Saturday, June 23, 2012

It's Pie Time!

 A rainy May and a warm June mean another bumper crop of raspberries at Casa de Tightwad. If you are similarly blessed with more berries than you can reasonably eat in a day, I have tinkered with my family's favorite raspberry pie recipe (usually referred to simply as "The Pie") to make it free of grains, dairy and sugar. 

Don't be daunted by the length of the recipe; it is assembled from 3 components,  each of which is simple to make, but I have included several options, so it only appears complicated until you read through it.

 The crust is  based on a recipe by the perennially fabulous Durga Fuller. Her inspiring website is

 The first cooked filling option is more expensive, but if you will be serving only a piece or two at a time, or need the pie to be picture perfect, this is the one to make. The konjac version is 50 times cheaper, and is perfect if you will be serving the entire pie at once, but it will start to ooze a bit after about 20 minutes.

 Feel free to improvise with adding flavors; try adding a couple of tablespoons of balsamic vinegar to the cooked filling, some almond extract or grated ginger to the Crust Protector, or whatever you think might make it your new favorite. My Mom thought that it would be good as squares (though it would still need to be served on a plate, as the crust is a bit streusel-y). I'd love to hear about any customizations you make to it!

 You can also make the pie with other types of berries. For the cooked part, blueberries would need to be closer to 3 cups, mashed, and strawberries need to be pureed, or augmented with a little liquid.

The biggest variable is the stevia. I don't have much of a sweet tooth, and use stevia more to counter the tartness of the berries and the bitterness of the chocolate. If you like things sweeter, use a little more (see my note about stevia at the end of the directions).


Primal-Friendly Raspberry Pie


2 cups almond flour
¼ cup coconut oil
10 drops stevia juice*
Pinch of coarse salt

Crust Protector

¼ cup coconut cream**
2 oz. (by weight) coconut oil OR unsweetened chocolate (this option may require an additional 1-2 Tbsp. coconut cream for better spreadability) OR food-grade cocoa butter
½ tsp. alcohol-free vanilla extract
3 drops stevia juice*


2 cups fresh, whole raspberries

Cooked Option 1

2½ cups mashed raspberries (fresh or previously frozen)
1 tsp. Pomona’s Universal Pectin
1 tsp. calcium water (calcium and instructions included in the package of pectin)
18 drops stevia juice*

Cooked Option 2

2½ cups mashed raspberries (fresh or previously frozen)
1¼ tsp. konjac/glucomannan***
18 drops stevia juice*


To make the crust: Mix all the ingredients together in a food processor. Turn out into a 9” pie pan and press with your fingertips until the mixture is evenly distributed in the bottom and sides of the pan.
Bake at 350 for 12 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature while preparing other pie components.

To make the Crust Protector: Measure coconut oil, chocolate or cocoa butter in small mixing bowl (if using chocolate or cocoa butter, chop or shave into small pieces). Heat coconut cream over low/medium heat (stirring to keep it from doing that crazy, gurgly popping thing) to just under the boil. Pour hot coconut cream over fat of choice, stirring occasionally until fat is melted. Add stevia juice and vanilla, stir again and allow to cool down to tepid/room temperature.

When crust has cooled down, pour Crust Protector over the entire bottom (if using coconut oil, you may need to do one last stir to make sure that all of the ingredients are completely incorporated). Using a spatula or your clean fingertips, spread Crust Protector evenly onto surface of crust, including as much of the sides as possible. Place in refrigerator to cool.

To make the filling:

Option 1:
Place 2½ cups mashed raspberries in a small saucepan. Add 1 tsp. calcium water, and stir well.

Bring 3 oz. water to a boil and pour into blender. Add 1 tsp. pectin and blend until thoroughly dissolved , 1-2 minutes.

Bring raspberries to a boil. Remove from heat. Add pectin mixture and stir well. Add stevia and stir again. Bring back to a boil, stirring a couple of times to keep raspberries from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 30-60 minutes.

Option 2:
Place 2 ½ cups mashed raspberries and stevia  juice in a small saucepan. Very gradually add konjac/glucomannan powder, stirring constantly. Cook over medium heat until significantly thickened (5-7 minutes). Allow to cool a bit (15-20 minutes).

To assemble pie: Remove crust (coated with Crust Protector) from refrigerator. Arrange fresh, whole berries in a single layer over the bottom surface of crust. Pour cooked filling evenly over the fresh berries, spreading with a spatula if necessary to make sure that most of the fresh berries are covered.

Refrigerate until cooked filling is set. Serve plain or with coconut cream that has been whipped with a little stevia and vanilla extract.

* A note about stevia: I tested this recipe using Stevita brand stevia juice. Because stevia varies widely in sweetness from brand to brand, if you aren’t using Stevita, your results will vary accordingly. For best results, start with a very small amount and keep adding a little bit at a time until the sweetness is right where you want it. Be careful! You can always add more, but once you’ve added too much, you can’t remove it.

**Coconut cream can be puchased in a can from Asian grocery stores, or you can put a can of coconut milk in the refrigerator for an hour or two and spoon off the cooled cream that has risen to the top (use the rest of the milk in a smoothie or curry). Make sure not to get Cream of Coconut, which is sweetened and is generally used for making Pina Coladas.

***Konjac powder can be purchased from It is also sold in capsules as Glucomannan, and can be found at many stores that sell nutritional supplements.

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