Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Raspberry Cream Pie with Almond Crust

So, today is Pie Day.  You know, Pi Day.  Pi, as in 3.14.  As in March 14th.   (I explain this only because I’m confident that there are people in the world far less nerdy than I and the rest of the Foodie family.)  I’ll confess that I was a little sad at the thought of not celebrating Pie Day this year, since I have yet to find a gluten-free pie crust that I like.  But then it occurred to me that the bag of almond flour in my refrigerator might yield a pie with a very satisfactory almond flour crust.  A little research suggested that this is, in fact, very simple to put together.  And thus I began to wander down the road that produced this divine concoction:  Raspberry Cream Pie with Almond Crust.

When I was a teenager in the 1970′s and yogurt was an exotic new item on grocery store shelves, I learned to make a quick cream pie from two containers of yogurt and one container of Cool Whip. Times have changed, of course–now there are dozens of yogurt varieties to choose from, and I no longer eat Cool Whip–but that pie was my general inspiration for this one.  I wanted a filling that was light and creamy, not rich and heavy.  After consulting an old recipe for a blackberry tart with a cream cheese filling, I set about creating the raspberry cream mixture for this pie.

I went with raspberries because I found a lovely box of them at Costco this afternoon (though they aren’t in season locally), and because I already had raspberry yogurt on hand.  Feel free to try this recipe with any combination of yogurt and fruit, either in matching or complimentary flavors–I think a filling made with peach yogurt and topped with raspberries would be delicious.  A mixed berry filling topped with raspberries, blackberries and blueberries would be beautiful and tasty.  I used Greek yogurt because it’s non-fat but very creamy.  I also used light sour cream, but regular cream cheese, which gave the filling some stability after it had been chilled.

You’ll need to give the crust plenty of time to cool completely before you fill it, so plan to make the crust early in the day (or even the night before.)  The filled pie will need several hours to chill, so it can set up before serving.  All of which is to say that this isn’t a last-minute recipe, though it is really easy to make–and a perfectly delicious centerpiece for Pi Day.  The Girl and her father were hard pressed to wait until after dinner for the official celebration.

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Raspberry Cream Pie with Almond Crust

Ingredients:

For the crust
1 1/2 cups almond flour
3 T. sugar
3 T. butter, melted

For the filling
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 small container (6 oz.) raspberry Greek yogurt
1/4 cup light sour cream
Fresh raspberries, for topping

Directions:

To make the crust: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly coat a 9-inch pie pan with cooking spray. Set aside. In a medium bowl, combine the almond flour and sugar. Mix well; stir in the melted butter, making sure all the almond flour is coated and no dry flour remains at the bottom. Spread this mixture evenly across the bottom of the prepared pie pan. Using your fingers, press to create an even layer across the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Bake for 10 minutes, until the crust begins to brown at the edges. Cool completely before filling.

To make the filling: Use a mixer to combine the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla. Add the yogurt and sour cream; continue mixing until the filling is smooth. (You can make the raspberry cream without a mixer, but chances are you'll end up with some small pieces of cream cheese in the filling. It will still taste good, but it won't be as smooth.)

Pour the filling into the cooled crust and use the back of a spoon to smooth out the top. Top with fresh raspberries. Chill the filled pie for at least three hours before serving.

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