My Pi Day Pie

Please excuse my mini hiatus. I tend to take the month off to celebrate my birthday. Yes, the whole month. My grandma taught me that 🙂 I’ve entered a new chapter of life (my thirties!) and am fully rejuvenated thanks to a spa day at the Four Seasons that I gifted myself. So, despite the 30°F temps here in Chicagoland, it’s time to come out of hibernation.

I know, Pi Day was  12 days ago, but I wanted to share my nerdy tradition with you. If you’re not familiar with Pi Day, it is exactly what you’d expect it to be: a celebration of the mathematical constant better known as pi (π). Even though PIE Day is January 23rd, I still find it  fun to bake a pie for PI Day and give a little birthday shout out to my man Albert Einstein. Last year I made a peanut butter and jelly pie for my coworkers. It turned out…OK…but I didn’t use any sort of recipe so it didn’t turn out quite right. It was too soft. This year, keeping with the peanut butter idea, I made a peanut butter pie with peanut butter chocolate chip cookies.

About a week before Pi Day, I made peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. They were a little crispier than we like, and my husband happened to comment that they’d make a good pie crust. And just like that, my Pi Day pie idea was born. It turned out great and I decided not to bring it to work – I just shared it with my boys at home.

 Pi_pie

Peanut Butter Pie with Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Crust

Ingredients:
For the crust:
1-1/2 cups crushed peanut butter chocolate chip cookies
4T. butter, melted
1/2 cup chocolate chips

For the filling:
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup milk
1 container (8 ounce) of Cool Whip (I used reduced fat)
1/2 cup chocolate chips for decoration

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the crushed peanut butter chocolate chip cookies and the melted butter.
  3. Evenly press the mixture into a 9″ pie plate and top with chocolate chips.
  4. Bake the pie crust for about 10 minutes. When you take it out of the oven, spread the melted chocolate chips around to form a thin layer over the entire crust.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, whip cream cheese until soft and fluffy.
  6. Beat in sugar and peanut butter.
  7. Slowly pour in milk, beating mixture until smooth
  8. Fold whipped topping into mixture. 
  9. Pour mixture into crust and decorate with chocolate chips if you’d like.
  10. Freeze until firm.
  11. Store any leftovers in freezer.

Mincemeat Pie

I made my very first mincemeat pie over Thanksgiving. I had heard of it before, but never seen, tried, or attempted to make one on my own. One of our Thanksgiving celebrations was with my husband’s dad, stepmom, and grandma. I always make his dad a pecan pie when I see him, but this year I decided to make them each a pie, so I made a mincemeat pie for his stepmom and a chocolate/French silk pie for Grandma Z.

I found out later that they sell mincemeat pie filling in a jar. Really?! Nobody told me. It’s not in true Kim-fashion anyway to use a jarred mix of sorts. So, per usual, I scoured the interwebs in search of what sounded like the best recipe. I ended up adapting this one from Allrecipes.com for the filling. This ended up to be really tasty! I had no idea what to expect, but it was so flavorful and received rave reviews from even the toughest critics.

I should note that this is a sweet pie, not savory as you might expect. It’s definitely for dessert, but I may or may not have eaten the leftovers for lunch. Hey, it has fruit, meat, and carbs in it, so it’s a perfectly suitable meal if you ask me… Enjoy!

Mincemeat Pie

Mincemeat Pie

Ingredients:

For the Filling:

  • 1-1/4 pounds lean ground beef
  • 4-1/2 cups apples – peeled, cored and diced
  • 2-1/4 cups dried fruit (I used dried cherries and cranberries)
  • 1/2 cup and brandy
  • 1/4 cup pickle juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1-1/4 cups and 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • orange zest to taste (I used the zest of half a softball sized orange)

For the Crust:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup water

Directions:

Make the dough for the crusts:
1. In a large bowl, combine flour and salt. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in water until mixture forms a ball. Divide dough in half, and shape into balls. Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.

Make the filling:
2. Make the filling. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the ground beef thoroughly, being sure not to over-brown it.

3. Place chopped apples and the cooked ground beef in a food processor and pulse until the mixture is made up of pea sized chunks.

4. In a non-reactive skillet combine the apple and ground beef mixture with the dried fruit, half of the brandy, the pickle juice, ground cinnamon, ground allspice, ground nutmeg and the white sugar. Simmer for 30 minutes.

5. Cool filling to lukewarm and store in covered container in the refrigerator for a week, or freeze. Continue to add brandy to the filling and mix it up every few days.

Assemble your pie:
6. Preheat your oven to 325°F

7. Roll out the dough for the two crusts on a floured surface, making sure not to overwork it.

8. Put one crust in the pie pan. Pour in the filling. Top with the second crust. (I chose to do a lattice top for mine, but you could just cover it and put a few slits in the top if you prefer.)

9. Bake for 50-60 minutes. Cool and serve!