Tag Archives: pies

Namaste Baking Mixes Review and Giveaway

A while ago I was approached by Namaste Foods to review some of their gluten (plus dairy, soy, nut, corn & potato) free baking mixes. Since I had actually seen their products at one of the health food stores around here and how they are so allergy friendly, I was happy to accept! In addition, I also realize that sometimes there just isn’t time to make something from scratch, so having advice on what mixes to get is helpful!

I was encouraged to choose one sweet and one savoury mix: I chose their Pizza Crust mix and the Biscuits, Pie Crusts and More! mix.

Lately I’ve been trying to make my own pizza crusts as I don’t like paying huge amounts of money for two small crusts and I wanted vegan crusts, but with little success. The yeast crusts take too long and taste too yeasty and the non-yeast ones I’ve tried have had separation anxiety with my non-stick pan and wouldn’t stay together. So, when the opportunity to try Namaste’s pizza crust, I was quite excited. Fortunately it did not disappoint.

The mix was very easy to make – all I had to do was add water and oil, mix, spread out on a pan and bake. (Much easier than trying to wrestle to flatten pizza dough, wait for it to rise, and to struggle to cut it only to have the pizza crust taste too yeasty!) As a precautionary measure, I decided to make this crust on parchment paper so that it wouldn’t experience similar separation issues (causing me issues!) as past attempts.

The crust itself was very tasty and the added herbs were a nice touch. It cut fairly well and stayed together very well, even when it was cold! I wished that it would have risen slightly more, but the crust made a very good thin crust. I’m glad that it turned out as the mix makes two crusts! (In case you’re interested, this is what I put on the pizza: spread with tomato paste, sprinkle with italian seasonings and fresh parsley, cover with ham, spinach, thuringer sausage, peppers, onions, mushrooms, asparagus, pineapple and mozzarella cheese (optional).)

Since I’m still not eating eggs, I wanted to choose a mix that didn’t necessarily need them. Once I saw that they had a pie crust mix, I knew I wanted to try it as I believe that one of the hardest tests for gluten free baking is to make a pie crust that doesn’t fall apart immediately or doesn’t need a chain saw to cut.

Fortunately, I was very impressed with Namaste’s pie crust mix – it cut easily and didn’t crumble. The original recipe called to press the crust into the pan, but since Mr. Bean wanted a saskatoon berry pie for his birthday, I wanted to roll it out so I could have the traditional two-crust berry pie. After many frustrating attempts, I’ve found the best way to roll out pie crust is between two pieces of plastic wrap. As you can see, it rolled out very well as there were essentially no cracks in the top crust – almost unheard of in my experience with gluten free pie crusts!

I didn’t roll it out as thinly as I could have as by the end I had to exert a fair amount of pressure, hence the very large edges. Even so, I made double the recipe the mix gave me so I could have two crusts, but it made enough for about 3 pie crusts. The crust itself had a good texture – not quite as flaky as its gluten and dairy filled counterpart, but I can’t complain because it held its form very well. It was quite tasty, too – usually the pastry part of pies is my least favourite, but I found myself secretly enjoying breaking off the edges and eating it plain. Mr. Bean was also very impressed with this pie and he is looking forward to the pie I am going to make with the remaining dough!

The filling was adapted from the frozen berry pie filling from the Joy of Cooking. I didn’t quite add enough tapioca starch so the juices didn’t thicken up as much as I would have liked. It was very tasty regardless.

Saskatoon Berry Pie Filling

5 c. frozen saskatoon berries
1/2 c. sugar
4 tbsp. of tapioca starch
1 pinch salt
2 tbsp. grapeseed oil or melted butter (if desired)

  1. Preheat oven to 450F.
  2. Defrost berries only so that they all separate easily. Place berries in a large bowl.
  3. Add the sugar, tapioca starch and salt. Stir until berries are covered.
  4. Pour into the pie crust and cover with the top crust. Pinch edges of the crust together in any desired manner.
  5. Bake in the hot oven for 10 minutes.
  6. Turn the heat down to 350F and bake for 45 minutes or until crust is golden brown.
  7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before cutting.
  8. Enjoy!

Now for the giveaway!

What you will win:

Namaste Giveaway Tote
3 Namaste Foods Products
Namaste Grocery tote
Copy of our Simple Pleasures Cookbook
Copy of Living Without Magazine
Assorted recipe cards

How to win:

  • Leave a comment below

For additional entries, you can:

  • Subscribe to my blog/rss feed and leave a comment to let me know (or if you already do, just leave a comment saying that!)
  • Share this giveaway on your blog, facebook or twitter (leave a separate comment for each)

This giveaway is now closed.

This giveaway is only open to the US and Canada! Sorry to my international readers! A winner will be drawn using random.org on June 14th.

Thanks for participating and good luck!

*I received both the pizza crust and biscuits, pie crusts and more mixes as well as a grocery tote and recipe cards in exchange for this review.*

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Filed under Baking, Food

Happy Pi Day!

I realized at 4pm today that it was pi day today and that I hadn’t made any pie. Mr. Bean has always been on my case to make a banana cream pie, but I’ve always refused as all I could think about what the banana petroleum products “cream” pie that they use to pie people at engineering school. Not exactly the best example of a good tasting pie.

In Cybele Pascal’s Allergen-Free Baker’s Handbook, there is a recipe for gluten, dairy, egg and soy free banana cream pie, so I thought that I might as well give it a go. I wanted to try a pie crust that didn’t require rolling and didn’t send the blood sugar soaring, so I thought I would try Elana’s Coconut Pie Crust from her Almond Flour Cookbook. Ironically, I didn’t have all the ingredients I needed for either recipe despite a trip to the grocery store, so I improvised and changed things up a bit. This may not be the absolute healthiest banana cream pie you’ve had, but it’s pretty darn close in my opinion.

The custard/cream is tasty but the texture is a bit different. I think it’s because I used tapioca starch instead of cornstarch. Use cornstarch! I’ve used cornstarch in pumpkin pies before and it worked well.

Banana Coconut Cream Pie

Coconut Almond Pie Crust

3/4 c. almond flour
1/4 c. shredded coconut, toasted
1/2 c. coconut flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 c. coconut oil, melted over low heat
1 tbsp. agave nectar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Mix together flours, coconut, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. Whisk together coconut oil, agave nectar and vanilla extract.
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until combined.
  5. Press into a 9″ pie pan.
  6. Bake in oven for 7 – 10 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Let it cool completely on a cooling rack before filling.

Banana Coconut “Cream” Pie Filling

21 oz. coconut milk (about 1 1/3 cans – make sure you shake before you measure!)
1/4 c. + 3 tbsp. agave nectar, divided
1/4 c. + 2 tsp. corn starch (I used tapioca starch and it didn’t work as well as I would have hoped.)
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 egg replacer (1 1/2 tsp. egg replacer whisked in 2 tbsp. rice milk until frothy and no lumps remain)
3 – 4 ripe bananas, sliced thinly
Yellow food colouring (optional)

  1. Measure out 1/3 c. coconut milk and set aside. Heat the rest of the coconut milk with the 1/4 c. agave nectar in a saucepan over medium heat until bubble form on the sides of the pot. Remove from the heat.
  2. Whisk together set aside coconut milk, 3 tbsp. agave nectar, cornstarch, salt, vanilla and egg replacer. Pour into coconut milk mixture and stir to combine.
  3. Heat the mixture on medium heat until it starts to simmer, stirring constantly. Let it simmer for about 4 minutes or until it is thickened.
  4. Spread a small amount of the custard on the bottom of the pie crust. Lay one layer of bananas down.
  5. Pour about half the remaining custard over the bananas and spread evenly over bananas. Lay another layer of bananas down.
  6. Pour the remaining custard over the bananas and smooth the top.
  7. Let the pie cool until room temperature and then refrigerate until ready to serve. Make sure it’s cold before you cut so that doesn’t flomp like mine did!
  8. Enjoy!

What’s your favourite kind of pie?

Linked up to: Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Hearth and Soul Hop-Volume 39, Gluten Free Wednesdays and Seasonal Sundays.

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Pumpkin Delights Part 2

Last Monday Mr. Bean and I shared a Thanksgiving dinner with my family. I wanted to make pumpkin pie – given that it is a traditional thanksgiving food – but it had to be my family friendly. So what does that mean?

  • No Gluten
  • No Eggs
  • No Dairy
  • No Soy
  • No Cinnamon

But that’s basically what traditional pumpkin pie is made of right? Well, I guess my pie was a bit unconventional and I have to say that I couldn’t love vegans more for their my family friendly food.

Gluten, Egg, Dairy, Soy and Cinnamon Free Pumpkin Pie

Pie Crust inspired by this recipe from Whole Foods

Filling inspired by this recipe from About.com

For Crust:

1/3 cup potato starch, plus extra for dusting
1/3 cup tapioca flour
1/3 cup millet flour
1/3 cup almond meal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold lard, cut into small pieces (Note: To make this vegan, use coconut oil)
1 egg replacer
1 tsp. xathan gum

  1. Put potato starch, tapioca flour, millet flour, almond meal, salt and xathan gum into a food processor and pulse a few times to combine.
  2. Add lard and pulse again until mixture resembles a coarse meal. I used my magic bullet and it turned it into a batter because it’s too small. So use an actual food processor or a pastry blender.
  3. Add egg replacer and pulse until completely combined to make a slightly sticky dough.
  4. Turn dough out onto a large sheet of waxed paper dusted with potato starch.
  5. Sprinkle potato starch over dough and knead gently, working in enough potato starch until dough holds together without being sticky but is still pliable. (Since my dough was so sticky, I probably used at least 1/4 c.)
  6. Using your fingertips, press dough into a 10-inch circle.
  7. Invert a 9-inch pie pan on top of the dough then quickly flip over both the pan and the dough so that the dough now rests in the pan.
  8. Gently peel away and discard wax paper and press dough into pie plate, patching it together, if needed.
  9. Set aside. The recipe recommends that you cook it for 15 minutes, but I didn’t.

Pumpkin Filling

1-15 ounce can pumpkin
1 c. coconut milk – don’t shake can and use the thicker milk at the top
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. potato starch
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. ground cloves – I added too many cloves, so this amount should be good
3/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
3/4 tsp. ginger

  1. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. Add all ingredients together and mix at medium speed for 3 – 4 minutes.
  3. Pour into previously prepared pie crust and bake for 15 minutes.
  4. Turn over down to 350F and bake for another 45 – 50 minutes.
  5. Let pie cool.
  6. Once pie is cool, refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before eating.

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Who makes your favourite pumpkin pie?

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Gluten, Dairy and Egg free Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

I made this pie for Mr. Bean because he loves pie so much.I was meaning to make it with a pie mix, but I only had enough for one crust and the mix at the grocery store at whey powder in it. Both recipes are from the Joy of Cooking

Basic Pie Dough

3/4 c. Brown Rice Flour
1/4 c. White Sorghum Flour
1/2 c. Cornstarch
1/2 c. Potato Starch
1/2 c. Tapioca Starch
1 tsp. xathan gum
1 1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 c. + 3 tbsp Crisco shortening
Egg replacement for 1 egg (or if you want, use 1 large egg.)
5+ tbsp. of ice water

  1. Sift together flours and salt.
  2. Cut half of shortening into flour mixture with a pastry blender until it has the tendency of cornmeal. Cut in remaining shortening until it is pea sized. (Do NOT over cut. It makes the dough sticky and nasty.)
  3. Sprinkle dough with egg replacement and water, blending water gently with a fork until it justs holds together.
  4. Divide dough in half, shape each into a disk and roll out between two pieces of wax paper. Wax paper will save you a LOT of angst. If the dough is sticking, dust with potato flour.

Note: The crust was more crumbly than I wanted it to be. Next time, I think I will try 2 egg equivalents and more xathan gum. If you make this, let me know how it works out!

Strawberry Rhubarb Filling

1 lb. package of frozen rhubarb, thawed
1 pint strawberries, washed and halved lengthwise
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. cornstarch (more if the rhubarb is still slightly frozen.)
1/4 tsp. salt

1. Mix together above ingredients. Let stand for 15 minutes.
2. Pour mixture into bottom crust.
3. Cover with a vented top crust or a lattice.
4. Bake for 30 minutes in 425F oven, then lower the heat for 30F and bake for 25-30 minutes more until juices are thick and bubbly.
5. Cool completely on a rack.

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What is your favourite type of pie?

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