Friday, November 30, 2012

Mixed Nut Pie with Natural Pie Crust

     I was craving for pecan pie some days ago. I have seen it sold in an upscale supermarket here in the Netherlands, but I couldn't be bothered to go around hunting for it. My love for pecan pie started when I was in Singapore. My parents and I would sometimes go to a barbecue/grill restaurant not far from our home. On the dessert menu, there was pecan pie with ice cream. Since I tried it the first time, I have gone back to that restaurant just to have the dessert.
      However pecan pie, or any dessert pie, is often an unhealthy affair with the use of high-fructose corn syrup, sugar, and butter for the crust and filling. Since I couldn't be bothered to hunt for a shop that sells pecan pie here, I raided my kitchen for ingredients and came up with a healthier mixed nut pie complete with a good-for-you pie crust. Both the pie crust and the filling are adaptations of recipes that I found online. The pie crust is naturally sweetened. I used mixed nuts instead of pecans for the pie filling because that's all I had in my kitchen, but feel free to use whatever nuts you like (except peanuts, that just doesn't work very well).

     Surprisingly, my husband enjoyed this nut pie. I never thought that he would like it. He took a bite and I swear he said "OH YEAH! This is gooooood! Yeah!" When I told him that the photo of the pie was disappointing and I was wondering if I should post the photo and recipe here, he said that hopefully the readers don't judge by the photo.

      This photo of the nut pie may not look very appetising. I blame the poor natural winter lighting for the less than satisfactory picture. But hey, look beyond the bad picture and give this pie a try. Don't knock it till you try it!

      I made this in a mini-springform pan that is 6" in diameter. It made a nut pie that is about an inch-thick. You can double the recipe for a bigger or thicker pie. You can even make this in an appropriately sized loaf tin. 

      The crust is an adaptation of a recipe from, which is a pretty amazing website. The pie filling is one that is posted on and I liked the fact that there's no corn syrup in it.

Natural Pie Crust
makes one 6" pie base

1/4 cup almonds
1/4 cup desiccated coconut
4 small dates, pitted
2 TBSP dried cranberries
1 to 2 TBSP water

1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Line and grease the base of a springform pan.
2. Place all the ingredients, EXCEPT WATER, in a food processor or the dry mill of your blender.
3. Blend until everything is the texture of coarse breadcrumbs.
4. SLOWLY add a little water to the mixture to make a thick paste.
5. Spoon the paste out into the prepared pan and use a spatula or your fingers to press the paste evenly onto the bottom of the pan.
6. Bake in the preheated for 10 minutes, then remove pan from oven and leave to cool.

Mixed Nut Pie Filling
makes one 6" pie

1 egg
40g light margarine or butter, melted
(I used Flora Light)
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
2 TBSP self-raising flour
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup nuts, broken 
(almonds, macadamia, walnuts, pecans etc)

1. Preheat oven to 190°C
2. Beat the egg till foamy, then add the melted margarine.
3. Lightly whisk in the brown sugar and the flour.
4. Lastly, add the vanilla extract and stir the nuts in.
5. Pour into springform pan and bake at 190°C for 10 minutes, then drop the heat down to 175°C and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes.
6. Remove from oven and leave to cool before removing the pie form the pan.

* The pie should have risen and look puffy and brown. It will sink as it cools.
If you are doubling the recipe, add 10 minutes to the baking time.


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