There is a whole class of foods that I am avoiding in my crusade to be ‘healthy’, and sadly it’s one of the most important food groups to me. I’m talking about pies, quiches, and other delicious foods delivered in a flaky and tender pastry crust. I’ve learned to fear the use of white flour and rebel against the large amounts of fat, which both make a crust so wonderfully good.
Is it possible to find crust alternatives which also taste like something other than cardboard?
I’ve been following the healthy crust quest of Helen from Food Stories as she experiments with vegetable-based crusts, one using carrots and another using beets. It can be difficult to formulate a crust when omitting oil, but it’s not impossible. I’m eager to see what she tries next.
Recently, I made a quiche using a polenta crust and found that this worked well. My instructions for how to make polenta will give you the basic info on making the polenta. To boost it with more flavor, you can add herbs, grated parmesan or even use a vegetable broth as the liquid when preparing the polenta.
Once the polenta begins to cool and set, use your hands to press it into a pie plate or tart pan. Create a crust that is at least 1/4″ thick. I pre-bake the crust for about 10 minutes before filling with my quiche ingredients. Proceed with baking the quiche as normal.
The crust remains firm and holds the ingredients well. As the quiche cools, you can easily remove it if using a tart pan with a removable bottom.
You can also use mashed potatoes in a similar way, however I suspect it won’t create a strong crust that that will hold its shape. But, it does offer another alternative :-)