When I first decided to make an oatmeal-cookie-like pie crust, I couldn’t imagine a finer filling than creamy, plump raisins. What a better way to emulate the classic cookie that’d inspired me? But something was missing. For one, I didn’t want my pie to look like a black blob of raisins from the top. Second, even though I don’t usually make my oatmeal cookies with nuts, I felt the urge to add them here. I decided to reach for hazelnuts, trusting my well-known favorite to be delightful for the eyes and mouth alike. All together, the oatmeal raisin pie proved to be hearty, fragrant and utterly scrumptious.
Oatmeal Raisin Hazelnut Pie (makes one 9” pie; serves 10-14).
- ½ cup butter at room temperature
- 2-3 tablespoons brown sugar, depending on sweetness of filling
- ¾ teaspoon salt (decrease if butter is salted)
- 1.5 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¾ cup whole wheat flour
- 1.25 cups whole old fashioned oats
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
Lightly grease 9″ pie pan. Mix butter and sugar until even in consistency. Sift salt, cinnamon and flour over butter mixture; stir, adding lemon juice to aid moisture. Fold in the oats and mix with bare hands until dough sticks together and texture is even. Firmly push into pan, using knuckles to pack dough evenly in bottom and sides (about 1/4 to 1/3” thick); if pan is glass, hold crust up to light to look for thin spots. Freeze crust for 45 minutes or up to overnight.
- 2 cups raisins, well packed
- 1.25 cups boiling water
- 1/3 cup melted butter
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 3 eggs (room temperature)
- 1/3 cup whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon corn starch
- 2 teaspoons orange zest
- 1.25 cup roasted hazelnuts, most skins removed
Preheat oven to 375 F. Bake the frozen pie crust for 6-8 minutes, then remove from oven to let cool a bit. Pour the boiling water over the raisins in a heatproof bowl. Let sit in water 5-10 minutes; drain in sieve. While raisins are draining, beat the butter, sugar, vanilla, eggs, and whipping cream. Sift cornstarch over the mixture, and keep beating until batter is bubbly and light in color; set aside. Shake any excess water out of the raisins, then toss the orange zest in with them. Pour raisins and zest into the pie crust. Top with an even layer of nuts. Slowly pour batter over pie, filling to inner edge of crust but not overflowing (you may have a few extra tablespoons batter) and rearrange nuts if needed. Bake 30 minutes. Pie will be amazingly fragrant and toasty at this point. Cover it loosely with a piece of aluminum foil and return to oven for another 10 minutes. Remove from oven; let cool for at least 3 hours or overnight. Store and serve at room temperature, topping each small slice with lightly sweetened whipped cream before devouring.
Fabulously filling and rich, oatmeal hazelnut raisin pie is satisfying on many levels. Its chewy raisin center matches perfectly with its crumbly whole wheat crust, just as its hint of cinnamon complements the spontaneous butterscotch in the filling. Nutty and nourishing, this pie is as perfect for dessert as it can be for breakfast. With fruit, oats and eggs on your fork, who will argue with its wholesomeness? (No need to mention the brown sugar, butter or cream…)
Maybe next time… If you’re not a fruit-and-nuts kind of person, please consider making the unusual oatmeal crust, which is independently delicious and versatile (I’m already working on a cinnamon caramel custard pie in it—stay tuned!). If you want to stick with dried fruit, I’m sure that dried apples, pears or cranberries would make winning additions. If hazelnuts aren’t your favorite, try walnuts, pecans or macadamias in their place. I love adding orange zest to many dessert recipes, but if you want to omit it here or use lemon instead, feel free. Finally, for a punch of spice, you might try tossing in a tablespoon of finely minced crystallized ginger with the raisins. Whatever you do, enjoy!