Cherry Pie (sugar and butter free)

Posted on by on June 4th, 2012 | 43 Comments »

It felt like big bubbles popping. I laid in bed waiting for the sun to come up wondering what it was I kept feeling. Could it be the feeling I have been waiting for the past 5 months? The feeling of tiny developing limbs pushing on me from inside? My mom told me when it happens I’ll just know. I felt it again and again, the sensation of large bubbles and an uncontrollable twitch moving from one side of my stomach to the other. The greatest feeling ever. At that moment I connected with my baby on a whole new level. Since that early morning the kicks (or perhaps punches) have been coming more frequently and become stronger each day. And, though if anyone including myself puts a hand on my stomach to feel her she ceases movements immediately, my husband got a few good feels in there the past week. There are days now that I find myself waiting for her to wake up and move around so I can feel her again. It’s wonderful how such things can bring so much joy.

As my baby grows, I grow and my pregnancy becomes more of a reality then a shock. There is actually a little baby girl developing in there with my help. And, she’s mine. The thought brings on so many emotions; happiness, excitement, fear! It will be my job to take care of this little life when she enters the world. Make sure she is happy, safe, healthy. And, why should I wait to start making sure these things happen for her when I can start now?

Up until this point in my life I was never one to be too conscious about true healthy eating. I crash dieted as I’m sure more people than not have done. I have cut out carbs then went back when I realized I couldn’t live without bagels. I have counted calories like a crazy person not understanding the concept of portion control and I’ve tried all the fad diets out there. My mom is even a nutrition consultant! But, it wasn’t until I was pregnant that I realized a few lifestyle changes could have me (and baby) eating healthy without giving up foods that I love or depriving myself of wonderful things.

I have read and heard talk of coconut oil and how wonderful it is. People would say you can use it as a substitute for butter and not even notice a difference. I was skeptical. I lived by Julia Child’s saying, “with enough butter, anything is good”. I mean seriously, how good can a pie crust be without butter? And, so I went on my way using butter in a way that would make Julia Child proud.

A bottle of coconut oil sat in my pantry for a long time. A really long time. It was finally time to put it to use. It’s now cherry season in Israel and as always I get over excited and buy way too much at one time. I had a kilo of fresh beautiful cherries about to go bad. Oh dear, what to do? Last year I made sour cherry and goat cheese turnovers with my bounty and this year I was going to make cherry pie. And, I was going to use that coconut oil in the pie crust  instead of butter. Sorry Julia.

Well, the unthinkable has happened. I am a coconut oil convert. It’s actually true what people say. I just needed to see for myself I suppose. You couldn’t tell there was no butter in the crust. It was flaky and delicious. Move over butter, there is a new fat being used in this house.

Cherry pie pretty much embodies summer and with a pie crust made with no butter and a filling made using agave syrup in place of sugar you wont feel bad about eating it. So now you can have a piece of pie and sport that sexy new bikini. You’re welcome.

Serve plain or with your favorite ice cream. I served it up with my ricotta buttermilk ice cream. Just remember, the pie may be sugar free but the ice cream is so not!


For Crust:

1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon agave syrup
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup  solid coconut oil
4 tablespoons ice water

For Filling:

2/3 cup agave syrup
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 cups whole cherries, pitted
2 tablespoons lemon juice

For Topping:

2 tablespoons milk
1/2 tablespoon baking sugar substitute


For crust:
In a large mixing bowl whisk together flours and salt.
Add agave sugar and then solid coconut oil, rub in with fingertips until small pea-size clumps form.
Add ice water and mix lightly until dough holds together when small pieces are are pressed together, add more water if dough is too dry. Divide dough into 2 pieces and form each piece into ball, then flatten into disk and wrap in plastic wrap.
Chill dough in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

For filling:

In a medium mixing bowl, toss pitted cherries with cornstarch and salt.
Stir in agave nectar and lemon juice and set aside.
Preheat to 375F and grease a 9 inch pie dish.
Roll out 1 dough disk on floured surface large enough to fit into the pie dish, about 11 inches.
Transfer dough to pie dish.
Roll out second dough disk on floured and using a small heart shaped cookie cutter cut hearts out of dough. (alternatively you can use a large knife to cut 10 strips from dough to make a lattice topping)
Transfer filling to dough-lined dish.
Arrange the cut out hearts on top of pie filling (or make a lattice top with cut out strips.
Brush the hearts with milk and sprinkle with baking sugar substitute.
Place pie dish on rimmed baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes or until filling is bubbling and crust is golden brown, cover with foil if crust is browning to quickly.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Serve with ricotta buttermilk ice cream.

« Ricotta Buttermilk Ice Cream
Summer Chicken Salad »


  1. Posted on: 6-4-2012

    Looks amazing! Can’t wait to try it. We have been putting off pie crusts long enough:)

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 6-6-2012

      I hope you enjoy it! it is a fabulous pie crust, flaky and delicious!

  2. Posted on: 6-4-2012

    I have never used coconut oil but just last night I read through a recipe for “strawberry tarts” (June 2012 Bon Appétit) that also uses coconut oil and agave syrup – I did see these two ingredients at the health food store and bakers rave about these two items.

    Your recipe and the pictures of your lovely looking cherry pie certainly convinced me to run to the store right now and get all the necessary ingredients that I will need to bake that pie.

    It is wonderful to read that your pregnancy is progressing so well and that you are so happy and taking good care of the both of you!

    Looking forward to your upcoming posts!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 6-6-2012

      Thanks Andrea!! I say you pick up some coconut oil and agave next time you see it!! Both work great. I am looking forward to the next time I use them both!

  3. Posted on: 6-4-2012

    I love baking with coconut oil too, I made scones recently with it & have just made an apricot tart with a sweet olive oil crust, it’s so good! I’m so glad that your pregnancy is going well, iit must be so amazing to feel your daughter growing inside you, but yeah a little scary too!!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 6-6-2012

      Apricot tart with olive oil crust?! That sounds so amazing!! Apricots are in season now so perhaps that will be next!

  4. Posted on: 6-4-2012

    This looks beautiful! I love those hearts on top 🙂
    I have recently discovered coconut oil and oh wow- I just love it!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 6-6-2012

      Thanks Anna! When I saw the little heart cookie cutter in my baking cabinet I couldn’t help but use it on here! Isn’t coconut oil just the best?

  5. Posted on: 6-4-2012

    A babies movement can really bring you straight into a myriad of thoughts about that little one. Call it a moving reminder of things to come!
    Anyhow, your pie looks fantastic! I have never used coconut oil in a pie crust, but I have always thought it was a great ingredient for baking, but never thought of using it in pastry. Very creative. I love the way you did the hearts on top, very eye catching and inspiring. Delicious post!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 6-6-2012

      Thanks Tina! You should definitely try using coconut oil in one of your yummy creations, I think you would love it as a substitute for butter. And, yes feeling the baby move for sure brings on many emotions! But couldn’t love it more!

  6. Posted on: 6-4-2012

    Your photos are so beautiful, and that cherry pie looks to die for! So cute as well with those hearts on top. 🙂

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 6-6-2012

      Thank you so much Jenny! I love the hearts on top too. Though it made me not want to cut into the pie at all!

  7. Posted on: 6-4-2012

    I have gone into crash diets but the outcome may be great in my shape. I however was drained in energy and always feel tired. Now I eat sensibly and rotate between the healthy and sinful foof.

    I like that there’s sugar and butter in this cherry pie which means its double healthy. Gorgeously paired with the cherries and ice-cream.

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 6-6-2012

      I think having a good balance between healthy eating and some sinful treats is the way to go! And, being able to use coconut oil and agave sugar or other substitutes gives you the best of both worlds!

  8. Posted on: 6-4-2012

    This is just beautiful, both the post and your excitement. Ryan and I are hoping to try for a baby soon, and I got goosebumps reading your words. So very excited for you! If you check my blog today, I linked to the most amazing cloth diapers on the market. They are made by a friend. I already want to get my order in (and I’m not even pregnant!) Thank you for sharing! I hope you have a beautiful and happy Monday!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 6-6-2012

      How exciting Monet!!! I with you and Ryan so much luck and happiness. I will be checking out your blog post about the cloth diapers for sure! Thanks.

  9. Posted on: 6-4-2012

    Wow, no butter and no sugar?! Interesting!! And a very looking good cherry pie 🙂

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 6-6-2012

      I know! Its hard to believe a pie can be yummy without butter and sugar. But, it can. This was delicious!

  10. Posted on: 6-4-2012

    Beautiful post. You really have a way with words. In regards to the pie, I can hardly believe it’s sugar & butter free; it looks too darn good! Very pretty presentation.

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 6-6-2012

      Thanks Colleen! I know its hard to believe that something so yummy looking can be butter and sugar free. Who would have thought!?!

  11. Posted on: 6-4-2012

    Cherry pie with ice cream sounds perfect right now! I have a partially-used jar of coconut oil waiting for me to cook with it again, and now I want to try it in pastry.

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 6-6-2012

      I think cherry pie and ice cream are just one of those foods that screams summer. Its almost required to have some this time of year! I think this crust would be the perfect use for your coconut oil!

  12. Posted on: 6-5-2012

    How cool that you got to feel the baby kicking! What a special moment!!

    This pie looks beautiful. I love coconut oil and love getting new ideas to use it! This is perfect!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 6-6-2012

      It’s such an amazing feeling to feel her move. Super weird at first but now I just wait for her to kick so I can feel her. It has become the best feeling in the world!!

  13. Posted on: 6-5-2012

    This pie looks scrumptious!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 6-6-2012

      Thanks Russell! It is pretty darn good!

  14. Posted on: 6-5-2012

    What a sweet post! The firts time you feel your baby kicking inside you is always going to be special. Thank you for sharing! This pie looks adorable – I love the little hearts 🙂 I am very eager to try coconut oil in pastry. Sounds great!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 6-6-2012

      Thanks Anna! Feeling her move has become the best feeling in the world! I just cannot get enough of it. You should definitely try coconut oil in pastry, it works just as well as butter!

  15. Posted on: 6-5-2012

    This is amazing as a dessert AND healthy 😀

    Choc Chip Uru

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 6-6-2012

      There is no way you can beat healthy and delicious!

  16. Posted on: 6-5-2012

    How healthy yet looks so amazing!!!! I’m going on cherry picking this month and I’d need lots of good recipes. This one is on my list! I love your heart shape on the pie. =)

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 6-6-2012

      How fun! I want to go cherry picking!!!! This pie will definitely be a good use for your bounty!

  17. Posted on: 6-5-2012

    This looks incredible! I’m so trying that tart dough, it looks amazing.

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 6-6-2012

      Thank you Jackie! The dough was amazing. Flaky and delicious. Perfect for any pie you want to make!

  18. Posted on: 6-6-2012

    what a great idea for a summer pie!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 6-6-2012

      Thanks!! Cherry pie is a summer staple. It just simply is not summer without one 🙂

  19. Posted on: 6-6-2012

    This pie looks delicious! Although I’ll use honey or maple syrup instead of agave. It’s so sweet and wonderful that you want to raise your child with a healthy lifestyle. My mom did that for me and I appreciate it so much. 🙂

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 6-8-2012

      Thanks Maddie! Honey or maple syrup would be lovely as a sweetener too!!

  20. Posted on: 6-8-2012

    What a beautiful post and a fantastic looking pie!! Thank you for this and tip about coocnut oil =] xx

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 6-8-2012

      Thanks Emma! Coconut oil is amazing! I can’t tell you enough how much I love it!

  21. Posted on: 6-8-2012

    STUNNING! And even better that there’s no sugar! And I’ve been addicted to coconut oil lately. So lovely, no?

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 6-10-2012

      Thanks Tiffany! Yes, coconut oil is pretty amazinggg.

  22. Posted on: 6-20-2012

    looks beautiful!

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