Sometimes nothing but a slice of pie will do the trick of transporting you to your grandmother's sweet-smelling kitchen, where baking pies from scratch was a task she always took the time to do. Most health-conscious people shy away from indulging in pie because they know the crust alone can pack loads of calories and fat—mostly the saturated and trans-fatty kinds from animal products like lard and butter. But, it only takes a few tweaks to traditional recipes to make them healthier.
If you take the time to make your own pies from scratch, swap the butter or shortening in grandma's pie crust recipe for more heart-healthy oil, such as canola. Control the sodium in the sauce for your chicken pot pie by making your own chicken broth. Use lower-fat and lower-calorie ingredients, such as fat-free half and half, to mimic the texture and mouthfeel of the heavy cream found in most traditional chicken pot pie recipes. Use an egg white, instead of the entire egg, in the egg wash you use to brown the crust to reduce the pie's overall calories and fat. Omit the butter most apple pie recipes advise you dot on top of the apples before adding the top layer of pie crust. Below are two slimmed-down versions of traditional American comfort food classics: chicken pot pie and apple pie.
Butter-Free Pie Crust Recipe
Ingredients1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup oil (canola, avocado, coconut, depending on your preference and usage)
3 tablespoons soy or skim milk
Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Whisk oil and milk in a separate bowl, and add to flour mixture. Stir with fork until large clumps form. Press mixture into a ball, and flatten into a 5- to 6-inch disk. Place dough between two sheets of parchment paper, and store in refrigerator until ready to use. When ready to use, peel dough off parchment paper and set on floured surface. Add a bit of flour to a rolling pin and roll dough to desired shape and thickness. Press dough into pie pan. Makes enough crust for one 9-inch pie pan (not a double-crust pie).