Loquat trees typically grow in mild temperature climates and full sun, and the fruits, which grow in clusters, become ripe in late winter and early spring. If these trees are growing anywhere near you, do NOT let the fruit go to waste! Loquats are in the same family as apples and pears with a similarly tangy, sweet flavor. They are high in anti-oxidants, vitamin A, dietary fiber, potassium, iron and manganese and have been used in Chinese medicine as an expectorant, to soothe the throat, and to ease digestive problems. Source
My sweet friends Sheila and Tom have a loquat tree growing in their backyard that has never produced fruit until a couple of weeks ago. In fact, not knowing what type of tree it was, Sheila wanted to cut it down last year. I’m so glad she didn’t! When the tree recently began producing small green fruits for the first time, Sheila decided to do some research and discovered that it was a loquat tree and that the fruits are not only edible, they’re considered a super-fruit! Now, she and Tom have been bringing large bags of the loquat fruit to work each day! Which means I have been taking them home to experiment (Thanks guys!)
But this proved to be a bit of a challenge. Your typical pastry consists of flour, sugar, milk, butter, shortening, and/or eggs. Since I try to avoid all of these ingredients, I had to come up with a recipe for an easy, gluten-free, dairy-free pie crust (easy is just always better). Aside from the pie crusts I use in my raw pies (such as the Cacao-licious Pie), I’ve never made a bakeable gluten-free, dairy-free crust before and I must admit that I was a little wary at first. But, as it turns out, the recipe I decided to use (below) is not only extremely easy to make, it’s delicious, AND healthy, too! Honestly, what more could you ask for?! Here is a picture of the crust in my mini pie dish before the filling had been added:
A little rough around the edges, but it’ll do.
And now here is a picture of the final product:
Mmmm…just makes me drool. I have to admit, my first experience with loquats and with this gluten-free, dairy-free pie crust recipe has made me excited to use them both again soon! I’m completely hooked! I hope you enjoy, too!
- ***For the Pie Crust:
- ¾ cup almond flour
- 2 Tbs. coconut oil, melted
- 1 Tbs. honey (substitute maple syrup to make it vegan)
- pinch of salt
- ***For the Filling:
- 1½ cups loquats, rinsed, deseeded and sliced (You can remove the skins or leave them on; I chose to leave them on)
- ½ cup water
- 3 tsp. almond flour
- 1 Tbs. honey
- ¼ tsp. cinnamon
- pinch or two of all spice
- pinch of salt
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
- First, simmer the loquats in ½ cup of water over low heat for about 30 minutes to soften the loquats
- To make the crust, combine the ingredients in a bowl and whisk together. Once the mixture begins to stick, I find it’s best to use your hands to continue working the ingredients together. When the mixture becomes pliable enough to form into a ball, you can place the dough in the fridge for about 30 minutes to allow it to harden (though I find this isn’t necessary), or you can begin pressing the dough into your pie dish/tart pan. I find it’s best to bake the crust for about 5 minutes first to allow it to brown and harden a little before adding the filling.
- While the loquats are still simmering, combine the 3 tsp. almond flour, honey, all spice, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl and whisk together until fully combined. Once the loquats have simmered for 30 minutes, you are ready to add this spice mixture. *You may need to pour out a bit of the water used for simmering, but be sure to leave some in the pan. Stir the spice mixture into the loquats and continue to cook for a another minute
- Pour the loquats into the pie/tart crust and bake for approximately 10 minutes, or until the crust has browned and the loquats are completely cooked
- Allow to cool and enjoy!!