Paleo Cherry PieMy favorite pie for the holidays is a cherry pie. But since we moved to Paleo, it’s been a struggle to find a truly lovely, flaky crust. Well, look no further. My father found this recipe but it was clearly European with proper gram measurements and not enough explanation about what certain ingredients do. It was a day of cooking, let me tell you, but having experienced the final result – WAY better than I expected from the baking snafus that cropped up one after another – I am putting my stamp of approval on it. I’m tweaking it here because (a) we’re backward Americans who need more than gram measurements, (b) some ingredients need to be explained or clarified, and (c) you need to be prepared for how it may taste or smell beforehand because that is NOT how it tasted or smelled after baking.

The tapioca starch, come to find out, is integral for achieving that flaky, light texture in the crust. It is a refined starch, but if the rest of your diet is generally whole foods, Paleo, low-carb, etc., indulging in this occasionally is perfectly appropriate.

I actually did use a digital scale which was really helpful. But I’m including the American measurement equivalents that I found online here.

Makes: 10 slices

Preparation time: 50 minutes

Cooking Time: 1 hour

 

Ingredients

For the Paleo pastry:

  • 1¾ cup tapioca flour

  • ⅞ cup almond flour

  • ⅞ cup raw grass-fed unsalted butter OR ghee (substitute 100g (little less than ½ cup) coconut oil for Vegan option)

  • Pinch of Himalayan pink salt

  • 1 Tbsp. coconut sugar

  • ¼ tsp. vanilla powder (optional but yummy – it’s a mixture you can find online of vanilla extract and maltodextrin) OR 1 tsp. vanilla extract

  • Juice & pulp of 1 orange (NOTE: the original recipe doesn’t say how much, and it really should because different sized oranges give you different amounts of juice, but see corresponding step in the directions below; I’ve clarified from the original recipe)

  • 2 tsp. ice cold water

For the cherry filling:

If you’re using a proper 9″ pie plate and not the flatter tart pan specified below, I would recommend doubling the filling recipe

  • 17.5 oz sour cherries (if you cannot get sour cherries add juice 1/2 lemon)

  • ½ cup coconut sugar

  • 1 Tbsp. tapioca flour (original recipe called for two but it made the filling a bit too gummy)

  • ¼ cup Kirsch (is optional but naughty in a great way) OR Chambord

  • 1 tsp. bitter almond extract (or regular almond extract)

  • ¼ tsp. vanilla powder OR 1 tsp. vanilla extract 

  • 1 cup of erythritol or Stevia

For the egg wash:

  • 1 free-range egg (omit if you are Vegan)

  • A splash of your favourite nut milk

  • A couple of drops of bitter almond extract (or regular almond extract)

For the Paleo ‘noyau’ style cream:

  • 1 tin coconut milk (refrigerated overnight)

  • ¼ tsp. vanilla powder OR 1 tsp. vanilla extract

  • 1 Tbsp. maple syrup

  • 1 tsp. bitter almond extract (or regular almond extract)

Directions

  1. The night before place your tin of coconut milk (for the noyau cream) into the fridge and leave until needed.

STAGE 1:

  1. Firstly start on your pastry. In a small mixing bowl sieve in your flours, sugar and salt. Add your vanilla powder and mix.

  2. Chop your butter into small cubes and throw in.

  3. Cover the bowl with cling film, give it a good shake until the butter is covered by the flour OR just use a spoon to stir gentle to coat, and then place into the freezer for 20 minutes. This is what makes your pastry lovely and light and crumbly.

  4. In the meantime freshly squeeze your orange juice, removing the pulp at the same time. Pop it into the fridge to chill until needed.

STAGE 2:

  1. Remove your flour and butter bowl from the freezer and place into your food processor. Process until it comes together into small oat like sized balls.

  2. Add a little bit of the orange juice and pulp at a time, and process until it only just starts to come together as a ball. The original recipe made it sound like you add it all at once, but it was too much, and different sized oranges give you different amounts of juice.  

  3. Remove the pastry from the processor, cover in cling film and leave to chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.

STAGE 3:

  1. While you are waiting begin to prepare your cherry filling. De-stone all of your cherries.

  2. Stir in all of the ingredients for your filling, cover with clingfilm and leave in the fridge to allow the flavours to seep out into the “sauce.”

STAGE 4:

  1. Remove your dough from the fridge place back into the food processor and pulse in 2 tsp of your chilled water. Process on full speed until the dough has warmed up enough to be handled.

  2. Lightly grease a 9″ fluted edge (loose based) pie tin with some butter or coconut oil. The original recipe was NOT clear on exactly what kind of pan this was – a tart pan? a pie plate? and the picture on the website only showed it from above already filled so all I had to go on was the edging, which looked like a tart pan. But I used a pie plate and the dough WAS enough, but the filling wasn’t. So that’s why I say, if using a pie plate (ESPECIALLY a deep dish) double your filling recipe.

  3. Lightly dust your work surface and rolling pin with some tapioca flour. I strongly recommend using two sheets of cling wrap – even better than parchment at not sticking although I still had to dust liberally and often with tapioca flour.

  4. Take 1/2 of your dough and lightly roll it out until it is about 1/2″ wider than the diameter of the tin. Carefully place it into the tin or pie plate and press it down and around all of the indentations. Cut off any excess.

  5. Remove your pie filling from the fridge, give it a good stir and then pour into your pie crust. Place into the fridge.

STAGE 5:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 180C (350 F).

  2. Quickly whizz up your remaining dough in the food processor again you may want to add a tsp of water again to get it going.

  3. I just laid the whole second half of the dough over the top, like another crust, and slit some holes in it. It looked nice and rustic and not too fancy, but if you’re wanting to do a lattice read on: Roll the dough out into a rectangle that has 1″ excess around all edges from the diameter of your pie tin (i.e. 11″).

  4. Using a pairing knife or even a pizza cutter cut into 1cm-1.5cm strips. The wider the strips the easier it will be to make your lattice. Divide your strips equally by 2.

  5. Get a sheet of greaseproof paper out. Place half of your strips of dough vertically and place another at the very top leaving some excess to work with. Begin to weave it under and over until you get to the very end.

  6. Repeat the process with another piece of pastry until you have completely finished your lattice. Work as fast as you can as this dough likes to warm up, dry out and then becomes prone to breakage.

  7. Remove your pie from the fridge. Hold your pie very carefully at a diagonal angle. Get someone to hold it for you if you can. Line up your lattice and flip it over as fast and as carefully as you can so that it is placed evenly.

  8. Gently press the lattice and join it into the edges of the pie crust.

  9. If there are any breakages just carefully patch them up and don’t worry too much as once it has baked you won’t be able to see anything too serious. Cut off any excess pastry.

  10. Whisk up all of the ingredients for your egg wash and using a pastry brush wash over the lattice thoroughly.

  11. Place the pie onto a baking tray and place on the middle shelf of the oven.

  12. Cook for around an hour or until the pie filling is bubbling through right to the middle of the pie and the lattice is a beautiful golden brown. If you feel at any time that the lattice is cooking faster than the rest of the pie keep using your egg wash to prevent burning. You can also place a large cake tin over the top to almost ‘steam’ the pie if needs be.

  13. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely.

STAGE 6:

  1. Prepare your noyau cream by removing your tin of chilled coconut milk from the fridge. Open the tin, poke a hole into the creamy top layer and drain out all of the water. Scoop out all of the solid cream into a large mixing bowl.

  2. Add your remaining ingredients into the cream and whisk using large strokes to beat in as much air as possible. This will make the cream nice and fluffy and light. Once the cream forms large stiff peaks it is done!

  3. Slice your pie and warm your slice gently in the oven on a low heat. Top with your noyau cream, grab a coffee and go wild!