Happy National Pi Day!
Did you even know it was Pi Day? Well, if not, read on and discover a healthier way to celebrate all things Pie!
According to piday.org, Pi Day is celebrated on March 14th (3/14) around the world. Pi (Greek letter “ π ”) is the symbol used in mathematics to represent a constant — the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter — which is approximately 3.14159.
TMI? Yes, for me too! For those of us who are not mathematicians, Pi Day has evolved into Pie Day. I am betting many mathematicians are also celebrating the day with a good piece of pie.
I am not a big fan of cake, but haven't found a pie that I do not like. However, pie is relegated to an occasional treat due to the high-fat, high-calorie, high-sugar indulgence that it is. I think the anticipation of pumpkin pie is one of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving. Apple pie, banana cream pie, blueberry pie, chocolate cream pie - they are all so good!
Most days I limit my "treats" to yogurt and fruit, as well as an occasional piece of chocolate. I am not a dessert eater and try to keep my meal plan relatively healthy. So, I thought I would try to create a healthier "pie" that I could enjoy without completely derailing my meal plan and sending me into a carb-induced come.
And, here they are:
Yes, they are mini pies - perfect for portion control. And, they are all no-bake recipes. I made Ginger Pear, Strawberry, Chocolate Cream, and Creamy Lime. Simple, delicious, and these pie won't lead to a muffin top!
They are start with a "crust" of almonds and dried figs. I soaked the figs for about an hour and pulsed them in a food processor until the ingredients were combined. That's it!
Then I used my tart molds, aka canning jar lids, to form the crust.
I lined the lids with plastic wrap for easy removal. Then I pressed the mixture along the sides and bottom to create the crust. Once they were formed, I wrapped the plastic around each and placed them in the refrigerator to firm up for about an hour. I then turned my attention to the fillings.
For the Ginger Pear, I cooked sliced pears in a skillet with cinnamon until they were lightly browned and caramelized. I used a bit of cooking spray to keep them from sticking and kept the heat fairly low. While the pears were cooking, I mixed together 2 tablespoons of Greek yogurt with 2 tablespoons of goat cheese. Once it was well blended, I added some honey that was flavored with ginger. (When I buy fresh ginger, I always add a big piece to a jar and top it with honey. The ginger infuses the honey with wonderful flavor.) I put the mixture into the refrigerator to set up a bit and put the pears in a separate container to cool.
After about an hour, the goat cheese/yogurt mixture thickened a bit so I spooned it into a crust and topped it with the cooled pears. A drizzle of the ginger honey, some chopped walnuts and a sprinkle of cinnamon top it off.
The strawberry filling I used is just a simple chia seed jam. Never heard of it? When chia seeds are mixed with liquid, they form a gel-like consistency. This thick gel is perfect to use for making healthy jams.
I cooked down the strawberries until they softened and became juicy. To the softened strawberries, I added a tablespoon of chia seeds and a tablespoon of honey. Then I poured the mixture into a jar and placed it in the refrigerator to set up. Because the liquid was warm, the set up did not take too long. Once it was ready, I spooned it into the crust. Simple and delicious!
The chocolate cream is just a simple blend of Greek yogurt, cocoa powder, and powdered stevia. I grated a little dark chocolate on the top. I often have this chocolate yogurt mixture for dessert topped with bananas or walnuts.
The Creamy Lime Pie - well, that was definitely an experiment. I had planned to use sugar-free lime jello and yogurt as a base, but decided I wanted to do with the artificial colors. So, drumroll. . . I used avocado. Yep, avocado because it is green and creamy. But I didn't want it to taste like avocado, so I mixed the avocado with coconut cream (equal portions), added the juice and zest of half a lime, and a bit of agave syrup. Good - yes! A little weird - definitely. But it is creamy, tastes like lime, and has the perfect amount of sweetness to offset the sour lime. I think it would be delicious with a few strawberries or raspberries on top, but I didn't want to cover up the filling.
Are these pies healthy? Well, let's say they are healthier. They still have sugar from the figs and fillings and plenty of fat and calories from the nuts. But overall they have fiber, plenty of vitamins and minerals, are low in saturated fat, and contain no chemicals. So go ahead, eat dessert!
Since my mind was on pies, I decided to also make a breakfast pie, aka quiche. Actually a crustless quiche. Roasted red peppers, asparagus, feta cheese, and oregano provided the flavor to a base of 6 eggs and 1 cup of almond milk (be sure to use the plain almond milk).
So, Happy National Pi Day! And, while you are celebrating, enjoy a healthier piece of the pie!