Today is National Pie Day. Pies have been around since ancient Rome and Egypt. These pies were sometimes made in “reeds” which were used for the sole purpose of holding the filling and not for eating with the filling.
The American Pie Council has the following “pie history” on their website:
The Romans must have spread the word about pies around Europe as the Oxford English Dictionary notes that the word pie was a popular word in the 14th century. The first pie recipe was published by the Romans and was for a rye-crusted goat cheese and honey pie.
The early pies were predominately meat pies. Pyes (pies) originally appeared in England as early as the twelfth century. The crust of the pie was referred to as “coffyn”. There was actually more crust than filling. Often these pies were made using fowl and the legs were left to hang over the side of the dish and used as handles. Fruit pies or tarts (pasties) were probably first made in the 1500s. English tradition credits making the first cherry pie to Queen Elizabeth I.
Pie came to America with the first English settlers. The early colonists cooked their pies in long narrow pans calling them “coffins” like the crust in England. As in the Roman times, the early American pie crusts often were not eaten, but simply designed to hold the filling during baking. It was during the American Revolution that the term crust was used instead of coffyn.
So, how can you celebrate this wonderful day without loading on fat and calories? We found a great recipe for a Low-Fat Lemon Meringue Pie on the “Hungry Girl” web site and want to share it here with you. Go ahead and indulge in our favorite fruit today!
Low-Fat Lemon Meringue Pie
Serving Size: 1 slice (1/8th of pie)
PointsPlus® value 5*
HG Alternatives: Replace all the Splenda with an equal amount of additional granulated white sugar; each serving will have 265 calories, 59.5g carbs, and 43.5g sugars (PointsPlus® value 7*). Or replace all the sugar with the same amount of extra Splenda; then each serving will have 125 calories, 22g carbs, and 1.5g sugars (PointsPlus® value 3*).
1 cup Fiber One Original bran cereal
2 sheets (8 crackers) low-fat honey graham crackers, broken into pieces
3 tbsp. Splenda No Calorie Sweetener (granulated)
1/4 cup light whipped butter or light buttery spread (like Brummel & Brown)
1/3 cup fat-free liquid egg substitute (like Egg Beaters Original)
1/2 cup Splenda No Calorie Sweetener (granulated)
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup liquid egg whites (about 4 egg whites)
1/8 tsp. cream of tartar
1/4 cup Splenda No Calorie Sweetener (granulated)
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9″ pie pan with nonstick spray.
To make the crust, in a blender or food processor, grind cereal and graham cracker pieces into crumbs. Transfer to a medium bowl, and mix in Splenda.
In a small microwave-safe bowl, microwave butter and 2 tbsp. water for 30 seconds, or until butter has melted. Add to the medium bowl and thoroughly mix. Evenly distribute mixture along the bottom of the pie pan, using your hands or a flat utensil to firmly press and form the crust. Press it into the edges and up along the sides of the pan.
Bake until firm, about 10 minutes. Remove pan from oven, and reduce temperature to 325 degrees.
While crust cools, to make the filling, pour egg substitute into a medium-large bowl; set aside. In a small pot, combine Splenda, sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Add 1 1/2 cups water, and stir to dissolve cornstarch. Set heat to medium and, stirring often, cook until mixture has thickened to a gel-like consistency, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat.
Remove 1/2 cup of the thickened mixture from the pot. While whisking the egg substitute in the bowl, slowly add the 1/2 cup of thickened mixture to the bowl in spoonfuls.
Gently stir contents of the bowl into the mixture in the pot. Set heat to low. Cook and stir until well mixed and very thick, 1 – 2 minutes. Carefully add lemon juice and stir until just mixed. Transfer filling to the pie crust.
To make the meringue, quickly set out all measured ingredients. In a large bowl, combine egg whites with cream of tartar. With an electric mixer set to high speed, beat until fluffy and slightly stiff, about 3 minutes. Continue to beat while gradually adding Splenda, sugar, and vanilla extract. Beat until fully blended and stiff peaks form, 2 – 3 minutes.
Evenly spread meringue over the exposed filling without covering the edges of the pan. Bake until meringue is cooked through and lightly browned, 10 – 12 minutes.
Allow to cool completely, at least 2 1/2 hours. Slice and enjoy! (P.S. Refrigerate leftovers.)
MAKES 8 SERVINGS