By Julie Morris, Navitas Organics Executive Chef
When it comes to entertaining, you may feel like you have 99 problems, but pie should never be one. Pie is a classic dish of the wintry season for many reasons: it's easy to make, it's a one-dish kind of dessert and it's the epitome of a crowd pleaser. Even a messy pie is still deemed a delicious success, so there's no need to worry about perfection! And, when made with a little forethought, pie can actually be…dare I say…borderline healthy. (At least for a dessert!)
The trick to a healthier pie is utilizing the concept of ingredient upgrades, such as pureed Cashews instead of dairy cream, Coconut Palm Sugar instead of cane sugar, and allowing your pie filling to err on the side of more fruits or nuts as opposed to processed sweeteners and fats. But pies are also surprisingly conducive to superfood additions, too, which can often add an extra layer of flavor, and certainly a bonus round of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Here's a rundown of some of my favorite pie-meets-superfood combinations:
Apple Pie – Apple pie is pretty much the archetype of all pies, but that doesn't mean you must follow the classic cookbook recipe. In fact, adding in a little bit of dried fruit is a delicious addition to the filling, as the dried fruit will plump up with sweet apple juices as the pie bakes. Try mixing in heart-healthy Mulberries for a raisin-like addition or chopped Goldenberries for a bit of zesty flavor.
Berry Pie – Blueberry pie, strawberry pie, blackberry pie…all these favorites already have a healthy fruit base, but you can amp up the antioxidants ever further by mixing in additional superberries. A generous scoop of Acai Powder goes very well with blueberries, while Maqui Powder can be added to strawberries and blackberries. You may not taste much of a difference, but your body will love the extra anti-aging nutrients.
Pumpkin Pie – With its heavy display of warming spices like cinnamon and ginger, pumpkin pie is perfectly suited for mixing in a little bit of malty-flavored Maca Powder or sweet Lucuma Powder. Both of these superfoods can help enhance energy and increase the mineral content of your dessert.
Pecan Pie – This rich pie is a perfect place to sprinkle some nutty Hemp Seeds into the filling, which blend seamlessly with the pecans. Adding Hemp also means you'll gain extra protein, as well as skin-friendly omega-3 fats.
Cream Pies – Whether it's a banana cream pie, a custard pie, a mousse pie or some kind of triple decker creamy monument, my vote is to consider adding a touch of chocolate. You can go all out by flavoring your cream with Cacao Powder or even just dust the top of your creation with a sprinkle of Cacao. Either way, those extra minerals and feel-good antioxidants are great additions.
For a foolproof universal superfood pie enhancement, simply add some Chia Seeds into the crust – chances are you won't even notice they're there, but they'll give your pie a fiber and calcium boost that's so valuable, it may just warrant having seconds.
Have another kind of pie we haven't covered on your menu? Comment below!