Rhubarb pie 1 year later

july, 7th 2014

Ok, after this post I change subject, otherwise it looks like I cook nothing but pies! 🙂 But I cannot avoid publishing this pie because it is a healthier version of the rhubarb pie of last year. Basically I make a rhubarb pie per year. And this because I receive an organic package every week, otherwise I would not make this one pie either! But since this rhubarb fell into my hands, I thought to use it for one of mine usual experiments. The guinea pigs: the Singelding’s customers, a summer kiosk close to our house, selling cakes and biscuits cooked by some “volunteer” from the neighborhood :-).

Unlike the previous version, this pie is made of “half whole wheat flower” as we call it in Italian (“gebuild meel” in dutch, “soft wheat flower” in english) and almond flower for a 25-30%. This second one has a double function: to lower the glycemix index of the flower and replace the butter. Almonds contain in fact lots of fats – good omega-3 fats – and for this reason confer softness to the dough. By using them you can actually avoid using animal fats in cakes or pies. I did not dare to push it so far, also because the cake was meant for a public expecting an “old-fashioned” pie. Instead of butter, however, I used ghee, commonly used by the Ayurvedic cooking. Ghee is actually butter deprived of water and casein. This means that it is composed by 100% of animal fats, mostly saturated. These have a very short chain and therefore can be much easier assimilated by our body than normal butter. Removing the casein also means removing the part of the lactose, the milk sugar responsible for allergies, inflammation and for increasing the level of sugar in our blood. This makes it suitable also for people who are intolerant to dairy products. In Ayurvedic cooking, ghee is even considered healthy if used in combination to a predominantly plant-based diet. In my opinion, animal fats remain animal fats and because of this they should be reduced as much as possible, especially if you have been affected by breast cancer. And, honestly, considering the result obtained with this pie, I can imagine I could have omitted also this small bit of ghee. Soon I’ll test also the pastry without animal fats and I’ll let you know.
Last but not least, instead of cane sugar (which I discovered has no advantages in relatio to white sugar…) I used organic coconut sugar, or “Bali ‘s Gulamerah”, as they call it where it is produced. This is the secretion of flowers of a coconut palm tree (Cocos nucifera) which is grown in a non-intensive way in Bali, and that has nothing to do with the much-discussed palm trees from which oil is extracted. This sugar is unrefined, it has a caramel-like taste, it is rich in potassium and zinc, has a reduced content of sucrose and it has a low glycemic index (35). By using it you prevent blood sugar peaks, particularly damaging to our health.
The only disadvantage to this cake is… the costs! These ingredients, a bit alternative and very much healthy, are also… very expensive! I made a calculation of what this cake costed me: 15 euro’s without counting the electricity and the time I spent making it. If I would like to sell it… well… I should ask at least 30 euro’s for it! But is there anyone willing to pay so much for a pie? No idea.
In short, this pie is meant for home production and, anyway, it costs a fortune. My first reaction after the calculation was: I cannot afford such a cake! Then I thought about it and I came to this conclusion: that if we nourish ourselves with natural and organic products according to the possibilities given by our wallet, we actually eat in a way which is more balanced with our way of life. Indeed… why should we think that cakes or biscuits are things we can afford every day? Cakes are meant for special occasions and if you eat them only when you make them yourself, and not when you buy them at the supermarket, you do not eat them every day, because you don’t have the time to make them! 🙂 I am not saying anything new: we should eat less and better quality things. But what I understood recently is that if we “go back to the kitchen” is much easier to find a rhythm that is in tune with our sedentary lifestyle. Sugar, butter, dairy products are no good for the modern man who can easily supply himself of food by clicking a mouse instead of shoveling earth! Our parents (not to mention our grandparents) almost never ate sweet things when they were children. My mom’s candies was pan fried orange peel! Therefore, is it really necessary to give candies or sweets every day to our children? I am convinced it is not necessary. Fresh fruit, such as blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and dried fruits have become our sweets. The kids love them and I, since I stopped buying refined foods from the supermarket, I learned to appreciate them again.
I am not saying that everyone should do what we do, but I feel like recommending it on the base of my own experience. And if you really feel like eating a cake, then ok, give in, but make a pie like this one every two weeks rather than buying once a week at the supermarket. You will please your body next to your wallet :-).


Ingredients, for the base:
250 g soft wheat flower or half whole grain/ gebuild meel (piu’ un po’ per la spianatoia)
100 g almond flower / amandelmeel
175 g organic coconut sugar / kokosbloesemsuiker
50 g ghee
2 eggs / eiren
lemmon zest / citroen schil
1 spoon of yeast / lepel gist

Ingredients, for the filling:
300 g rhubarb / rabarber
30 g raisins / rozijnen
30 g amaretti (italian dry bitter cookies, the most famous come from Saronno/ italiaanse droge bitterkoekjes, de meest beroemde komen uit Saronno)
5 spoons maple syrup / lepels ahornsiroop
half glass marsala wine / halve glas marsala wijn
cinnamon as needed / kaneel zo nodig


With regard to the preparation, the steps are similar to those of the previous post because the procedure is basically the same, with some minor variations.

.Process the coconut sugar in a blender in order to transform it into a “brown icing sugar”
.Pour the 2 different flowers on the wooden plank and start to incorporate the ghee just taken out of the fridge with your hands. When the butter is incorporated you can add the “brown icing sugar”, the lemon zest and the yeast.
.Incorporate the eggs and work the pastry quickly until it gets into a soft and smooth ball (if necessary add some water)
.Wrap the pastry into plastic and let it rest into the refrigerator for half an hour.

.In the meantime you can cut the rhubarb in pieces; stir fry it in a pan with the maple syrup.
.After2-3 minutes you can add the marsala wine; then let it cook until the rhubarb gets to a jam consistency.
.Turn off the fire, sprinkle with cinnamon and add the raisins and mix everything.

.Remove the pastry from the refrigerator and start rolling it out using plenty of flower on both sides.
.Wrap the dough gently around the rolling pin and lay it on the baking tin.
. Pour the filling distributing it evenly.
. Remove the excess dough from the baking tin, re-knead it and make some strips to lay in two directions perpendicular to each other.
. Stir edges on the decorative strips and bake it at 180 degrees for about half an hour.



time 1 hour preparation and 30 minutes cooking time

difficulty medium

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