Today is Pi Day. It’s a day to celebrate the mathematical constant pi (π) and to eat lots of pie. Yippee!
It’s celebrated in countries that follow the month/day format for dates because the digits in the date, March 14 or 3/14, are the first three digits of π (3.14). Pi Day was founded by Physicist Larry Shaw in 1988.
If I had to choose one last meal, it would have to include pie. Berry pie, specifically. Granted, there is nothing better than a fresh fruit pie in the summer, but as we shift from winter to spring, strawberries are making their way from the field to farmers’ markets. And blueberries are always great right out of the freezer. Today we celebrate with two berry pies, one raw and one baked.
Strawberry ‘Cream’ Pie
I excel in baking, but pie crusts have been my nemesis. That’s what I love most about this pie — a nut-based crust, which is smooshed into the pie plate. Feel free to use any type of berry here or a mixture of all. The “cream” comes from the blended cashews, which are even better if you can soak them overnight. It makes this dessert super smooth yet dairy free.
1/3 cup raw cashews, ground to coarse meal
1/3 cup coconut or brown sugar 1/3 cup organic coconut oil 1/2 tsp. vanilla 1/4 tsp. salt Mix with: 1/2 cup flour (any type, sorghum is good here for gluten-free) Filling: 2 cups organic raspberries (save a few for garnish) 1 cup raw cashews 2 Tbsp. vanilla extract 1/2 cup raw honey 1 pinch salt 1 cup coconut oil, melted
Blend all crust ingredients in food processor and press into bottom of a well-oiled 9-inch pie plate or tart pan, building up the sides slightly. Bake 12-15 minutes at 350 until crust is golden brown. Allow to cool.
Place all filling ingredients into blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Carefully pour on top of crust and refrigerate for 3 hours.
Top with extra berries and coconut whipped cream made with full fat coconut milk.
It’s best to bring it out of the freezer and thaw for 10 minutes before serving.
Low Sugar, High Flavor Blueberry Pie
Prepare the filling:
4 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
3/4 cup sucanat or coconut sugar
3 Tbsp. arrowroot or non-GMO cornstarch
Add blueberries to a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat for 7-10 minutes, until berries begin to soften. Add lemon juice. Whisk together the sucanat and arrowroot in a small bowl then slowly add the dry mix to the blueberries, stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes until the filling thickens.
Remove from heat and transfer to a glass bowl or container. Place inside the refrigerator to cool for 30 minutes.
The rest of the story:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Prepare pie crust (recipe follows) and place in a pie pan. Transfer blueberry filling into the crust. Bake for 45-60 minutes. Pie is done when filling is thick and bubbling.
Remove pie and allow to cool for one hour (or longer) before serving.
Homemade pie crust
(adapted from NY Times)
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp. table salt
2 Tbsp. sugar
12 Tbsp. cold unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/2 cup chilled solid trans-fat free shortening, cut into 4 pieces
1/4 cup vodka, cold
1/4 cup cold water
Process 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, and sugar in food processor until combined, about 2 one-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 15 seconds (dough will resemble cottage-cheese curds, and there should be no uncoated flour). Scrape bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Add remaining cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty mixture into medium bowl.
Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Divide dough into two even balls and flatten each into 4-inch disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.