie tin on a cookie sheet (to protect against spills), and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350, and bake for another 30 minutes (for a 6″ pie), or 40-50 for a normal sized pie, until the pastry is golden brown and the filling is bubbly. Let cool completely before cutting, to give the filling time to set up.

Eat. Love. Taste the summer and reflect on the people and places you love in life!

kind of weird with the sun, but I love how it makes the berries look.

Sweet potato pie and separation anxiety

mmm, PIE!

Ohhh my goodness. It is amazing how fast the end of the year is going… how is it already April 17th?! Thesis presentation a week from today? Oh yeeesh. BUT. My advisor approved my final draft, hooray! Which means… I’M FINISHED WITH THE THESIS BEAST! Well, at least finished with the text… minor formatting and image addition notwithstanding. 62 pages of text? Goodness. Up till now, I’d never written that much in my life! And graduation in less than a month?! Almost time to be a real person! Imagine that. Cue ridiculous upheaval, ready… go! At least I’m ready to be finished with school bizz, but definitely not ready to give up the Nerdaerie (Kira and I have been having separation anxiety!). I am excited to move onto something different though :) Onward! Second star to the right, and straight on ’till morning (Since I occasionally resemble Peter Pan, I thought this was appropriate)! I’ll just keep on truckin’ with those diamonds on the soles of my shoes.

BUT. Besides all of that business, time to focus on the present! I’m determined to enjoy my last thesis-free weeks. Staff appreciation dinner at my sorority meant an excuse to bake… so pie happened! I’m a little bored with cakes and cookies, so this was a welcome change. AND it’s healthy. Mostly. Sweet potatoes for Vitamin A and beta carotene, plus coconut for healthy fats. Not to mention cinnamon for stable blood sugar, and nutmeg and ginger for digestive support!

I can tell when I get busy, as blog posts become few and far between. My dinners of late have been economical and rather uninspiring. BUT, lucky for you, I’ve got major baking-itch. So expect to see some new and interesting things coming your way soon. I’m also aware that pantries soon should be emptied, which means I’ll be trying to use up random baking supplies. Oh drat, extra baked goods? What a bummer!

yum.

Sweet Potato-Coconut Pie with Gingersnap Crust

Make one 9″ pie. Only slightly adapted from Whole Foods, here. This pie is delicious and simple, made with stuff I seem to always have around. Besides, it’s an excellent source of Vitamin A and beta carotene from the sweet potatoes, as well as good-fat medium chain fatty acids from the coconut.

crust!

For the crust:

  • 1.25 c crushed gingersnap cookies (I used Anna’s Swedish Ginger thins, as they were easier than fatty gingersnaps to pulverize in the food processor)
  • 1/3 c shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 4 tbsp (1/2 stick) butter (mine happened to be salted), melted
gingers! hehe.

For the pie!

  • 2 mega sweet potatoes
  • 3/4 c light coconut milk
  • 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
//

Preheat the oven to 350.

Pulverize the gingersnaps by the method of your choice. I used my food processor, but I’m sure a rolling pin and a plastic bag would be just as satisfying, if you’re feeling the need to vent. Combine melted butter, gingersnap crumbs, and coconut, and stir until combined. Press this into your pie dish, evenly across the bottom and up the sides. Bake the shell for 15 minutes.

While the shell is baking, deal with the rest. Now, for the sweet potatoes: on account of laziness time constraints, I microwaved the sweet potatoes instead of roasting them. If you microwave them, poke them a few times with a fork, and stick them in for about 7-8 minutes. They should be soft to the touch when they’re done. If roasting (which I’m sure is also delicious), poke them with a fork and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake at 400 for 50 minutes. Let both methods cool before peeling the skin off and scooping out the nice orange interior.

Using a food processor (or a blender, as I did, since my food processor is teeny), puree the sweet potato flesh until smooth. Add in coconut milk, brown sugar, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt, and blitz until incorporated.

Pour the filling into the prebaked shell, and bake for 50 minutes, or until set in the center (no jiggly!). Mine was perfectly done at 50 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack, and serve or chill. (Btw, side note: this pie cuts very easily, even when slightly warm, extra bonus!).

Yum yum yum. Enjoy your antioxidants!

a convoy of Star Destroyers?