Making Healthy Pastry
If you are trying to keep your temple sacred and only place healthy food at its altar, then I completely understand the shriek I just heard when you see that this is what I am calling “healthy.” Yes of course this healthy pastry is like any other is made of 3 things: flour, water and fat. However….this flour is the best I could find in that it is wholewheat (nothing has been processed out); it is organic and it is responsibly grown and produced. The fat is mostly greek yogurt with a small amount of butter, but I don’t have a problem with butter anyway, and no water is necessary here, an important point which will be revealed below.
A common problem when trying to eat healthily is to simply banish entire groups of food. I get that, but a pie is actually a really useful thing. You can fill a good base with just about anything, sweet or savoury. It’s lovely sitting at a table with a salad or maybe some green veg, and it’s brilliant to take on a picnic as it is a portable meal.
It is usually thought that pastry must be handled with reverence and only the high priests and priestesses must perform this ritual. I say no. This healthy pastry option is really easy to make and there’s no mystery or special practises needed. Also, there’s no guess work. Normally you would have to judge how much water to add so as to bring the pastry together, this recipe works, so just use the given quantities and you’ll be OK. I recommend you weigh and measure everything though. I do.
Makes enough for 1 pie
23cm (9”) pie dish. Best is non stick.
150g (6 oz) wholewheat flour
75g (3 oz) butter
3 tbsp full fat plain or greek yogurt
1 tsp salt
Special note…insider tip….in a non specialist pastry, the fat is always half the weight of the flour. Easy to remember. The Greek yogurt here replaces the water and makes for a softer crust.
I use my food processor but you could do this with your hands or pastry cutting tool, or 2 knives. Just place all the ingredients together and blitz until your dough has the appearance of mine above. You don’t want a perfect blend as those little bits of butter are what create the pockets of “lightness” when the pastry cooks.
When you have blitzed just enough to mix, stop the food processor and bring the dough together into a ball and place on a floured surface.
Roll out the dough big enough for the pie dish. Pick up the dish and hover it over as a guide if you are unsure. I use butter to liberally grease the pie dish, especially if it isn’t the non stick variety. Using the rolling pin as an aid, by partially rolling the circle on to it, as in the photo above, lift the dough onto the pie dish. Fit the shape of the dish, and using a regular knife, cut off the excess as in the photo below. Do not discard the bits.
Cut small strips off the excess bits and place a layer behind the top ridge of the pastry as in the photo below. Sometimes you might need to use a bit of water from your finger dipped into a nearby glass, but I don’t with this particular pastry.
Using the technique you see below, create the crimped looked to seal the 2 layers together. This is not critical to the success of the pie, but gives a nice and pretty edge to it.
All that remains is to fill with your choice of flavours and bake. A good moderate temperature to use is 180ºC (350ºF). The pie below is “Spinach and ricotta pie with wholesome pastry”