A Healthy Twist on Fruit Pie


Summer has arrived, and so has the fruit! For our family, this means making fresh fruit pies. They are so delicious! The only problem is that as much as we love our pie, it seems that we are always trying cut back on the sweets in favor of healthier dessert options. I was convinced there had to be a way for us to have our pie and eat it too! After some thinking and experimenting in the kitchen, a new recipe emerged for a healthy twist on fruit pie that everyone loves. This recipe makes a whole pie with just the filling and no crust. The idea may seem strange at first, but the result is surprisingly satisfying and gives you the same sweet, fruity experience without all the extra calories, carbs and fats.

pie with roller

This fruit pie recipe also bakes up thick and gooey like a cobbler without the topping. In fact, it can be served all sorts of ways! The kids love to have it served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and I like a healthier version by having mine with a bowl of Greek yogurt. Sometimes I bake it up as a whole pie, and other times I separate it into ramekins to make individual servings that can be topped with crunchy granola. You could even serve these fruit pies over angel food cake and whipped cream.

For this round of baking, the kids and I ventured out to get fresh, in-season strawberries and blackberries. We visited Lolich’s Family Farm on Scholls Ferry Road in Beaverton and at the Hillsboro Farmers Market. The fresh-picked fruits and produce displayed in brightly colored rows were enough to make our mouths water. And we knew the sweet, robust flavor of fresh fruit would be so much better than what the grocery stores offer during the off-season. It was well worth the trip.

When you’re ready to make fruit pie, whether you choose to venture out and pick your own, or just visit a stand and grab a few pints of berries, don’t miss this opportunity to taste the summer! I’ve simplified things by creating a master formula that you can use with any kind of fruit. You can customize it by adding up to one teaspoon of spices that pair well with the fruit you chose. For example, blueberries go great with orange zest, cinnamon and ginger while peaches taste really good with a touch of brown sugar and nutmeg.  You can use a little vanilla for strawberries, or try 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon for most other fruits.

You can also give this fruit pie a really healthy twist by reducing the amount of sugar or swapping it out with an all-natural substitute that is lower in calories. It’s really up to you! Just be sure to taste and make adjustments as you go.

The Recipe

The Master Formula
6 cups fresh fruit (rinsed, peeled, and sliced as needed)
1/4 cup Cornstarch or Tapioca flour
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon butter

Directions for Firm Fruits : 
Such as cherries, blueberries, just ripened peaches
1. Toss the fruit and dry ingredients in a large bowl to coat evenly.  (It should make a thick wet mixture)
2. Transfer the fruit to a pie plate or 6-8 small ramekins coated in cooking spray. Dot with small bits of butter on top.
3. Bake the pies at 375° until the fruit just becomes bubbly. It will be 30-45 minutes depending on fruit.
4. Let the pies cool to room temperature to firm up.

Directions for Soft Fruits 
Such as strawberries, raspberries and very ripe fruit
1. Toss the fruit and dry ingredients in a large bowl to coat evenly.  (It should make a thick wet mixture)
2. Transfer fruit to a large pot with melted butter and cook on the stove top over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the fruit just becomes bubbly. (Be careful not to overcook the fruit. The pieces will break down and turn to jam!)
3. Transfer the fruit to a pie plate or serving dish, and let it cool to room temperature to firm up before serving.