There are so many reasons to celebrate today! Not only is it Pi Day as in 3.14 (March 14), but more recently the holiday of National Registered Dietitian Day was added to the list. But any occasion to make a holiday into something about food – I am all about that. Do dietitians really eat pie? Oh yes – as it happens to be my favorite dessert. If at any given moment someone would surprise me with a dessert, I would ALWAYS go for pie. Maybe that is because I grew up around a lot of pie from the fresh apple trees on our farm. Or maybe it’s because my grandparents enjoyed having “pie and coffee” at 10:00 a.m. every morning…and you couldn’t say no if you happened to be visiting. Of all the pies though, I have my favorites and they always have something to do with fruit. That’s probably the dietitian in me. Pie is the perfect combination of ingredients, the slightly savory crust along with the sweet concoction of fruit on the inside. And the ultimate – a crumb topping similar to the top of apple crisp. My mouth is watering right now.
As a mom, I love to surprise my family with a dessert every now and again and what better way to do this is on Pi day! The cutest little book I found on pies is actually called “Cutie Pies”….and it is the perfect book for all pie lovers. Not only does it have traditional pie recipes, but it has gluten-free and vegan crust options too. But the best part is the fact that it has all sorts of ways to make pie! My favorite is “pie jars”. There can’t be a cuter way to serve pie and wow your guests. And did I mention making the pies smaller and cuter helps control portion size?
There are also cute little pie pops, cutie pies from regular-size muffin tins, flip-sides (think little half moon shaped pies) and pie pops. To bring a little more fun into my kitchen, I decided to buy the “Pie Pop Maker” for my 6-year-old daughter, who loves to cook as well. She hasn’t gotten it yet – that’s a future blog post – but I know she will love it. A perfect way to help her enjoy the perfect portion of pie and get creative with her mom in the kitchen.
I made my own version of my favorite pie – blueberry. Here is the delicious recipe adapted from one in the book.
Blueberry Pie Jars
Makes 8 Pie Jars (mini-Mason style)
- 4-1/2 cups frozen wild blueberries (more antioxidants in the wild compared to the cultivated)
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (please don’t use the bottle – just not the same flavor)
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup + 1-1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
- Pinch of salt
- Your favorite pie crust (2 single 9-inch crusts)
For crumb topping:
- 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 -3 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 cup butter, unsalted, cold and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1/4 cup rolled oats
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- For filling: toss the blueberries with the lemon juice and let soak 15 minutes before draining.
- In a separate bowl, mix together sugar, cornstarch and salt.
- Add the blueberries to the sugar mixture and toss to combine, insuring the blueberries are well-coated.
- Roll out crust 1/4 inch thick. From the dough, cut 8 (2-3/4 inches diameter) circles and 8 (4 by 8-inch) strips. Feel free to use the top of a drinking glass to cut your circles. You may need to re-roll the dough to get the amount you need. But avoid overhandling the dough.
- Press one circle into the bottom of each jar. Then line the jar with one strip of dough, pressing it into place, leaving 1/2 inch overhang over the rim of the jar.
- Spoon the filling into the jars to 1/2 inch from the top.
- Make a crumb topping by combining all dry ingredients (see crumb topping ingredients above), then cut in butter and sprinkle over the top of the pie jar.
- Bake 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.
- One pie jar can happily serve two people, taking turns dipping into the jar.
Now that is a memory from the kitchen.