It might seem hard to believe that a day to celebrate pies exists but it does. Originating in Colorado, America in the 1970’s and still going strong, National Pie Day is today sponsored by none other than the American Pie Council. Yep, that council really does exist too.
As lovers of all things health and wellness, it may seem curious for us to be focusing on pies. Allow us a moment to explain … and Happy National Pie Day by the way!
First up, let’s be clear and put our cards on the table: we are not about to suggest that you should substitute the proverbial apple a day for pie to keep the doctor at bay.
It is however important to acknowledge that moderation and balance are two crucial components of long-term health. To be successful, wellness goals should also incorporate periods of simple relaxation and utter enjoyment.
It is easy to get so worked up into a fitness regime that you feel genuinely repulsed at the thought of eating a fat laden, high calorie treat like sweet pie even once in a year. Such an extreme level of aversion is arguably as bad for your mental health as eating pie every day would be for your physical condition.
Protecting and maintaining a state of good health requires focus on both the physical and mental aspects of your lifestyle. Getting your overall calorie intake right is just as important as having mindfulness about what is going on in the world around you.
Emotions, such as happiness, pleasure or even a sense of belonging, arise when our brain cells release neurochemicals. That feeling of pleasure you experience when eating a gourmet Steak & Stilton pie comes from your brain releasing dopamine, the ‘feel-good’ hormone.
Maintaining the correct balance of happy hormones in our bodies is essential to continuing good health. Scientific studies have shown that abnormally low dopamine levels can lead to depression, fatigue and even Parkinson’s Disease.
So put aside calorie counting for National Pie Day and focus instead on a moment of pleasure seeking foodie indulgence to improve happniess levels. Don’t live a little ... live a lot!
Weighing in at just under 1,000 calories per slice, this pie is not for the faint-hearted. But occasionally the healthiest thing we can do for ourselves is to simply stop worrying and be carefree and happy. Raise your dopamine levels through the roof with this indulgent once a year treat!
For the pastry:
200g ice cold butter
100g ice cold lard
1 tsp salt
For the filling:
4 medium eggs
180g caster sugar
150g golden syrup
130g maple syrup
90g softened butter
180g pecan nuts
Begin by preparing the pastry. Sift the flour and a level teaspoon of salt into a mixing bowl and then using your fingers break up the ice-cold butter and lard into the flour until a crumbly mixture is achieved.
Sprinkle in just enough cold water (3 – 4 spoons is usually sufficient) to transform the mixture into a workable dough. Now whilst our deep tissue massage therapists love a spot of deep kneading, this particular dough simply needs to be folded twice over itself and wrapped in cling film. Leave to rest in a warm place for about half an hour. The dough, not you.
After 30 minutes, unwrap and roll out the dough to the thickness of a pound coin. Cover the base and sides of a lightly buttered pie dish and keep cool in the fridge whilst you prepare the filling.
For the filling, whisk together the rest of the ingredients except the pecans until you obtain a smooth mixture. Lightly fold in half the pecan nuts and pour the gooey mixture into the chilled crust. Arrange the remaining nuts over the top of the pie to form a pretty pattern. Bake at 180°C in a fan assisted oven for about 30 minutes or until the pie is set.
This National Pie Day recipe is best served warm with a dollop of vanilla ice cream. Before you get carried away loading up on pecan pie to boost happy hormone levels, bear in mind that dopamine is also the same hormone that doctors believe is responsible for causing addictions. All good things in moderation!