Throwing a pie in someone's face is almost never a good thing, but throwing a pie baking – and pie tasting – party for friends or coworkers, or to raise money for a favorite charity, are all delicious ways to celebrate National Pie Day on Monday, Jan. 23. Why is National Pie Day celebrated on Jan. 23 or 1/23? Because celebrating the wholesome goodness of pie is as easy as 1-2-3!
Other holidays may be marked by a day off from work or aisles full of cards, candy and gifts in the drug stores, but National Pie Day is the only holiday that's all about indulging in America's favorite dessert – pie – and sharing it with friends and loved ones. Although 2011 was officially dubbed "The Year of the Pie," this versatile dessert shows no signs of crumbling in the popularity polls anytime soon. Served warm or cold, sweet or savory, one crust or two, a la mode or a la carte, by the slice or straight from the pan, pie was, and still is, hot, hot, hot.
Which pie should you choose for your National Pie Day party? The pie-sibilities are endless! Will it be one of the 231 varieties of apple pie, the favorite of 36 million Americans? Perhaps pumpkin pie, which was first introduced to the holiday table at the pilgrim's second Thanksgiving in 1623? Or maybe a pecan pie, which is the third most popular choice in our nation of pie lovers?
The American Pie Council® (APC), the only organization committed to maintaining America's pie heritage, offers pie partiers plenty of award-winning recipes on its website. Budding bakers can share some camaraderie around the rolling pin and try their hand at any one of more than 50 recipes from the Annual APC/Crisco® National Pie Championships®, held each spring in Orlando, Florida. These recipes were specially developed by professional and amateur bakers from all over the United States for entry in this prestigious annual competition.
Popular pie party selections might include the Amateur Best in Show winner, the "Royal Macadamia Raspberry Pie" or Professional Best in Show winner, "Engagement Ring Pie," a blueberry-based pie named in honor of Prince William and his bride. Of course, pie purists will find the classics well represented on the website, with plenty of variations for the All-American apple, classic coconut cream, luscious lemon meringue, and many more.
Not a baker? Not a problem. Why not invite a local pastry chef or culinary student to your pie party to teach you and your friends the secret to a perfect crust? Or, just pick up a pie from your neighborhood bakery or supermarket. It's sure to warm up a cold January night and stir up some "oohs" and "aahs" just as well as homemade. You could even pass off a store-bought pie as your own creation ... 7 percent of Americans have!
"Just because the holidays are over doesn't mean the fun and fellowship with friends and family need to end, too," says Linda Hoskins, executive director, American Pie Council. "Throwing a pie party for National Pie Day on Jan. 23, is a great way to beat those post-holiday blues, reconnect with the ones you love, add some fun to the workplace, or perhaps even raise some money for a favorite charity."
Bakers of all skill levels are invited to enter the 18th Annual APC/Crisco® National Pie Championships® to be held April 27-29 in Orlando. Entry forms will be posted soon on the council’s website. Those who prefer to appreciate the nuances of pie without all the work won't want to miss the APC Great American Pie Festival sponsored by Crisco®, featuring the Never Ending Pie Buffet, held April 28-29 in nearby Celebration, Florida.