Sunday, February 20, 2011

Low-carb and gluten-free strawberry icebox pie



I first saw this recipe on one of my favourite television cooking shows: Cook's Country, a companion show to the excellent America's Test Kitchen. Both shows air on PBS. If you love to cook, you need to watch these shows! While not all recipes are suitable for low-carb, the tips and tricks are well worth the investment in time. There are also companion magazines that offer the recipes in print form: Cook's Illustrated (for the America's Test Kitchen show) and Cook's Country (for the Cook's Country show).

On a rerun episode last fall, Cook's Country featured a recipe for an strawberry icebox pie. It looked easy and fresh-tasting! Best of all, I immediately saw that it was very simple to convert this to sugar-free, low-carb and gluten-free by substituting the sugar for Splenda and replacing the traditional pie crust with one made with almond flour (can also substitute pecan meal).

There was also a topping recipe, but I didn't make it. I will include the low-carb'd version here, however, if you decide you'd like to try it.

First things first... the crust!

Crust:

- Pre-heat oven to 375
- 1.5 cups almond flour (pecan meal would work equally as well)
- 1 tsp cardamom (optional)
- 4 tbsp melted butter
- 4 tbsp sugar substitute (I used granular Splenda)

Combine ingredients for crust and press into the bottom of a pie plate. Bake for 8-10 minutes until fragrant and beginning to brown. Once the crust is done, you can turn off the oven because you won't be needing it again for this recipe.

STEP ONE: Cook the filling.

- 2 lb frozen strawberries

STEP TWO: Add the gelatin mixture.

- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp unflavoured gelatin (be sure to measure this)
- 1 cup sugar equivalent (I used liquid sucralose, but one cup of granular Splenda is perfectly fine here)
- Pinch of salt

STEP THREE: Stir in the fresh berries.

- 1 lb fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced thin

1. COOK FROZEN BERRIES: Cook frozen berries in large saucepan over medium-low heat until berries begin to release juice, about three minutes. Increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring frequently, until thick and jam-like, about 25 minutes. VERY IMPORTANT: You need two cups of this mixture -- no more, no less. If you have extra at the end of 25 minutes, put it aside and eat it as a snack later. After measuring out two cups of the cooked strawberry mixture, put it back into the pot after putting the extra mixture aside. You should now have exactly two cups of the mixture in the pot. Leave off the heat while you prepare the gelatin mixture.

2. ADD GELATIN: Combine lemon juice, water, and gelatin in small bowl. Let stand until gelatin is softened and mixture has thickened, about five minutes. Stir gelatin mixture, sugar substitute and salt into cooked berry mixture and return to simmer, about two minutes. Transfer to bowl and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

3. ADD FRESH BERRIES Fold fresh berries into filling. Spread evenly in pie shell and refrigerate until set, about four hours. (Filled pie can be refrigerated for 24 hours.)

OPTIONAL TOPPING:

- 4 oz. (by weight) cream cheese, softened
- 3 tbsp sugar substitute (i.e. granulated or liquid Splenda)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup heavy cream

With electric mixer on medium speed, beat cream cheese, sugar substitute and vanilla until smooth, about 30 seconds. With mixer running, add cream and whip until stiff peaks form, about two minutes. Serve pie with whipped cream topping.

Enjoy!

Atkins Diet Recipes: Low-carb strawberry rhubarb crisp