Friday, June 26, 2009

100-Mile Desserts: Custard & Berry Pie

Last week a local 100-Mile Diet Challenge was started in our community. Two of our community naturopaths (from the Healing Path Centre for Natural Medicine in uptown Waterloo) are heading up the challenge, inviting 100 people to eat 100-mile diet for 100 days. So far more than 160 people have already signed up! There are various slight exceptions, but for the most part participants are attempting to support only local farmers and producers for this duration. The hope is to learn more about the great food varieties in season for us locally, to build a sense of momentum around local eating which will hopefully encourage new food sources and suppliers to become available, and to become a little less reliant on the long-distance transported food system.

More info about this local 100-Mile Diet Challenge at:

We already pretty much eat a local seasonal diet, and love seeking out local farmers and producers, and supporting restaurants that feature local foods on their menu. However, my husband cringed at the thought of not having his daily morning coffee, and although he doesn't mind the odd cup of herbal tea, or even dandelion-chickory root brew I suggested, he decided that coffee would be his "exception" as long as it was fair trade and organic. Fortunately, there is a good selection of 100-Mile wine available, not to mention apple cider and other locally made fruit juices, and we are growing hops in the hopes of trying to make our own beer from scratch this fall.

I am not a coffee drinker, but do like my desserts. The thought of no sugar or chocolate for 100 days seemed a bit daunting, but then again it would probably do me good to reduce my dependence on these two items! I decided I will go without both, and will make it my goal to compile 100-mile dessert recipes during this time. We are a region rich in dairy, and there are several excellent locally made sources for organic yogurt, cream, icecream, butter, milk and of course eggs available. I am also excited about all the seasonal berries, local fruit, wild herbs & edibles (like rosehips & wild grapes), wild-harvested abandoned fruit, edible flowers, locally grown nuts, maple syrup and honey available to us, and will be posting weekly 100-mile dessert recipes on this blog along with photos of the desserts we create & sample here at home! To find a quick complete list of all the recipes just do a search in this blog under "100-mile desserts". I will only list general sources for ingredients, and more specific names of farms can be found on our region's Buy Local map, through Bailey's Local Foods, or at the local farmer's markets.

Here is the first recipe, which we savoured on our picnic blanket outside in the garden:

Custard & Berry Pie

Pie Crust:
1 1/2 cups organic spelt or wheat flour (e.g. Oak Manor)
1/2 tsp salt (e.g. Sifto salt which comes from near Goderich)
1/2 cup chilled butter
3-4 Tbsp ice water

1) Mix all ingredients in food processor. This makes a soft ball of dough.
2) Chill for 30 minutes.
3) Roll out and spread into a large pie dish.
4) Pre-bake for 5 minutes at 350F.

Custard Filling:
4 organic eggs (various good local sources, or your from your own backyard hens)
1/2 cup maple syrup (e.g. sources at Kitchener Farmer's Market)
4 Tbsp organic flour (e.g. Oak Manor)
1 3/4 cups organic milk
2 Tbsp organic butter

Plus 2 pints fresh seasonal berries or fruit (we are using strawberries right now).

1) Preheat oven to 350F.
2) Whisk eggs, syrup and flour together. Add other ingredients and blend well.
3) Pour into pre-baked pie crust. Bake for 40 minutes.
4) Cool pie completely. Then cover with fruit or berries in concentric circles.
5) This pie is not very sweet - the sweetness comes from the fruit ontop. It can be garnished with local whipped cream (sweetened with honey) or fresh mint sprigs.

Serves 10.

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