Healthier and Allergy Friendly Pie Tips

Healthier Pies

If you simply need to eat healthier, here are a few easy fixes to try:

For Crusts:

1.  Swap the white flour in the crust for whole wheat.  100% whole wheat has a higher fiber content, but you can also use white whole wheat if you want something closer to white flour.  Since 100% whole wheat flour is denser than white, you should use about 1/4 cup less in your recipe.

2.  Swap out the butter or shortening with coconut oil, which is actually a solid, not a liquid as the name implies.  It’s considered a healthier fat than butter and shortening.

3.  Make a crust using a liquid healthy oil as opposed to a solid fat.  A general recipe:  1 1/3 cup flour, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/3 cup oil, 3 tbsp “milk”.  I have used safflower oil, grapeseed oil, canola oil, etc… and almond milk, soy milk, and rice milk — all to success.

4. Substitute part of the flour in the recipe with a nut flour, coconut flour or soy flour.  You can substitute up to half of the flour with  a nut flour, about 1/4 of the flour with coconut flour, and up to 1/3 of the flour with soy flour.

For Fillings:

1.  Use Agave or Stevia or Coconut sugar in place of the sugar in the recipe.  For every cup of sugar use about half of any of these substitutes.  If you use the Agave and it’s simply a couple of tablespoons to 1/4 cup, don’t worry about it being a liquid.  If you’re using a cup or more, though, decrease any other liquid by at least 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup or increase a flour ingredient by 1/4 to 1/2 cup.

2.  Swap out any “whole” milk product (milk, yogurt, cream cheese, etc….) for a lower fat, lower sodium variety.

3.  Substitute egg whites for any whole eggs.  If you’re worried about the texture of a certain type of pie like pecan pie, use half whole eggs and half egg whites.

4.  Use date molasses instead of regular molasses.  You can use the same amount of date molasses as regular molasses.

Allergen Friendly Pies

If you need to substitute traditional ingredients, here are a few things you can try:

For Pie Crusts:

1.  Make a gluten free crust instead of a wheat flour type.  There are tons of recipes online you can follow.  Companies like Bob’s Red Mill also have their own pie crust mixes which you just add water to and roll out.  HINT:  These always need slightly more water than the instructions indicate, though, and you’re best rolling them out between wax paper.

2.  Substitute water or your type of “milk” (soy, rice, almond, coconut, etc…) for any milk in a crust recipe.

3.  Substitute vegan butter or coconut oil for any butter called for in a recipe.

4.  Use a recipe that calls for a liquid oil as opposed to butter so you can use safflower, canola, grapeseed, walnut, pumpkin, etc… oils instead.   A general recipe:  1 1/3 cup flour, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/3 cup oil, 3 tbsp “milk”.

For Fillings:

1.  Substitute vanilla soy milk for evaporated milk.  1 1/2 cups is equal to those 12 oz cans usually called for in a pumpkin pie recipe.

2.  Substitute vegan butter or a liquid oil or coconut oil for any butter called for in a recipe.  If you’re making a fruit pie that calls for “dotting with butter”, you can just omit the butter altogether and still have a tasty pie.

3.  Use a gluten free flour like garbanzo bean instead of a wheat flour.

4.  Make your own dairy free sweetened condensed milk.  This recipe only works for a pie that is going to be baked:  Beat 2 eggs until thick.  Add 1 cup brown sugar and mix well.  Add 1 tsp vanilla and mix well.  Add 2 tbsp of a flour and beat for one minute.  Add 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/4 tsp salt.  Beat for another minute.  Set aside until you need to add it to your recipe.  This is equivalent to one 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk.

You can also try making homemade sweetened condensed milk by mixing about 2 1/2 cups of your type of “milk” (rice, nut, coconut, soy) with 8 tbsp sugar or agave.  Stir well and simmer over low heat until the “milk” has reduced and thickened.  This will take a couple of hours.  Keep the heat low and stir frequently.  When it’s thickened, you can add 1/8 tsp of salt and/or 1/2 tsp vanilla, if you’d like.  Put a clear plastic wrap up against the mixture before cooling in the fridge to prevent a “skin” from forming.

5.  Use a frozen non-dairy dessert to replace the vanilla ice cream as a topping.

6.  Make a dairy free whipped cream.  Chill a can of full fat coconut milk overnight.  Turn the can upside down and drained out the liquid.  Put the cold cream into a cold mixing bowl and whip into it’s light and fluffy.

7.  Make a soy cream:  Mix one pint soy creamer, 1/2 cup soy sour cream, 1/4 cup Agave, 2 tablespoons cornstarch, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.  Cook over low heat until it thickens, stirring constantly.  Remove from the heat and add 2 teaspoons vanilla.  Scrape into a heat safe bowl and press plastic wrap directly against the cream to prevent a “skin” from forming.  Cool in the fridge.  Before serving, whisk the cream to make it lighter and fluffier.

8.  Substitute eggs with 1 tbsp ground flaxseed meal mixed with 3 tbsp water for every egg needed in the recipe.  Simply mix up the meal with the water and let it sit for at least five minutes to thicken to an egglike consistency.


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