Did you know we have an organization in America called the American Pie Council? This is a real thing and I, for one, am wholeheartedly in support of it. Such is their enthusiasm for pie that Saturday was National Pie Day. NATIONAL-PIE-DAY!! I don’t know how I made it through 38 years, 2 kids, and however many jobs and houses without knowing that, without celebrating it, without being nurtured through long, cold winters by it. Having Pie Day at this point in January is genius because the days are still short, often the rain and snow are in a relentless assault (as they are on my home right now), and we need the joy of small miracles like pie to keep the winter warm and bright.
Just to keep things interesting, this could be the most unexpected, delightful — and yes, disturbing — fact I learned on the Pie Council website:
The wealthy English were known for their “Surprise Pies” in which live creatures would pop out when the pie was cut open.
I’m…really not sure what else to say about that. Actually – that’s not true. I was compelled, after reading that, to go find a Surprise Pie recipe, just to see if it’s true. It turns out, we’ve all sung the rhyme at school: Four & Twenty Blackbirds baked in a pie. It’s taken me until *this* moment in my life to ever even question that schoolchild rhyme. But there it is — “four and twenty (or, 24) blackbirds baked in a pie. When the pie was opened, the birds began to sing. Wasn’t that a dainty dish to set before the King.” This is Surprise Pie, and this is how the recipe was written up back in 1598:
“To Make Pie That the Birds May Be Alive In them and Flie Out When It Is Cut Up – Make the coffin of a great pie or pastry, in the bottome thereof make a hole as big as your fist, or bigger if you will, let the sides of the coffin bee somwhat higher then ordinary pies, which done put it full of flower and bake it, and being baked, open the hole in the bottome, and take out the flower. (Notice how pies are described as coffins). Then having a pie of the bigness of the hole in the bottome of the coffin aforesaid, you shal put it into the coffin, withall put into the said coffin round about the aforesaid pie as many small live birds as the empty coffin will hold, besides the pie aforesaid. And this is to be at such time as you send the pie to the table, and set before the guests: where uncovering or cutting up the lid of the great pie, all the birds will flie out, which is to delight and pleasure shew to the company. (Live birds!) And because they shall not bee altogether mocked, you shall cut open the small pie, and in this sort you may make many others, the like you may do with a tart.” (http://www.everythingpies.com/history-of-pie/)
Honestly, I wasn’t planning on having this pie article go this way — but so it is with food. The more you learn, the more surprised you get, the more you just have to follow it out where it leads. As my girlfriend likes to say, “Breathe it all in. Love it all out.” Good advice.
And so, all distractions and detours into food’s fascinating history aside, with great relish and anticipation, let’s look at the best of what was offered up online in honor of National Pie Day. All these recipes can be found in the Forq app. (You can download the Forq food app from the App Store)
Peanut Butter Pie
Sourced from: Handle the Heat
For the crust:
- 14 whole chocolate graham crackers
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
- 7 tablespoons (3.5 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
For the filling:
- 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar plus 2 tablespoons, divided
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the topping:
- Melted peanut butter
- Melted chocolate
- Mini Reese’s cups
- Peanut butter chips
Preheat the oven to 325°F.
For the crust:
In the bowl of a food processor process the crackers and sugar until finely ground. Add the butter and pulse until moistened. Use the bottom of a measuring cup, glass, or ramekin to press the crust mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Bake until fragrant, about 12 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.
For the filling:
In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese, 3/4 cup powdered sugar, and the peanut butter until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
In a separate bowl, use an electric mixer with the whisk attachment to whip the heavy cream until thick and light. Add in the remaining 2 tablespoons powdered sugar and the vanilla extract and continue to whip until stiff peaks form.
Gently fold the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture. Pour into the prepared pie shell and freeze for 3 hours. Drizzle with melted peanut butter and melted chocolate. Top with mini Reese’s cups and peanut butter chips. Serve frozen or refrigerated. Store in the fridge or freezer, covered, for up to 3 days.
Bacon Cheeseburger Pie
Sourced from: Spend With Pennies
- 1 uncooked pie crust (store bought or prepared)
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 onion, chopped
- 5 slices raw bacon, chopped
- ⅓ cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
- 3 tablespoons barbecue sauce
- 1 tablespoon ketchup
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup milk
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Brown ground beef, onion and bacon until no pink remains. Drain well. Remove from heat and stir in bread crumbs, mustard, barbecue sauce, ketchup, Worcestershire and pepper. Place mixture in prepared pie crust.
In a small bowl, combine cheese, milk and egg. Spread over meat mixture.
Cover the edges of the pie crust with foil or a pie shield to prevent over browning. Bake 15 minutes, remove foil and bake an additional 15 minutes.
Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Sugar-free Chocolate Hazelnut Frozen Pie
Sourced from: Dr. Jockers
- 1 cup hazelnuts
- 1 can coconut milk (full fat)
- 1 cup + 3 tbsp pure grade B maple syrup
- 1 tsp bourbon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup organic cacao
- 3 tbsp organic, extra virgin coconut oil
- sprinkle of sea salt
- 30 drops of Stevia (or can just add to taste)
- 1 cup almond flour
- 4 tbsp organic, extra virgin coconut oil
- 7 drops liquid Stevia
- 1 can coconut milk, full fat
- liquid stevia
- vanilla extract
- Start with the crust for this recipe!
Add almond flour and coconut oil (at room temperature) to small/medium bowl. Mix with electric mixer.
- Add liquid Stevia. Mix again.
- Spread onto bottom of a 10 inch glass pie dish.
You can stretch it up the sides a half inch or so if you can do so without thinning it too much.
- Place pie dish in freezer.
- Time for the filling!
Starting with the coconut milk, add all ingredients into blender and blend.
Note: Again, you can start with less Stevia if you don’t think you’ll want that much or aren’t a fan of Stevia. It worked great for us to keep us from using anymore maple syrup than what we already did. Good balance!
- Pour into pie dish and return to freezer.
- For the topping, open a can of coconut milk and scoop cream off the top.
Note: If you’ve kept the can somewhere warm and the cream is not separated you may need to set it in the fridge for 12-24 hours depending on the temperature. If you don’t want to wait you can just sweeten the thinner mixture and drizzle it over the pie pieces!
- Add stevia & vanilla to taste, mixing with electric blender.
Store in the refrigerator until pie is frozen and ready to serve!
Note: Keep the remaining thinner coconut milk in the fridge. If the pie is going to be enjoyed over a span of a few days you’ll need some of the remaining coconutmilk to thin this coconut cream, cool-whip-like topping. It does not taste the same if you top the pie with it and freeze it like that. It’s much yummier to take the 1-2 minutes to re-whip it and soften it to it’s original creamy goodness each time you serve the pie.
I made this pie at night and we started in on it the next day so I’m not positive exactly how long you HAVE to wait before digging in. I would recommend giving it at least 12 hours. It might need more. It’s best when taken out, cut, served and enjoyed immediately, with your freshly re-whipped coconut cool whip topping of course!
Mississippi Mud Pie
Sourced from: Cooking Classy
- 40 Oreo cookies (one 15.3 oz pkg)
- 5 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
Flourless Chocolate Cake
- 6 oz bittersweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate (1 cup. I recommend Ghirardelli)
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup water, at room temperature
- 1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 6 large eggs at room temperature, separated
- 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 4 large egg yolks
- 2 1/2 cups whole milk
- 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 3 oz bittersweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate (1/2 cup)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
Whipped Cream Topping
- 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
- 3 Tbsp granulated sugar
To make the Oreo crust:
Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan, then line the bottom with a round of parchment paper and lightly butter top of parchment paper. In a food processor, pulse Oreo cookies until finely ground. Pour into a bowl along with 5 Tbsp melted butter and use a fork to stir until evenly moistened. Pour mixture into prepared springform pan and press into an even layer along bottom and up the sides of the pan, coming within a 1/2-inch of the top of the pan. Preheat oven to 300 degrees and transfer to freezer and chill 10 minutes. Remove from freezer and bake in preheated oven 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
For the flourless chocolate cake:
Increase oven temperature to 350 degrees. Place 6 oz bittersweet chocolate chips and 1/4 cup butter in a microwave safe bowl. Heat mixture in microwave in 20 second intervals on 50% power, stirring after each interval until melted and smooth, set aside to cool slightly. In liquid measuring cup (used to measure water) whisk together water, 1 Tbsp cocoa powder, salt and 1 Tbsp vanilla until well blended. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip 6 egg yolks with brown sugar on medium-high speed until mixture is pale and fluffy and has nearly doubled in volume, about 5 minutes. Add melted chocolate mixture and mix just until combined, then scrape down sides and bottom of bowl and mix on low speed 5 seconds longer. Add water mixture and blend just until combined, then scrape down sides and bottom of bowl and mix 5 seconds longer. In a clean stand mixer bowl (you may have to transfer egg yolk/chocolate mixture to an alternate mixing bowl and clean out/dry well stand mixer bowl if you only have one like me), whip egg whites until foamy, then gradually increase speed to high, while slowly adding in 1/2 cup granulated sugar and beat until soft peaks form.
Scoop out about 1 cup of the whipped egg white mixture and gently fold into egg yolk/chocolate mixture, just until combined, about 30 seconds. Add in remaining egg white mixture and fold just until nearly combined (don’t overmix). Pour mixture into cooled cookie crust and spread into an even layer. Bake in preheated oven 38 – 42 minutes, until cake edges appear set but center still jiggles slightly (cake may appear under-baked). Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cool wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 3 hours or up to overnight.
For the chocolate pudding:
In a medium saucepan whisk together granulated sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch and salt. Stir in egg yolks and mix until combined (the texture will be thick). While whisking, slowly pour in milk. Heat mixture over medium heat, and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Allow mixture to boil for 30 seconds then remove from heat and pour into a bowl. Add butter, chocolate chips and vanilla (I used vanilla bean paste because I ran out of vanilla) and stir until combined (I pressed mine through a fine strainer but that’s optional). Allow to rest at room temperature 15 minutes, then cover with plastic wrap pressing directly against the surface of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming. Chill in refrigerator at least 3 hours or overnight.
To assemble pie:
Remove cake and pudding from refrigerator and stir pudding to loosen, then spread pudding into an even layer over flourless cake, staying within the cookie crust border. Chill in refrigerator 30 minutes.
For the sweetened whipped cream:
In a mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, whip heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add in 3 Tbsp granulated sugar and whip until stiff peaks form. Remove cake from refrigerator and spread whipped cream in an even layer over top of cake. Remove springform ring and cut into slices. Serve within 3 hours (I found I actually liked the cake just as much the second day, BUT I wouldn’t add the whipped cream until it’s within a few hours of being served).
Sourced from: Epicurious
- Flaky pastry dough
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 cup cold water
- 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
- Cinnamon for dusting
Accompaniment: lightly sweetened whipped cream
Special equipment: a 9- to 9 1/2-inch round fluted tart pan (1 inch deep) with removable bottom; pie weights or raw rice
Make pie shell:
Roll out half of pastry dough (reserve remainder for another use) on a lightly floured surface with a floured rolling pin into a 12-inch round. Fit dough into tart pan and trim excess, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang. Fold overhang inward and press against side of pan to form a rim that extends 1/4 inch above pan. Prick bottom of shell all over with a fork and chill 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Line shell with foil and fill with pie weights. Bake in middle of oven until edge is pale golden and sides are set, about 20 minutes. Remove weights and foil and bake shell until bottom is golden, 8 to 10 minutes more.
Make filling while shell bakes:
Whisk together eggs and 1/4 cup sugar in a bowl until blended well. Whisk together flour and remaining 3/4 cup sugar in a 1-quart heavy saucepan, then whisk in water and vinegar. Bring to a boil, whisking until sugar is dissolved. Add to egg mixture in a slow stream, whisking constantly.
Pour filling into saucepan and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until filling coats back of spoon and registers 175°F on an instant-read thermometer, 12 to 15 minutes. (Do not boil.) Immediately pour filling into a 2-cup glass measure. If pie shell is not ready, cover surface of filling with a round of wax paper.
Reduce oven temperature to 350°F, then pour hot filling into baked pie shell in middle of oven and cover rim of crust with a pie shield or foil (to prevent overbrowning). Bake pie until filling is set, 15 to 20 minutes, then cool completely in pan on a rack. Dust evenly with cinnamon.
Fried Peach Pies
Sourced from: Country Living
- 3 stick butter
- 1 package cream cheese
- 4½ tbsp. sugar
- 3 c. all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 package dried peaches
- 2 can peach nectar
- ¾ c. sugar
- 1 c. sugar
- ½ tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 large Egg
- 1 tbsp. water
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 4 c. vegetable oil
- For crust: In a medium bowl and using a mixer set on medium speed, beat butter, cream cheese, and sugar until mixture is smooth and there are no visible chunks of butter or cream cheese, about 5 minutes. Add flour and salt and mix until just combined. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough in half, shape into disks, and wrap each in plastic wrap. Chill for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.
- For filling: In a medium pot, bring peaches, nectar, and 3/4 cup sugar to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer mixture until it reaches a jamlike consistency, 30 to 40 minutes; let cool. Stir in vanilla.
Roll out dough to 1/8-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut 16 to 20 four-inch circles, gathering scraps and rerolling as needed. Place circles on a baking pan and wrap with plastic wrap; chill for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.
- In a small bowl, whisk together egg and water. Place 1 heaping tablespoon peach mixture in center of a dough circle. Brush edges of dough with egg wash, fold dough over filling, and crimp edges with a fork. Repeat with remaining dough circles. Keep pies chilled until ready to fry. In a shallow bowl, mix together remaining 1 cup sugar and cinnamon.
- In a large, heavy-duty pot fitted with a deep-fry thermometer, heat oil to 350 degrees F (oil should be 4 inches deep). Add 3 pies to hot oil and fry until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels, then coat with cinnamon-sugar. Repeat until all peach pies are fried.