I know what you're thinking: Pie? But it's New Year's Eve and I want to lose some weight! Also I'm sick of baking!
Let me say this: many people need at least some pie, and they need it often. It's a biological fact. The great thing about sawdust pie is that a little goes a long way. Imagine your usual pie serving size. Now cut it into thirds. One of those thirds will satisfy you if you are eating sawdust pie.
LESS PIE = LESS CALORIES.
That pie is using butter as a binder, right?
NO BUTTER BINDS THE PIE.
The binder is egg whites!
Well, it's probably hard to make.
IT'S THE EASIEST, FASTEST PIE I'VE EVER MADE.
I made it while Jeff's mom regaled me with post-holiday chit chat during a surprise pop-in, Jeff's dad was bumbling around in our garage, Jeff was M.I.A., the UPS guy was banging on the door, and Bun and Quixote were engaged in a dining room battle royale. Still easy.
Question: What is sawdust pie, anyway? It's a Southern thing. It originated in Kentucky in the mid 1970s and received national recognition when it appeared in Bon Appetit in 1983. I had never heard of it until it appeared in Baked Explorations (cookbook of the year), and even then it was one of those recipes I passed over time and time again because it did not include a photo and the title was not particularly appetizing.
Sawdust? Why? Because the filling totally looks like sawdust before you add the binder. It's a brown sugar, coconut, pecan, chocolate, and oddly enough, graham cracker kind of filling. It's weird, but it works. It tastes like a combination of pecan pie, s'mores, and macaroons. No lie! It's very chewy and takes time to eat. <--Good diet consideration.
Look: you're on your own as far as the pie crust goes. Some of you buy it pre-made. Some of you have your own recipe. Some of you might want to try mine (you'll have leftover dough for emergency mini pies later on if you freeze it). This pie is so easy to make that if you use store-bought pie crust, it barely even qualifies as baking. You can use a raw crust here, as I did, but the bottom wasn't flaky. Next time I make this pie, I will partially bake the shell before filling it.
You're supposed to serve it with whipped cream and sliced bananas. I have yet to try it, but I can't imagine that sucking too much.
Give it a shot, and just try not to sing Woodstock while you're putting it together, substituting "sawdust" for "stardust."
We are saaaaaaawwwwdust, We are goooooollllllden.
- 1 (9 inch) pie shell, partially baked <--I made Mom's recipe here (scroll down). You will have leftover dough that you can use to make tartlets, a mini pie crust (Mom liked to use those foil tins that frozen pot pies come in for this purpose), or just free-form cup shapes that you can fill with whatever. You'll need to poke holes all over the bottom and sides with a fork and cover the crust with foil and even use weights like this before baking at 425 degrees for 8 minutes. Remove the foil and reduce heat to 350. I rarely have a crust that stays flat, but I don't have weights (I just use foil). Anyway, if you're in the same situation, you might want to check on the crust after removing the foil and poke it with a fork if it's puffy.
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
- 1-1/4 cups unsweetened flaked coconut
- 1-1/4 cups pecans, coarsely chopped
- 1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs, which is around 20 graham crackers (i.e. 20 squares)
- 2 ounces high-quality white chocolate, coarsely chopped (or chips)
- 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional, but do it)
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 6 egg whites
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- whipped cream for serving
- sliced bananas for serving (optional)
Do what you need to do to get a pie shell going.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, use a wooden spoon to combine the sugars, coconut, pecans, graham crackers, white chocolate and salt. AND CHOCOLATE CHIPS. Add the egg whites and vanilla and stir until just combined - the egg whites should coat all the ingredients.
Transfer the filling to the prepared pie shell. Bake until filling is set to the touch, 30 to 40 minutes. (Mine took 35.) Cool the pie for at least 1 hour before serving it warm, with whipped cream and sliced bananas, if you like.