ALMOND HAZELNUT HOLIDAY PIE

A new take on an American classic – Pecan Pie looses to the pecans!  And don’t be mislead by that buttery crust – there is no gluten and no dairy!

Cooking for my dessert-loving no-nonsense husband and my dessert-loving no-substitutions  father has been a challenge recently because I’m cooking also for my dessert-loving mother who can’t digest wheat or dairy.  Such a challenge has opened a door to the discovery of new ingredients, or simply, different ways to use well-known ingredients.

This pie or tart crust recipe is much like a pâte sablée or shortcrust pastry.  It it buttery (coconut buttery) and crumbly, just as a good crust should be.  I like it as much as the best wheat flour and butter pastry dough I have tasted.

I am not very snobbish about finding recipes.  Good ideas can come from almost anywhere, even the lowly product label. The basic recipe for the filling of the pie came from the label of the “Golden Eagle Syrup” found deep in my parent’s cupboard.  Golden Eagle Syrup is a product from Alabama, a blend of corn syrup, cane sugar syrup, cane molasses, and pure honey. If you can’t find it, use half corn syrup and half honey.

A forkfull has been known to please even the most anti-gluten-free of palates.

This gluten-free piece of goodness is easy as a slice of pie, but tastes like you have been hovering over a copper saucepan watching sugar slowly caramelize all afternoon. Roasted almonds and hazelnuts with dark chocolate bits in caramel fill each bite.

Recipe for Almond Hazelnut Holiday Pie:

Note: You can use a regular crust recipe if you prefer. Try a pâte brisée. Otherwise this gluten-free crust is great as well.

For the gluten-free crust:

150 g cornstarch (preferably from non-gmo corn)
50 g corn or rice flour (ditto)
50 g powdered sugar
large pinch of salt
150 g coconut butter (coconut oil) which is a white solid
3-4 tablespoons cold water
1 egg
a pastry dough cutter (because coconut butter melts too quickly if you use your fingers)

The process is slightly different from traditional shortcrust pastry in that you really can’t mix with your hands in the beginning, and you roll out the dough before chilling it.

Mix together the cornstarch, corn flour, powdered sugar and salt.  Cut the coconut butter into small pieces and add to the flour. Using the pastry cutter, mix it with the flour using a chopping motion until all the flour is mixed with the coconut butter, but not so much that the coconut butter is completely mixed. The dough should have a sandy consitency.

Add the cold water and an egg. Mix together using your hands, just until the dough looks uniform.

Roll out and press into a tart pan, making nice edges. Chill.

For the almond hazelnut filling:

3 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup Golden Eagle Syrup (or your own mixture of honey and corn syrup)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons melted coconut butter
1 cup lightly roasted almonds
1 cup lightly roasted hazelnuts
1 cup coarsly chopped dark good-quality chocolate

To roast your almonds and hazelnuts if they are raw, place on a cookie sheet and cook for 8 to 10 minutes at 350°F or 180°C. They should just start to take on color in the center. Allow to cool.

Pre-cook the pie crust in the lower part of the oven for about 10 minutes at 360°F or 190°C. Use baking beans if you have them, or else simply flatten the crust before filling if air bubbles pop up.

Lightly beat the eggs. Add the sugar, syrup, salt, and melted coconut butter. Don’t beat too much, or you will add too much air and your pie will rise and fall like a soufflé!

Spread the nuts and chocolate into the slightly pre-cooked pie crust and pour the filling over them. Bake for about 45 minutes at 350°F (180°C).

Allow to cool before serving. This pie cuts best if it is chilled before slicing.

A rich winter dessert to finish off a festive or lighter meal!

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3 comments

  1. It looks very nice, I love nuts…I wonder if I could do a version without the crust….

  2. Monica,

    Thanks for sharing this! It looks delicious. I have the same problem as your mom. I’ll be trying this out! Merry Christmas!

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