So, what is there to celebrate in January? My answer for several years now has been: Pie.
Each Jan. 23, The National Pie Council asks all those who enjoy a slice to indulge during National Pie Day. Make a buy. Buy a pie. Share a pie.
Here in Belleville, it's easy to do, though the day has been pushed to Jan. 25 at the downtown Pie Pantry because, well, it's a lot more fun to sit and eat pie on your day off! Annually, the restaurant holds a pie contest (judging at 1 p.m.), plus offers an Unlimited Pie Buffet from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. ($10 for adults and $5 for children). If you take part in the pie contest on Jan. 25, it must be a homemade pie (the crust doesn't have to be from scratch) and include a recipe that will be shared or published. Pies need to be delivered no later than noon to 12:30 p.m. The Pie Pantry is at 310 E. Main St.
If you don't want to wait until Jan. 25, Eckert's Restaurant in Belleville is celebrating National Pie Day on Jan. 23 with $1 desserts. Or, in the Country Store, buy one pie and get a second pie free.
Need some inspiration? Here are two pie recipes.
Strawberry Lime Cheesecake Pie
11 ounces softened cream cheese
1 tablespoon sugar
14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup fresh squeezed lime juice (2-3 limes)
Zest of 1 lime
1 (9-inch) graham cracker crust
1 quart fresh strawberries
1 cup sugar (or to taste)
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
In a large mixing bowl, mix cream cheese and sugar together until creamy. Gradually add condensed milk, vanilla, lime juice and zest.
Pour into crust. Chill for at least four hours.
Wash, hull, slice and slightly crush strawberries. Add sugar and lime juice, then refrigerate.
Slice pie in individual pieces and ladle strawberries over pie.
I'm a little iffy as to whether or not this qualifies as a pie since it really doesn't have a crust. Sounds like a big cookie to me!
Iced Oatmeal-Raisin Cookie Pie
3/4 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned or quick oats (not instant)
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup (about 4 ounces) brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup raisins
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon heavy cream or milk
Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9-inch springform, cake pan or pie plate.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, salt, baking soda and oats; set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until creamy, about 3 minutes.
Beat in egg and vanilla.
Add dry ingredients and beat just until dough is evenly combined.
Use a rubber spatula to fold in raisins.
Scrape batter into prepared dish and use spatula to smooth the top. Bake until golden brown on top and set in the middle, 20-25 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes. If using a springform pan, release it from the pan and let it cool completely before icing.
In a small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar and heavy cream until smooth. Drizzle over pie and serve.