Getting kids to eat sufficient amounts of fruits and veggies every day can be a real challenge, especially since they’re surrounded by junk food and sugary snacks at what seems like every turn. Recent studies have even explored possibilities like having schools offer kids financial rewards for eating their fruits and veggies in an attempt to keep them from chucking their apple-a-day into the trash.
Healthy habits start at home. From my personal experience, a little creativity can go a long way when it comes to kids’ meals. We have featured several creative ideas for healthy meals for kids, and fresh fruit pies are a proven winner–at least in among my family and friends.
I substitute white flour for whole wheat to add some extra fiber and use brown sugar in reduced amounts–since fruit is naturally packed with sugar. You can also use honey or other natural sweeteners, but the main thing is to get kids to eat unprocessed fruit in any shape of form.
If you do opt for whole grain flour, I recommend rolling the dough very thin (about 1/4″) and slicing fruit into generous pieces so the pie doesn’t feel dry. If you want to add some extra moistness, add sweetened cottage or cream cheese inside the dough with raisins, enclose it into a ball and then gently roll it flat, so the cheese becomes a thin, moist layer inside the crust.
You can use any fruit of your choice and personal preference, including apples, pears, apricots, strawberries, blueberries and pineapple.
You can also roll the dough flat and add shredded or sliced fruit inside, then wrap it just like apple strudel.
Ingredients (yields two 12″ pies)
- 3.5 cups whole wheat or white all-purpose flour
- 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
- ½ cup light brown sugar plus about 1 teaspoon extra for topping
- ½ cup whole milk, warm
- 1 egg (room temperature)
- 1 oz fresh baker’s yeast (or 0.5 oz active dry yeast)
- 2 apples (or other fruit), cored and sliced into 1/8- 1/4″ flat slices including skin
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
- pinch of salt
- To a small bowl add warm milk with a pinch of sugar and dissolve yeast.
- In a large bowl combine butter, sugar, salt and egg; mix well together and gradually add flour and milk with dissolved yeast; stir together to form a soft dough. Use your hands to work the dough well.
- Cover with paper and cloth napkins and let rise in a warm place for about one hour.
- Preheat oven to 320°.
- On a floured surface, knead until smooth and elastic, then separate into two equal portions. Roll each portion to a flat pie base of about 1/4 to 1/2″ based on a desired pie thickness (thinner is better for whole wheat flour).
- Line baking pan with baking paper and place pie crusts on the paper. Place sliced fruit on top generously. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar as desired.
- Bake at 320° for about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for ten minutes before serving.
You can also freeze prepared pies in vacuum-sealed bags and bake them when desired.