We all love a pie, however, the problem with pie is that it isn’t exactly what you would call a “health” food because pastry is full of wheat, saturated fats and calories and can contribute to weight gain, increased cholesterol levels and high blood pressure. This blog is about enjoying pie but in a healthier way. I wanted to share some tips with you that will hopefully help you to enjoy healthier pie….
So let’s start with the pastry
1. Make it yourself – pastry needs flour, fat, salt and water – simple! The shop bought pastry, whilst very convenient, has an ingredients list of “Wheat Flour (contains Calcium Carbonate, Niacin, Iron, Thiamine), Margarine (Vegetable Oil (Palm Rapeseed in varying proportions),Water, Salt, Emulsifier: Mono- and Diglycerides of Fatty Acids), Water, Salt, Lemon Juice, Potassium Sorbate“.
2. Switch the flour from a white to a wholemeal variety for added fibre and nutrients or even replace some of it with a nut flour such as almond flour – this will add a nutty texture and flavour and up the quantity of “good stuff”
3. Use butter not margarine as it has less chemicals and replace a small amount of the butter with an equivalent amount of coconut butter or thick natural yoghurt. The coconut butter adds essentials fats and the yoghurt reduces the saturated fats but does not alter the overall consistency of the pastry
4. Make pies that have a reduced amount of pastry in them – try having just a pastry top or bottom or, if you have a pastry bottom and need a lid then try just having a lattice pattern on the top
5. Alternatively using a filo pastry is great as this type of pastry is much less calorific
And onto the Filling
1. If you are doing a fruit based pie or tart resist adding sugars to sweeten it. Try using spices to complement the flavour – rhubarb and ginger work well as does apple and cinnamon. Get into the habit of experimenting rather than ladling in the caster sugar!
2. For a savoury filling get good quality cuts of lean meats, pad it out with vegetables, reduce the cream sauces and pack it full of herbs to add a depth of flavour to it
And other tips to enjoy pie the healthier way
1. Have a slightly smaller slice – you get all the enjoyment but not as much baddies. Serve with lots of green vegetables and dry roasted root vegetables to add bulk to the meal
2. Exercise on a day that you plan to eat pie – exercise can help burn the calories you’ve eaten to reduce the amount of fat stored