Thursday, December 15, 2011

Pie of Life's Seasonings

I used to joke I was the childhood victim of pie crust abuse. My sisters and I spent childhood time standing around the table, watching Mother bake. Our mother had learned about pies from watching her sister Thelma. By the time I was nine, Mother decided my crust was good enough to make quantity batches for the Rotarian's at the church. Her committee cooked every 4 weeks. I made so much pie crust for Rotary I thought I always made all the crust, but my sister Patricia thinks she made all of it. So, I'm thinking we both possibly have some inaccurate memories.

Neither college nor work as a child welfare supervisor required pie crust skills. Pie lessons have given memories, life skills, and served me well in life. They taught me deadlines, quality control, comforting others, taking joy in a job well done, and lessons of family. We learned camaraderie in the kitchen with each other and started out learning how to handle pie crust by playing with scraps of dough, while making cinnamon sugar pinwheels. We learned handling it too long would make it tough. Pie crust has been one of the many things that gave my life shape and form.

Although fruit and cream pies were my favorites as a child, now I yet again tweak life to go low fat with my quiche. When I was young I sought sweeter things in life. With age, I've realized life has more seasonings than just sugar to make it rich beyond belief. Today, Mother and I continue the tradition of cooking together in a Senior Adult food ministry at church. Pie is still popular. Like life, pie can be versatile, but pie can be a constant that shows our family and friends we love and nourish them.  

I wrote the above essay to submit to Where Women Cook, in order to participate in their pie essay contest, "PIEOGRAPHY, The Story of Your Life". The following is my version of a Lower Fat Quiche, as the essay contest also requires an original recipe. I've been making this so long before my pre-nonfat life, that it wasn't much trouble to convert to low fat. I've spent hours in the supermarket perfecting my new hobby of reading labels and trying to de-fat my refrigerator and cabinets. I need to clarify that I didn't play around with the shortening in the pie crust, but I was able to come up with such a low fat version of the filling, that it still has quite a bit less fat from regular quiche, in spite of still having the regular amount of shortening. I haven't been cooking non-fat very long and wasn't ready to just totally throw out the fat from pie crust. After all, that is what helps keep the pie crust together. Maybe after I've been cooking non-fat and low fat longer, I can figure out a way around the shortening in a pie crust. For now though, I'm staying old school on my pie crust. I know that you can substitute applesauce for the fat in brownies and cakes, but somehow that didn't sound like such a good idea for pie crust. 

Ingredients for a Single Pie Crust
(Double if you want to make a 2 crust pie or 2 quiche) (approx 18.6 grams per slice pie/cut in 6 pieces)
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup shortening
Approximately 2 - 3 tablespoons ice water (this amount will vary due to a variety of conditions: how hard the wheat was the flour was made from, the humidity, the precision you measured the flour with)

Pie Crust Directions:
Sift flour and salt together. Using a pastry blender, cut in shortening quickly to the size of peas. You are just trying to coat small pea sized pieces of the shortening with a coating of flour. Don't wear it out and keep working with it. As soon as the fat is cut in, start adding the ice water only a tablespoon at a time, because the amount of water is not an exact science and you will need a different amount each time you make pie crust. Add just enough water so that it holds together into a ball in order to roll it out to use. Let dough set for about 15 minutes.

To roll out dough, lightly flour the pastry board and the rolling pin. This is one of the keys to rolling out pie crust that does not stick. Keep moving the dough around and flip it back and forth top and bottom, so you don't get it all rolled out and discover it is glued to the pastry board.  My pastry board is nothing fancy, it's just the piece the carpenter cut out of the Formica that was cut out for the sink when we remodeled our first house years ago, after our house fire. That's one reason I like to use it, I'm reminded of how far I've come since overcoming the house fire.

Fold the pie crust in fourths and lay in the pie pan. Unfold and adjust. I like to fold and crimp my edges around the top, but that's just my personal preference. Do not poke any holes in this crust. It is not that kind of single crust. You are now ready for the filling.

Preheat oven at 350 degrees while you begin assembling the quiche. 

Filling for Lower Fat Quiche
1 regular egg (This adds 5 grams fat.)
1 cup egg substitute ( 0 grams fat, yeah!)
1/2 cup non fat milk  ( 0 grams, again)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder (or chopped fresh onion, which I was out of)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon or nutmeg (I know, this sounds odd, but try it once, it's a good touch)
3 slices (3" wide) Low Fat Canadian Bacon, (1.5 grams)
3 wedges of Laughing Cow cheese, (Mozzarella with Sun Dried Tomatoes)  6 fat grams for 3 wedges
1/2 cup grated no-fat cheese (0 grams, again, oh yeah!)
If wished, additional grated no-fat cheese to garnish top when quiche is removed from hot oven.

Lightly beat the egg, stir in the egg substitute and non fat milk. You could leave out the egg and go totally egg substitute, but I thought I'd like to use one real egg. In my imagination, this was to bind it better. This doesn't add a significant amount of fat, per slice.
Arrange 3 slices of chopped low fat Canadian bacon on the bottom. Take the 3 packages of Laughing Cow cheese wedges and dot slices of it around on top of the Canadian bacon. I used the Mozzarella with Sun Dried Tomatoes, which I thought was a good choice. Then sprinkle the 1/2 cup of no fat cheddar cheese on top of everything. Pour the beaten egg substitute mixture over the crust, Canadian bacon, cheese mixture.
Bake at 350 degrees from 30 to 45 minutes, or until eggs are firm. 

Other additions: sliced mushrooms and tomatoes are probably our very favorite combo, I just happened to be out of both at this time. When you live a 50 mile round trip from the big supermarket, you kind of get out of the habit of running to the store for every little thing. 
I also like spinach or brocolli. Laughing Cow makes some Swiss cheese wedges that combine mighty fine with the vegetables. 
If you live in a city, you probably have a lot more options on low fat/no fat. Out here in the middle of nowhere, it's a little more complicated. 

Estimated fat grams for the total recipe with this combination of ingredients: From the best I was able to determine, the fat grams for a regular single crust are about 18.66 grams for 1/6 of the pie (112 grams for entire pie). The above filling ingredients are a total of 12.5 grams, making a total of 124.5grams of fat for the entire pie, crust and all. Cut into 6 pieces, this would be 20.75 grams fat per slice!....or 28 grams if cut into 4 pieces. Although this sounds high, when compared to regular high fat quiche, making it without regard for fat, it would make the fat grams jump drastically. Using 5 whole eggs, would bring egg fat gramsto a total of at least 25 grams. Plus, just 4 oz. of cheese would be a whopping 36 grams, 1/2 cup whole milk has 4.1 grams fat. That has the total pie up to 177 fat grams, and that doesn't even take into account adding some regular bacon to it. So, without any meat protein, that would be 29.5 grams per serving if the pie was cut into 6 slices, or a whopping 44.25 grams if cut into 4 pieces. Adding just 3 slices of crumbled regular bacon would add another 40 grams of fat to the pie, making an entire quiche 217 grams, making it 36 grams for 1/6th of a pie, or 64 grams each when cut into 4 pieces. Yes, I believe I can make the lower fat work for me!  Notes on cooking with no-fat grated cheese: I am less than enamored with no-fat cheese, but it does help keep the fat grams down. One flaw of no-fat grated cheese is that it tends to not really melt. 

Notes on crust: although it may sound like I'm a pie crust purist, there are appropriate times for the packaged pie crust rolls available in your local dairy case. For those of you that are pie crust challenged, they are a blessing. For those of us in a hurry, they're just plain helpful. Really, a big chunk of the population wouldn't know a homemade crust if it reached up and bit them. If your filling tastes good, it will make that bought pie crust taste even better. Life is too short to spend all your time cooking. Relax and go spend some time with those people at your house. Or, if they're all gone, read a book or do some crafts. Or maybe you just need to sit and meditate. Heavens knows, this world could use some more calmness. 

No comments:

Post a Comment