Happy summer! We started our summer off with a fundraiser. The school’s band sold pies at one of the municipal band concerts. TQ has a serious sweet tooth, even with fructose malabsorption. I thought he would grow out of it because all things sweet cause him sickness, not so. Working the pie booth might have been torture for the little man. He loves pie! (of course he hasn’t had any in years) In my effort to stop him from drooling, I promised to make him a pie for himself. The gluten free, sugar free, summer blueberry peach pie was my effort.
Baking the pie
I have to confess, I was not optimistic about making a gluten free, sugar free pie. But, I was willing to at least give it a shot and maybe I’d learn a few thing along the way. I made it easy on myself to start, I found a pre-made gluten free crust at the store – winning! Fruit and fructose malabsorption don’t obviously go hand in hand so the challenge was big to find an acceptable filling. I chose blueberries because I know TQ tolerates them well. Peaches are ok too, but they are new to his diet. Portion control was really going to be an issue and because of all of the fruit in the recipe, there was no way I could add more sugar to the pie party.
Recently, I was lucky enough to receive a sample of a new sugar substitute called Sola. It is made from stevia, monk fruit among other natural sweeteners. The company boasts that it measures and can be used like sugar without any other calculations or additions like the pure stevia powder. So, this seemed like a good opportunity to try this sugar substitute since the fruit was already providing the limit of fructose TQ should have. Added bonus is Sola is very low in calories and has a low glycemic index – good for all of us!
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Back to the pie
I decided to precook the peach filling a bit prior to baking the pie. Because I don’t have too much experience with baking gluten free pie, I couldn’t be sure how the crust would bake up. In a sauce pan the peaches, lemon, sugar substitute, cornstarch and cinnamon were added. I put the flame on medium and cooked until the fruit broke down a little and juices were released and thickened slightly. I did add about a 1/4 cup of extra water as the sauce was a little too thick. Taste the fruit and adjust the sweetness if necessary.
Meanwhile, the bottom crust was unwrapped and pressed into the pie plate. I added the peaches into the waiting pie crust. Next, I topped the peaches with the blueberries. I didn’t want to precook the blueberries because they would have turned the entire pie purple. Brush a little egg wash over the edges of the bottom crust to seal the two crusts. Finally, the top crust was unwrapped and topped the fruit. So far, so good!
The edges of the pie needed to be crimped and sealed, nothing fancy here. I used my thumb and forefinger to make a fluted edge, but you can use a fork as well. Seriously, who is going to care when a fresh pie is being served. Lastly, paint an egg wash over the top of the pie to make it brown up nicely. I sprinkled the Sola sugar alternative over the top to make it extra pretty and sparkly. Vent the pie with 4 or 5 slits on top.
I recommend baking the pie on a foil lined baking tray. Believe me, it will save you a lot of work later, should the pie bubble over. Bake for 10 minutes at 450, then reduce the heat to 350 and bake at least another 30 minutes until you see the juices bubbling over the top and the crust is a gorgeous golden brown. Tip: halfway through the baking process my pie edges were getting a little extra brown so I covered it with thin strips of foil.
Allow the pie to cool before slicing and enjoying. One of the things I was most curious about was how the pie would hold up as leftovers. I am very happy to report that it lasted at least 4 days without turning into a pile of gelatinous mush. TQ was able to eat this in very small slivers with an otherwise strict diet day. That made me most excited! I froze two or three of the remaining pieces to see how it would thaw out. It would be nice to have a special ready made dessert in the freezer for special occasions. I will report back on whether that was a success or not.
Side note: The Sola sugar alternative worked out nicely. It provided a pretty browned pie crust along with the egg wash. In addition, it provided just the right amount of sweetness to the fruit. No fructose, low calorie, good taste, easy measuring – Winner! I will continue to experiment with this sweetener and report back.