• Sat, Jan 22 2011

Healthy Ways to Celebrate National Pie Day

Photo: Gourmet.com

Tomorrow may be National Pie Day, but expert are predicting that 2011 will be the year of pies – move over, cupcakes. According to Andrew Freeman, whose consulting firm, Andrew Freeman & Co., does market research for restaurants and hotels nationwide, this is the year for all things pie: ““This is not just sweet pies, this is savory pies, bite-sized pies. They are even blended into milkshakes,” he said. “I’ll eat pie if I don’t get this one right at the end of the year.”

Tomorrow’s holiday, sponsored by the American Pie Council, is “dedicated to the celebration of pie” according to their website. So to help celebrate, we’re giving you a rundown of the classic American dessert, from its history to where it’s headed, plus ideas for how you can celebrate, the healthy way:

A Short History of Pie

If any dessert is truly a classic, pie definitely earns the label: The first pie recipe – a rye-crusted goat cheese and honey version – was published by the Romans, but historians believe that they learned their baking techniques from the Greeks. The Romans eventually spread their food form to Europe, landing the word “pie” in the Oxford English Dictionary circa the 14th century. (To put things into perspective, the first use of the word “cupcake” wasn’t documented until the 19th century.)

Pie can be sweet or savory. England’s first “pyes” were made with a heavy amount of crust, and small amount of meat filling (known as “coffyn”). Fruit pies, which became popular in the 1500s, were called “pasties.” (Random trivia fact: Tradition states that the first cherry pie was made for Queen Elizabeth I.)

English settlers brought pies across the Atlantic in the 17th century, but pies still weren’t made quite like they are today: In those days, the crust was made primarily as a cooking vessel for the filling, and was rarely eaten. Our country’s citizens have been gobbling pie since the days of the American Revolution. In fact; it’s become such a staple of the Standard American Diet that it’s earned itself a spotlight in American culture. (Ever heard the expression, “As American as apple pie”?)

How to Celebrate, the Healthy Way

The American Pie Association suggests celebrating National Pie Day by making a pie for your friend or neighbor. (You can also just go buy one – extra points for the pie biz!) But here at Blisstree, we realize that the holiday doesn’t fall on a convenient date for your post-holiday [cleanse, diet, housewide sugar ban, fill-in-the-blank]. So to help you celebrate with less fat and calories, we adapted a healthy recipe from CookingLight.com for a classic pecan pie. Normally, this dessert can easily contain 500 calories and 25 grams of fat per slice, but this recipe cuts the calories to about 300 calories and 11 grams of fat per slice.*

From Blisstree to you, we sincerely wish you a happy National Pie Day:

OATMEAL PECAN PIE

Ingredients:
1/2 the dough from one of our healthy pie crust recipes
Cooking spray
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
2/3 cup regular oats
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 325°.

Roll dough into an 11-inch circle. Fit into a 9-inch pie plate coated with cooking spray. Fold edges under; flute.

Combine brown sugar and remaining ingredients, stirring well with a whisk. Pour into prepared crust. Bake at 325° for 50 minutes or until center is set. Cool completely on a wire rack.

*Calories and fat depend on serving size and dough recipe used.

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