Alternative Ingredients For Making Crusts

Hand, apron, flour - Alternative Ingredients For Making Crusts

A recipe that requires a crust, has an important function, as it is the foundation to countless culinary and pastry dishes. The crust is a crucial structural aspect of the particular recipe you may be preparing. Crusts impart texture, either crispy, crunchy, or flaky depending on how you prepare the crust.

chicken pot pieCan you imagine making a tart, shortbread, pie, quiche, or pot pie devoid of a crust? And how would you eat a pizza without a crust? We can’t imagine. Maybe you would have a tomato-pepperoni soup?

Crusts are important to a tart, shortbread, pie, quiche, pot pie, or pizza.

What are some alternative ingredients to making these crusts?

We know that using cold butter in a pie crust when done right, can make for a flaky crust.

Did you know that coconut oil be an alternative to butter, doing the same thing? It is still a saturated fat like butter, but a shorter chain amino fatty acid, and has some extra nutrients over butter, like minerals, and has antibacterial substances.

Coconut Oil Pie Crust

This crust using coconut oil makes a delicious, flaky pastry just as well as butter.

3/4 cup solid coconut oil

2 cups organic unbleached all purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

3 – 4 tablespoons ice cold water

Cut the coconut oil into the flour (the same you would do with cold cubed butter) and salt with pastry blender or two knives. Add the water 1 tablespoon at a time and mix well.

Roll out on floured board. Pastry is very tender and may be partially rolled around rolling pin for ease of picking up to place in pie pan (recipe from: Coconut Recipes).

How about this alternative for a quiche, rice crust.

Rice Crust
A rice crust is a great way to use up leftover rice, explains Erin McDowell at Food52. She says it’s an excellent option for savory pies, and this crust works especially well for quiches.

a woman making a rice crust in a pie dish

Image Credit: Food52

Erin explains to make a rice crust you simply mix cooled leftover steamed rice with egg whites and grated cheese, and press the mixture into a pie plate.

Par-bake the crust to help it set before filling and baking it. Watch your crust carefully to see how it browns, as you may need to lower the temperature from 425 degrees to 375 degrees if it browns too much in the early stages of baking.

How about this alternative for a pizza crust. It’s gluten-free and uses no yeast. The recipe idea is from – She Knows.

At She Knows, they say that in this recipe they used both almond and coconut flours, and the result was anything but boring. The pizza crust turned out soft, fluffy and delicious.

Gluten-Free Pizza Dough

1 cup almond flour

1/2 cup coconut flour

pizza on a table with a pizza cutter

Image credit: She Knows

1/2 cup tapioca flour (plus more for rolling the dough)

1 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp sea salt

4 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup almond milk (warmed plain, or other nondairy milk)

2 whole large eggs (organic)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F, and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

To a large mixing bowl, add the almond flour, coconut flour, tapicoca flour, garlic powder and salt.

To the flour mixture, add the olive oil, the warmed nondairy milk and the eggs. Mix very well until the dough is soft and fluffy.

Turn the dough out onto a large surface lightly dusted with extra tapioca flour.

Gently knead the dough until it is no longer sticky and can be rolled out.

Roll the dough out into the desired thickness but being careful to not make it too thin (or it will break).

Bake the pizza dough for about 15 minutes, until it’s firm and slightly golden brown.

Remove from the oven, and set aside until ready to prepare your pizza.

A pizza crust traditionally is dough, but since the food revaluation started, people like yourself are looking for healthy alternatives to pizza crust. The pizza crust replacement (made from flour) is vegetable crusts, which are becoming more popular, and eating a pizza like this is a great way to incorporate more vegetables into your diet.

How about this wonderful and tasty alternative for a shortbread or tart crust.

Peach and Cardamom Bakwell Tart

For the almond shortcrust pastry

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Peach and Cardamom Tart - Food Network uk

                                           Image credit: Food Network U.K.

1/4 cup almond flour

1/3 salted butter, frozen and grated

1 tbsp sugar

2 drops almond essence

1/4 teapoon organic cornflour

1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom seeds

1-2 tablespoons ice-cold water

Extra flour to roll the pastry

For the peach jam filling

1 ripe peach

1/2 cup sugar

For the almond cake filling

1/4 cup self-raising flour

1/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup almond flour

1/8 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp baking soda

1/3 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup milk, full fat

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1-2 drops almond essence

1-2 ripe peaches, sliced to decorate

For the cardamom mascarpone cream

8 ounces mascarpone cheese

2 tablespoons icing sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom seeds

Tips For a Great Pie Crust

These are some reminders to making a great pie crust.

Chilling the dough after preparing it makes it easier to roll out and much less likely to stick. It also resolidifies the shortening, butter or coconut oil to ensure flakiness.

parchment and dried beans placed over crustWhen rolling out the chilled dough, roll from the center to the outside edge. Use just enough flour on the rolling surface and rolling pin to keep the dough form sticking.

To bake a “blind” a raw dough crust, first chill it for 20 minutes and then fit a piece of aluminum foil or parchment paper on the inside surface. Prick both the crust and the foil or paper, to allow steam to escape and keep the crust from developing a bubble.

Fill the foil with baker weights, or dried beans to help the crust keep its shape while it blind bakes (view our post here: Blind Baking).

To store up some labor in the freezer, Make several pie shells at a time and freeze them in airtight plastic bags. They’ll keep for 6 to 8 months.

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Flatbread with Zucchini Smoked Bacon and Mascarpone Cheese

fresh from the oven Flatbread with Zucchini Smoked Bacon and Mascarpone CheeseThe recipe we are featuring is made with a smoked bacon, a “Apple-Bourbon Smoked Bacon” to be exact. Yummy!!

Have you ever thought how flavors are smoked into the bacon? According to Bacon Wikia, smoked bacon is prepared using different types of wood chips or sawdust for different flavors, such as applewood gives the bacon a mild, fruity flavor. Oak and hickory wood produces a stronger, heartier flavor.

The apple-bourbon smoked bacon is made with applewood sawdust, bourbon whiskey, and brown sugar or coconut palm sugar.

smoking bacon

Photo Credit: Bacon Wikia

Turning our attention to Bacon Wikia again, they explain how you can smoke bacon at home, and I would say it is similar on a grander scale at a smoke house.

They say, “We like to cold-smoke the meat at a low temperature over a long period of time. This ensures that you get the maximum smoke penetration and gives you a rich color on the meat. Try to keep the temperature of the smoker between 80F and 100F. When you start going above this the surface of the meat will start to seal and the smoke will no longer penetrate the meat. Smoke the meat for about 8 hours, or until you are happy with the color” (BaconWiki).

Now for our featured recipe: FlatBread with Zucchini Smoked Bacon and Mascarpone Cheese. We got our inspiration from a recipe we pinned to our Vegetable Recipe Ideas board on Pinterest (Link here to view our boards – Delectable Foods on Pinterest). But we made modifications to fit our taste. The original recipe does not include bacon, and requires a smoked paprika which we omitted. The original recipe requires to make a flatbread from scratch, but to save time we bought a ready made whole wheat flatbread from the Whole Foods Market.

Here is what you will need.

2 whole wheat flatbreads, roughly 7 3/4 inches X 10 1/4 inches

5 ounces mascarpone cheese

2 small shallot, finely minced

2 small zucchini, washed and patted dry

1/2 pound apple-bourbon smoked bacon

extra virgin olive oil

parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees

prepared uncooked Flatbread with Zucchini Smoked Bacon and Mascarpone CheeseCook bacon in a large ceramic coated skillet over medium heat. Cook bacon only until half done, about 3 to 4 minutes. remove from heat, and let cool. Using a knife or kitchen shears cut bacon into 1 inch slices.

In a medium bowl, mix the minced shallots with the mascarpone cheese. Place the flatbread on a cookie sheet, and spread the cheese mixture over the top of the bread, trying to get every square inch of the bread surface.

Next using a vegetable peeler, scatter ribbons over the top of the cheese mixture, covering the entire area. Next divide the cut bacon over the top of each flatbread.

Lightly drizzle with some olive oil, and  grate some parmesan cheese over the top. Grate as much or as little as you want.prepared uncooked close up of Flatbread with Flatbread with Zucchini Smoked Bacon and Mascarpone CheesePut the cookie sheet in the heated oven, and bake for 10 – 12 minutes, or until golden brown.

Flatbread with Zucchini Smoked Bacon and Mascarpone CheeseRemove from the oven, and let cool for 3 minutes. Move flatbreads to a cutting board, and using a pizza slicer, slice each flatbread into 4 equal pieces. Plate and serve. The preparation will serve 2 to 4 persons. Just double the recipe to make more servings.

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French Toast Fruit Roll Ups

French Toast Fruit Roll UpsAt Chef’s Talk they explain that recipes for “French Toast” can be traced back to Ancient Roman times. They go on to say that the original name for French Toast in French was “pain a la Romaine” or Roman bread (Chef Talk).

There is a collection of Roman recipes that are called Apicius. The collection was compiled in the 4th or 5th century. In reference to French toast  the “Apicus Cookery and Dinning in Imperial Rome” wrote: “Another sweet dish: Break [slice] fine white bread, crust removed, into rather large pieces which soak in milk [and beaten eggs]. Fry in oil, cover with honey and serve.”

The foods described in the Roman Cookery, lets one know about the dietary habits of the ancient Roman world around the Mediterranean Basin.

The recipes though were geared for the class of wealth, and a few recipes contain ingredients that were considered exotic foods at that time.Our featured recipe is French toast.

A recipe that is enjoyed across all classes of people today. Were not featuring ordinary French toast, and surely not compared to the French toast eaten in Ancient Roman times.

The featured recipe is: French toast Fruit Roll Ups, and here is what you will need.

4 slices of sourdough bread, crust removed

4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1/4 cup raspberries, fresh or frozen

1/2 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

2 to 3 large eggs

Real maple syrup

sourdough bread with crust cut off and rolled flatBreak eggs open in a pie dish or similar utensil, and beat eggs, set aside. Next, cut crust from bread and flatten with a rolling pin. Spread each slice of bread with cream cheese, and add fruit, and roll up bread starting from fruit side.

cooking French Toast Fruit Roll Ups in pan

Dip roll ups in egg batter and cook in a heated pan over medium heat with grass fed butter or coconut oil. Cook until done, much the same as traditional French toast.

rolling cooked French Toast Fruit Roll Ups in coconut sugarWhen cooked, remove roll up from pan, and roll in coconut sugar.

French toast Fruit Roll Ups - close upPlate two roll ups, and top with fruit and real maple syrup.

Link here to view our other recipes of French Toast:

  1. Apple-Berry Topped French Toast (made with apple syrup)
  2. Breaded Coconut French Toast

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National Strawberry Ice Cream Day 2015

National Strawberry Ice Cream Day 2015

Today, January 15, 2015 is National Strawberry Ice Cream Day (USA).

Ice cream is a frozen food usually made from dairy products, such as milk and cream and often combined with fruits or other ingredients and flavors.

Ancient civilizations have served ice for cold foods for thousands of years. Around 200 B.C the Chinese served a frozen mixture of milk and rice. During Nero’s time of ruling over the Roman Emperor (37–68 AD) he had ice brought from the mountains and had it mixed it with fruit.

Introduction of Ice Cream to Europe

In Europe the first recipe for flavored ices appears in France around 1674, and made its appearance to England in the 18th century. In 1718 in England’s capital, London, was published a book titled “Mrs. Mary Eales’s Receipts” which contained an ice cream recipe.

Ice Cream…A New Find in the New World

In the “New World” (USA) ice cream sodas was first introduced in 1874 and by the late 19th century the ice cream sundae came to be. During the American Prohibition (US outlawed the making and serving of any alcohol) the ice cream parlor to some extent replaced the outlawed bars and saloons.

In 1851, in the city Boston, the first commercial factory was built for the production of ice cream.

Eating Ice Cream To Your Hearts Delight

Americans are the number one consumers of ice cream, an average person living in the USA eats 48 pints of ice cream a year. In 2011 the total amount of ice cream consumed in the United States was 1.58 billion gallons.

To make one gallon of ice cream, it requires 192 ounces of milk. Dairy cows produce about 1024 ounces of milk in a day (about 128 8 oz. glasses of milk). That means, if we have calculated appropriately, one dairy cow makes approximately 5.5 gallons of ice cream every day.

Being Thankful for Ice Cream

Let’s give thanks to the cow for ice cream. Really without them, we would not have ice cream, nor would January 15th each year in the United States, be National Strawberry Ice cream Day.

For those of you who are adventurous and would like to make homemade ice cream, here is a recipe we found on food.com by Elizabeth Knicely.

The recipe calls for fresh strawberries. But if you are unable to find fresh ones at your local market, frozen will work as will.

Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream

3 cups fresh ripe strawberries, stemmed and sliced

4 tablespoons lemon juice

1 1⁄2 cups sugar

1 1⁄2 cups whole milk

2 3⁄4 cups heavy cream

1 1⁄2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Combine strawberries, lemon juice, and 1/2 cup of sugar in a bowl and stir. Allow to sit for up to 2 hours.

Strain berries and reserve the juices.

Puree half the berries.

In a medium bowl mix milk and remaining sugar until sugar is dissolved. Stir in heavy cream, leftover juice from the berry mixture, vanilla, and mashed strawberries.

Turn on Ice Cream Machine and pour mixture into the frozen freezer bowl for about 20 minutes.

Add the rest of the strawberries and mix for another 5 minutes.

A NOTE FROM Elizabeth Knicely…

The ice cream will be very soft and creamy. We transferred ours to a container and stuck it in the freezer for about an hour to thicken it up a little the way we like it.

I am looking forward to trying out some other new ice cream recipes now that I see just how easy it is to do! In fact, I have a container of blueberries in the kitchen that I think would be great in ice cream too!

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