Homemade Sugar-Free Pie Baking Tips

My family requested me bake a cherry pie today. Practically all pies baked in my home are sugar-free, so they already know what to expect, and this is what they are looking forward to. They say they can’t tell the difference between a pie made with sugar and my sugar-free pies. It’s not cherry season therefore, they know the cherries will come from a can today. I always use cinnamon and nutmeg in my pies, and dot the top of my pies with butter before adding the top crust. As I’m writing this, I can smell the pie wafting through the air, and can detect from this, that it is almost time for the oven alarm to go off, signaling it is time to remove the pie from the oven. Yep, there it goes!

Pies are the most baked dessert in my household. This is because I am most comfortable baking pies and can make them quickly. Sometimes I’ll bake tarts or tartlets, tassies, hand pies or mini-pies, but mostly I’ll bake old-fashioned, double-crust, whole pies, just like my mom and grandma used to do.

Here are some tips on making sugar-free pies. When making the pie crust look at the traditional pie crust recipe you’ve been using. Swap out half of the white, all-purpose flour with an equal amount of white whole wheat flour. King Arthur Flour produces the best, in my opinion. Make sure it says, “white” whole wheat flour. Otherwise, you’re probably going to hate your pie.

Next, look at the fat in your recipe. Whatever fat is called for, make the following substitution. Use half butter and half shortening. So if the recipe calls for 1/2 cup shortening, cut in 1/4 cup cold butter and 1/4 cup shortening instead.

Any water you use in your pie crust needs to be cold. I take it from the fridge dispenser.

If you’re using canned fruit filling, look for “no sugar-added” varieties. Scoop the filling into a bowl and add an additional amount of sugar substitute to the filling. If you’re using Splenda, which works well with fruit by the way, 2 tsps of Splenda have less than 1 gram of carbs. I typically add 1/4 cup Splenda or another more natural sugar substitute to my pie fillings. A cheap store brand may require more added sweetener. Otherwise, the pie does not taste sweet enough. During the Pandemic, I noticed manufacturers were adding less sweeteners to their pie fillings to save on costs. This resulted in sugar-free pies that were too sour for me, my family, and my customer’s taste. Therefore, I had to make some adjustments.

You may need to mix a tablespoon or more of flour, quick-cooking tapioca, or cornstarch to the pie filling before baking to keep the filling from being too runny.

Finally, I bake my fruit pies for 45 minutes at 375 degrees in order to get a nice golden brown crust. You’ll need to do a little bit of experimenting to get pies to taste exactly the way you like. Hope these tips will be of some help to you.