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Three cheers for National Pie Day

January 16, 2013
By ESTHER MCCOY - Food editor (emccoy@heraldstaronline.com) , Weirton Daily Times

There is a day named for every food product on the market. So why not a National Pie Day?

Nearly one out of five Americans prefer apple pie - 19 percent, to be exact - according to Wholly Wholesome, which has home-ready pies that consist of apple, cherry, pumpkin and blueberry, some of the most popular pies of choice.

In a survey, after apple there is pumpkin at 13 percent; pecan, 12 percent; banana cream, 10 percent; and cherry, 9 percent.

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A BIG CHOCOLATELY FAVORITE — The America’s Best Pies Cookbook, with all the best pies from the National Pie Championships, has 11 delicious, chocolate pie recipes listed. It isn’t on the list of the Wholly Wholesome’s Top 5 pies that includes apple, pumpkin, pecan, banana cream and cherry, but it is still a big favorite around the United States. -- Esther McCoy

Pie isn't just for an after dinner dessert any more. Thirty-five percent of Americans say they've had pie for breakfast. Pies are quite popular at lunch, too, as 66 percent will attest to that, along with 59 percent who eat pie as a midnight snack.

When asked what dessert Americans would prefer a friend or family member to bring to their house for a holiday dinner, pie was the winner with 29 percent. Cake was next with 17 percent, and cookies rounded out the top-three spots with 15 percent.

For devoted pie bakers, there is a fabulous cookbook called "America's Best Pies," with nearly 200 recipes. They are all the best pies from the National Pie Championships, and this was compiled by Linda Hoskins.

For chocolate pie lovers, there are 11 recipes of luscious pies, including Chocolate Raspberry Delight Pie, Chocolate Raspberry and Cream Pie, Chocolate Caramel Nut Pie and Silky, Rich and Smooth Chocolate Pie.

The apple pies include Apple Caramel Pie, Butterscotch Pecan Apple Pie, Simply Divine Cinnamon Pie and Sweet Cider Apple Pie, to name a few.

Then we get into the citrus pies and find Cream Cheese Lemon Pie, Girl Scout Cookie Lemonade Pie, Key Lime Raspberry Pie, Orange Coconut Pie and Mandarin Sunrise Pie.

There are even nine sweet potato pies, including Streusel-topped Sweet Potato Pie, Sweet Potato Praline Cloud Pie and Maple Pecan Sweet Potato Pie.

The section that attracted me was the peanut butter pie recipes. I love peanut butter in just about everything except mashed potatoes.

Here is a recipe for a peanut butter pie with a cooked filling and a vanilla wafer crust.

Category Five Peanut Butter Pie

Crust:

1 1/3 cups finely crushed vanilla wafers

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/3 cup melted butter, unsalted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients in a bowl until blended. Put into a 9-inch pie dish sprayed with cooking spray. Press into the bottom and sides. Bake for 8 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool.

Filling 1:

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1/3 cup creamy peanut butter

3 tablespoons softened butter, unsalted

1/4 cup chopped peanuts, save small amount for garnish

Mix sugar, peanut butter and butter in a small bowl. Spread into bottom of cooled pie shell and sprinkle with peanuts.

Filling 2:

2/3 cup sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 cups milk

3 egg yolks, lightly beaten

3/4 cup creamy peanut butter

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

6 small (.55 ounces) frozen peanut butter cups, chopped

In medium saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, flour and salt over medium heat. Gradually stir in milk until smooth. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Gradually stir 1 cup of hot filling into egg yolks. Return this mixture to saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Add vanilla and peanut butter. Let cool. Fold in five chopped peanut butter cups. Pour into cooled pie shell. Garnish with whipped topping and remaining chopped peanut butter cups and chopped peanuts.

Since Lamont's all-time favorite pie is cherry, I will include one of that fruit variety. It has a pie crust that calls for six ingredients.

Cherry Cherry Bang Bang Pie

Crust:

3 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter-flavored shortening

1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon apple juice

1 extra large egg, well-beaten

Sift together flour, salt and sugar into a large mixing bowl. Cut in shortening with a pastry blender until mixture resembles cornmeal. Combine apple juice and egg. Add liquid, one tablespoon at a time, sprinkling over flour mixture and tossing with a fork to form a soft dough. Shape into three discs. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill 3 to 24 hours.

Filling:

4 cups red tart pitted cherries

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1 1/4 cups sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

Dash of salt

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2 tablespoons cherry jellly (It really calls for wild chokecherry jelly, but I didn't think that could be found.)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Mix together all filling ingredients and set aside. Roll out one pie pastry and line a 9-inch pie plate. Pour filing into pie plate. Roll out top crust and apply or cut out lattice strips and apply. Flute and vent. Brush top crust with slightly beaten egg white and sprinkle with sugar. Bake 10 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.

This pie adds a new touch to the healthy blueberry. It has a fresh blueberry filing and a topping made from walnuts, quick oats and caramel ice cream topping.

Fresh Blueberry Caramel Crumb Pie

Crust:

1 1/3 cups flour

1/2 cup shortening

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons cold water

Mix flour and salt in mixing bowl. Add shortening. With pastry cutter, mix ingredients until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add water, one tablespoon at a time, until it forms into a ball. Roll out onto floured surface, making it 1 inch larger than a 9-inch pie pan. Place into pie plate and flute edges.

Filling:

5 cups fresh blueberries

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

Combine sugar, cornstarch, nutmeg and salt in a mixing bowl. Add blueberries, vanilla and lemon juice. Toss to coat. Pour into prepared pie crust.

Topping:

1 cup light brown sugar

1 cup flour

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup quick oats

1/2 cup cold butter

1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine brown sugar, flour and oats. Cut in butter until crumbly. Add walnuts. Sprinkle over blueberries. Cover edges of crust loosely with foil. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes, then at 375 degrees for 45 to 55 minutes. Remove foil the last 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack. Drizzle with caramel topping just before serving.

Girl Scout cookies will be available soon, so make sure to get several packages of the "Lemonades." They will make this pie special.

Girl Scout Cookie Lemonade Pie

Crust:

1/3 cup butter, melted

1/4 cup sugar

2/3 cup graham crackers, crushed

2/3 cup "Lemonades" cookies, crushed

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine all ingredients and press into a 9-inch pie plate. Bake for 5 minutes and cool.

Lemon filling 1:

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons cornstarch

1 1/4 cups water

2 tablespoons butter

2 teaspoons lemon zest

4 drops yellow food coloring

2/3 cup fresh lemon juice

In a saucepan, combine sugar, salt and cornstarch. Stir in water; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat; cook and stir for 2 minutes until thick and bubbly. Remove from heat.

Stir in butter, zest and food coloring. Gently stir in lemon juice until just combined. Cool to room temperature.

Filling 2:

11 ounces cream cheese, softened

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

5 tablespoons lemon curd

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups heavy cream, whipped to make 3 cups whipped, save half for garnish

In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Mix in lemon juice, lemon curd and vanilla. Gently fold in 1 1/2 cups whipped cream. Spread cream cheese filling in bottom of crust; top with lemon filling. Chill overnight. Top with reserved whipped cream and garnish with Lemonades cookies if desired.

(McCoy can be contacted at emccoy@heraldstaronline.com)

 
 

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