Can She Make a Healthy Pie, Billy Boy, Billy Boy?

cherry-pit-this-one

[Click here for the music.]
Oh, where have you been,
Billy Boy, Billy Boy?
Oh, where have you been,
Charming Billy?
I have been to seek a wife,
She’s the joy of my life,
She’s a young thing
And cannot leave her mother.

Can she make a cherry pie,
Billy Boy, Billy Boy?
Can she make a cherry pie,
Charming Billy?
She can make a cherry pie,
Quick as a cat can wink an eye,
She’s a young thing
And cannot leave her mother.

Every time I think about, crave or eat cherry pie, the traditional folk song “Billy Boy” comes to mind. It’s one of those nursery rhyme-type songs that Aunt Dot used to sing to “Billy,” my husband, each time he scampered through the house.

Last Sunday, in the bleak mid-winter, I was craving cherry pie made with sour cherries which obviously are not in season. To the rescue is Trader Joe’s deep purple Morello cherries, imported from Germany. Here’s a healthy pie – Billy Boy, Billy Boy – made with whole wheat flour and sour cherries resulting in a filling that is not overcome with a heavy sugary cornstarch filling. Besides, a pie like this one is great for breakfast – fruit and a whole wheat crust.

[Healthy] Cherry Pie [Billy Boy, Billy Boy]
Use jarred Morello cherries when you can’ t get fresh. They retain their tart flavor and meaty texture. Do not use canned cherry pie filling. 

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch salt
  • 4 cups Morello cherries (2 12-oz. jars of Trader Joe’s brand)
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 double-crust pie dough (recipe below)

Heat oven to 500 degrees and adjust oven rack to the bottom rack. Place a rimmed cookie sheet on the rack.

Mix the sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and salt. Stir in the cherries and the almond extract.

Spread the filling in the unbaked pie crust bottom. Place top pie crust over cherries, seal and crimp the edges and make four air slices. Sprinkle with a tablespoon of sugar.

Place the pie on the heated baking sheet and lower oven temperature to 425 degrees. Bake for 25 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet, lower oven temperature to 375 degrees and bake for about 35 minutes until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly.morello-cherries

Coconut Oil/Whole Wheat Pie Crust
Makes enough for one 9-inch pie crust. Double the recipe for a top and bottom crust.

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4-7 tablespoon water, cold

Whisk together flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Rub in coconut oil with your fingertips or use a hand mixer on low speed. Using a fork, stir in cold water until dough almost comes together into a ball. Add water gradually, a tablespoon or two at a time. Press dough into a ball, divide in half, and wrap in plastic. Chill for at least one hour.

When ready to use, let the dough come to room temperature (coconut oil hardens firmer than butter). Use flour on the surface to prevent sticking when rolling it.

Now, start singing!

Motivated by Coconut Oil Piecrust and Saving Money

It’s not a snazzy title but I had a hard time coming up with a title to let you know what I’m up to today. I’m going with two concepts:

  1. I love pie. All kinds, all flavors – cream pies, fruit pies, nut pies, you name it. I am tempted to buy them at the farmer’s market, the gourmet store, and at the local farm. But paying anywhere around $15 or more for a pie goes against my grain when I know I can make one for a fraction of the cost and maybe even make it better. (My family loves pie too so it’s worth making one.)
  2. I’ve had a jar of coconut oil in my pantry. Why? Because Melanie (a blog reader and contributor) tells me coconut oil is good for you and falls in the allowable foods of a Paleo diet which a lot of people follow these days for good health reasons.
    Some of coconut oil’s claims are improving brain function, lowering cholesterol, preventing obesity and heart disease, and more. WebMD says there aren’t enough clinical trials to support the claims. But, whatever the claims, I like to try new things so I bought a jar at Trader Joe’s months ago and it has been beckoning. Since then, I’ve found out coconut oil is readily available, even Costco carries it in a large jar at a good price.

Today’s Mission

I wanted to make a delicious apple pie at a fraction of the cost of buying one and use coconut oil as a healthy alternative to other oils. The result was a flaky delicious pie crust with my twist on a typical filling.

And, oh…working with the coconut oil… was heavenlywhat a lovely smell…the dough was so soft, smooth and perfectly pliable in my hands. There is one caveat to working with coconut oil dough. As with all pie crusts, you must chill the dough so the gluten can do its thing. However, coconut oil chills very hard so you have to bring it to room temperature to be able to work with it and bring it back to its pliable self. I resorted to zapping the dough for 15 seconds in the microwave. The dough was a tad temperamental, but not impossible, to roll out, and the result was worth it.

Whether you use coconut oil or not, try my recipe for the filling. It’s all good. I must admit, health benefits or not, the coconut oil pie crust was flaky, delicious, and maybe the best I’ve ever made.

Coconut Oil Pie Crust
Makes enough for one 9-inch pie crust. Double the recipe for a top and bottom crust.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, room temperature
  • 4-7 tablespoon water, cold

 DIRECTIONS

Whisk together flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Rub in coconut oil with your fingertips or use a hand mixer on low speed. Using a fork, stir in cold water until dough almost comes together into a ball. Add water gradually, a tablespoon or two at a time. Press dough into a ball, divide in half, and wrap in plastic. Chill for at least one hour.

When ready to use, let the dough come to room temperature. Use flour on the surface to prevent sticking when rolling it.

Apple Pie Filling
The filling has an extra little something.

INGREDIENTS

  • 5 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced thinly
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cups chopped nuts, optional
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • Egg white, lightly beaten
  • Cinnamon sugar, about 1 tablespoon of sugar mixed with a sprinkle of cinnamon

DIRECTIONS

Combine 1 cup sugar with cinnamon and toss with sliced apples and set aside.

Mix brown sugar, flour and melted butter until crumbly and set aside. (Add nuts to this mixture if you choose.)

Roll out one half of the pie crust and place bottom crust in a 9-inch pie pan.

Put one-half of the apples in the pie pan.

Top with brown sugar, flour and butter mixture.

Put the rest of the apples in the pie pan.

Top with the other half of the rolled crust, pinch the crust to seal. Poke a few holes or slits in the top crust.

Brush top crust with lightly-beaten egg whites and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

Bake in 375⁰ oven for about 55-60 minutes.