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Posted on Mar 15, 2012 in Food | 20 comments

Pi vs. Pie

As some of you may have noticed, yesterday was March 14th, also known as National Pi Day (3.14 — get it?). Though I made the egregious error of referring to it as National Pie Day (which, as it turns out, actually happened back in January) on Facebook, it did give me some food for thought (zing!). Initially, I had all sorts of ambitious plans to create a multi-course meal for dinner that included both savory and sweet pies, but that sort of fell apart after I realized that there’s virtually no way to make a low-calorie pot pie, and I hate quiche. (Mini-quiches, on the other hand, I love. Seriously, you could miniaturize anything and I’m pretty sure I would love it.)

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So instead, I decided to solely focus on the sweeter side of things. To go along with my dinner of roasted brussels sprouts and nothing else (oh come on, as if this is the first time that’s happened!), I whipped up two delicious and healthy…ish desserts! Just call me The Piemaker (any other Pushing Daisies fans out there?)… who didn’t have to actually bake either of these pies. Score!

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First up, a slightly modified version of my No-Bake Chocolate Creme Pie. This time I omitted the extra sugar completely, got a reduced-fat graham cracker crust, and used a combination of vanilla and almond extracts.

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It was the slightest bit less sweet than last time (in a good way!), and still tasted nothing like its protein-packed secret ingredient!

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For my second pie, I was inspired by Gina’s Skinny Banana Cream Pie to make something light, airy, and sweetly magical. Well, maybe it’s not so much “pie” as it is chopped fruit smothered in whipped cream, but it’s shaped like a pie so we’re calling it a pie.

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As I imagined it, this pie called for only four ingredients: strawberries, bananas, coconut milk, and sugar. Oh, and the pie crust, which I went store-bought on.. duh. I chopped up some gorgeous strawberries that I found at the supermarket along with a couple of ‘nanas and attempted to whip up some coconut whipped cream to use instead of the Cool Whip that Gina’s recipe called for. (Part of me trying to clean up the remaining part of my diet that’s still processed-food dependent.)

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I say that I ATTEMPTED the coconut whipped cream, because evidently I did it oh-so-wrong. I was impatient (shock!), and didn’t let the coconut cream fully separate from the coconut water. So despite like 20 minutes of solid work from my KitchenAid, it never really, y’know, got whipped. And thus the final product was JUST a little on the runny side…

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Okay, so maybe it was less pie than… can we call it a cobbler? Regardless, it’s still freaking delicious. And a full “slice” (we shall apply that term lightly) is less than 200 calories! Coconut milk is quite high in fat, I will admit, but blahblahblah healthy fats blahblah. I may or may not be eating it for breakfast right now. Oh, and I will say that it did set and solidify a little more in the fridge overnight (I gotta work on that patience thing!). The water separated out a little bit and the cream holds its shape better, so the piece I brought to work with me almost looked like an actual slice of pie… almost. I will certainly be working on perfecting this one in the future!

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I fully intend on having these pies bookend my days in the form of breakfast and dessert for the rest of the week. I mean, if people can have wedding pie instead of wedding cake, I can totally claim pie as a breakfast food, right?

What’s your favorite kind of pie? I used to be a pecan girl all the way, but I’ve really come around to fruit pies. One day I will attempt an apple pie from scratch!

20 Comments

  1. Key Lime Pie. Fo sho!

    • I am a BIG fan of key lime pie. Any desserts with citrus, really!

  2. No way to make a low calorie pot pie? Psssshawwww! You doubt me so!

    Also, please promise me you’ll try coconut whipped cream again and wait it out? It’s SO WORTH the wait. We actually just keep a can of coconut milk in our fridge at all times now.

    Favorite pie: DERBY PIE. Chocolate. Bourbon. Walnuts. It is everything that is right with the world.

    • I got 2 cans o’ coconut milk so you bet your sweet bippy I will be attempting this again. Perhaps with the rest of your lightened up coconut creme pie alongside it…. :D

      Also, how did I not see that recipe?! Zoiks! Must make!

    • Aaaaand now I want chicken pot pie for lunch.

  3. Sooo good!

    Of course pie is a breakfast food! When my friend Steph was moving up north for school, her friends told her that in New England everyone has pie for breakfast. She was quite disappointed to find that wasn’t entirely true! At least, not EVERY day.

    I think my favorite pies are curried chicken (which actually I usually do as turnovers — more crust — nomm), apple-blackberry and (oh yeah) chocolate cream.

    • Curried chicken pie?! TELL ME MORE ABOUT THIS!

      • Cook some chopped celery and onion in oil or clarified butter with a blend of curry spices. Toss the cooked vegetables with small cubes of poached chicken, chopped cilantro, finely sliced scallions, salt and lime juice. You may need to add a little cream to bind it together. You can leave it chunky (my preference) or you can blend it until it resembles a coarse paste (easier to work with if you’re doing turnovers, but not everyone’s favorite texture). Then you just divide your pastry dough into, say, six pieces — I use whole wheat flour, by the way, which really complements the curry flavor — roll them into circles, put the filling in, pinch them closed and bake at — let’s see — I guess in my oven I usually do 425 convect.

        Oh, and I use Julia Child’s regular non-sweet shortcrust pastry recipe, with whole wheat King Arthur flour. The King Arthur part is significant — it’s higher in protein than most other mass-market flours out there, so it works better for my diabetic dad. Also tastes better, I think.

  4. I have a really hard time picking a favorite type of pie. Off the bat, I’d say apple (with a crumb top). Trader Joes actually has some pretty amazing Strawberry Rhubarb and Wild Blueberry pies that are 170 calories for 1/6 of the pie (that’s a big slice!).
    I also love coconut or banana cream… and I’m a big fan of quiche! :)
    Your pies look lovely. I wouldn’t care if one turned to soup- I’d just put it in a bowl and eat it up.
    Yeah- full fat coconut milk is full of healthy fat- but it still scares me. I always buy light.

    • I know…. I think this was the very first can of full-fat coconut milk I’ve ever purchased. I always get the lite stuff when I’m making curries and whatnot… ahhh!

      • Most full-fat coconut milk cans have BPA in them too (except Native Forest), which is easily absorbed by the fat (look at at SF Chronicle article) and is horrible for you–the Trader Joe’s lite brand is BPA free!

  5. mmm pie :) we had ice cream cake at work yesterday :) it was so good.

    I love apple pie, duh… or anything chocolate-y

  6. Gretchen, you know it takes a lot for me to comment, so if I do, it’s because you’ve really hit a nerve – or dare I say tastebud. RASPBERRY PIE!!! Literally, if this was the only food left on the planet, I’d be the happiest man alive… Hell yeah I love me some pie!!!

  7. yum. i like pie in general but am a big fan of lemon and other misc. fruit pies!

  8. I’m a coconut pie girl. and lemon chess. and apple. and pumpkin. and chocolate.

    Okay I like pie! (Freshman year at JMU I lived in the pi room in MGL and my bff that I met the next year lived in the pi room in Shorts her freshman year)

  9. Every Thanksgiving, my grandma made me a chocolate pie because I wasn’t a fan of pecan or pumpkin pies as a kid. I’ll always have a special place in my heart for chocolate pie b/c of my grandma!

    My other pie favorites: coconut cream (especially from Bonefish Grill), peanut butter & chocolate, and good old fashioned apple pie…but only if it’s served warm with vanilla ice cream!:)

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