A Lighter Blueberry Pie

Do you love a pie bursting with fresh berries, but wish you could cut back on all the fat and calories? Here’s how to create a homemade blueberry pie that doesn’t come with a side of diner’s remorse.

Tips for a Skinnier Pie
You can’t deny the healthy qualities of antioxidant-filled blueberries. They are low in calories and contain plenty of fiber. But once these low-cal berries are mixed up with sugar and sandwiched between two layers of flaky crust, the resulting pie can tip the scales at more than 450 calories and 20-plus grams of fat per slice. Add a few hundred more calories with dollops of whipped cream, or serve the pie a la mode, and it’s a real diet-buster.

You also want to consider the quality of the ingredients. Store-bought crusts are convenient, but the ingredients reveal trans fat galore and a list of preservatives. Homemade crusts call for a hefty amount of butter and shortening, often more than two sticks for one pie.

What’s a pie lover to do? Less fat, less sugar and more fruit are the keys to a skinnier pie. You certainly don’t need to skip the butter and sugar altogether (but forget the artificial sweeteners, please). Downsize the crust and make the fruit the star, such as in this recipe for a flavor-erupting Blueberry Crostata.

Blueberry Crostata
Serves 6

This rustic dessert is incredibly simple but looks professional. Use a pizza cutter to slice it into wedges.

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon sugar
6 tablespoons cold butter, diced
Ice water (about 2 tablespoons)

3 cups fresh blueberries
1/4 cup sugar
Juice and zest of 1/2 a lemon
2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 egg, beaten
Sparkling sugar (optional)

To make the crust, place flour, salt and sugar in a food processor fitted with a steel blade; pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until it is in small pieces and distributed throughout the flour. With the machine running, add ice water 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough comes together in a ball. Turn out onto a floured surface and gently form into a disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the freezer to chill for at least one hour. Once it’s chilled, roll out the dough into a 10-inch circle and place back into the fridge for an additional 20 minutes. To prepare the filling, combine blueberries, sugar, lemon juice, zest and cornstarch in a medium bowl; mix gently until berries are evenly coated and glossy.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Pour filling into the center of the dough, leaving a 2- to 3-inch border. Gently fold in the edges of the crust all along the circle. Brush crust with egg and sprinkle with sparkling sugar, if using. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, until crust is golden and filling just begins to bubble. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Per serving: Calories 265; Fat 12 g (Saturated 7 g); Cholesterol 31 mg; Sodium 97 mg; Carbohydrate 38 g; Fiber 2 g; Sugars 16 g; Protein 3 g

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition.

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