Springtime brings a bounty of new crops, many of which are irresistible. Berries are just one of the varieties in abundance. Their bright, bold colors, and their natural sweetness are better than candy! Whether you are eating them by the handful, incorporating them into a healthy breakfast, or preparing a dessert, you can’t go wrong.
And of course there is rhubarb. I am always surprised at how many people tell me they have never tried rhubarb. I guess it can be somewhat intimidating if you are unfamiliar with it. But once you try it, you will see just how delicious and friendly it really is. Rhubarb on its own can be bitter or tart. Most people load it up with sugar when using it in a dessert. But I have found that you can use rhubarb in a fairly healthy way, without all of the sugar.
One trick is to pair it with some fruit that is ripe and naturally sweet. Of course we all know of the ever popular strawberry rhubarb pie. But there is another berry that stands up to the competition. Raspberries are a winner when combined with rhubarb to make a delicious pie! I have found that this yummy combination only requires about 1/3 cup of sweetener. I prefer using maple syrup, but coconut sugar, date sugar, or whichever sweetener you enjoy will also work just fine. Of course if you have a major sweet tooth, you can increase your sugar usage. But before you do, consider that a scoop of ice cream or some coconut whip cream will go great with a slice of pie. Both of these options are excellent companions for this dessert and will also provide a sweetness of their own.
I have chosen to make a vegan and paleo friendly crust using the lattice method. The dough for the crust is a little trickier to work with when weaving the lattice. Putting the dough into the refrigerator to harden really helps when working with it. But it also makes it stiff, so you cannot just simply flip the dough strips to create a lattice look like regular dough. It ends up becoming more of a “lift up and slide through” kind of deal. You will find that the dough strips may crack along the way. No worries though. You can easily repair that with an “egg wash” or “vegan version”. Brush the crust after you create the lattice appearnace with either of these two methods and you will be able to smooth and repair the crust before it goes into the oven.
Another option for the top of the pie is to simply sprinkle a crumble on top. So you would just create a bottom crust, pour in the filling, and sprinkle the top with a crumble mixture. Whichever way you choose, you will love this dessert as it brings a wonderful introduction to spring!
2 cups almond or cashew flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup maple syrup
3 Tbs coconut oil, solid form
1 tsp vanilla extract
**Multiply this by two for a top and bottom crust
Crumble option for top of pie:
1 cup almond flour
1 cup cashew flour
1/2 cup slivered or chopped almonds (or pecans)
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cardamom
2 Tbs maple syrup
1/4 cup cold grass-fed butter or solid coconut oil (vegan/dairy-free)
3 cups diced rhubarb
3 cups fresh raspberries
1/3 cup coconut sugar, date sugar, or maple syrup (you can increase the sweetener up to 1/2 cup if you prefer a sweeter tasting pie)
2 Tbs arrowroot starch
1 Tbs cinnamon
1 tsp cardamom
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
*Optional- 2 Tbs butter (vegan or grass-fed)
** Optional for crust: 1 egg white + 1 Tbs water, whisked (use for brushing top of crust)
For vegan option: mix 2 Tbs non-dairy milk (such as almond or coconut milk) with 1 Tbs maple
syrup. Brush over the crust just like you would for the egg wash.
1) Place all of the pie crust ingredients into your food processor and pulse to combine. It should form a large dough ball. Repeat if making a top crust as well. Put dough in refrigerator for an hour or so to firm up. It’s much easier to work with. You can even make the dough a couple of days in advance.
2) If you plan on making a lattice crust for the top, remove one of your dough balls from the refrigerator and use a rolling pin to roll it out about 1/4 inch thick. Slice the dough into strips using a pizza cutter or sharp knife. The strips should be about 3/4 inch in width. Place the strips back into the refrigerator to firm up again. If you are using the crumble mixture, combine all of the ingredients, except for the butter or coconut oil. after they are mixed together, add the butter or coconut oil and use your hands to incorporate it thoroughly.
3) Take the other dough ball out, roll out 1/4 inch thick, and place into your greased pie dish. Gently press down evenly on the bottom and up the sides. Place in refrigerator while you prep the filling.
4) Preheat oven to 350°F. Dice rhubarb into 1/2 inch cubes. Place in a large mixing bowl. Add 3 cups fresh raspberries, 2 Tbs arrowroot, sweetener of choice, and lemon juice. Gently toss.
5) Place the mixture into your prepared pie dish. Break up the butter into small chunks and sprinkle over the filling mixture if you are using the butter option. Remove the dough strips from the fridge and using the lattice method, arrange the strips on the top of the pie. Keep in mind, you will need to pinch the strips together when cracking occurs, and it will! Nut flour mixtures are not very pliable. Just be patient, you will get it! It helps to brush the strips with the egg white mixture (or vegan version) and mold the strips in one piece. If you are using the crumble option, sprinkle the crumble mixture on top of the filling and bake.
6) Place the pie into the oven and bake for about 1 hour. Check the pie after about 30 minutes. If the top crust is browning, tent some foil over the top to keep it from burning. Allow the pie to cool. Slice and pair it with a scoop of ice cream and/or a dollop of coconut whip. So yummy!