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January Party

Random Acts of Pie-ness!

(ARA) - Pie is the ultimate comfort food. Whether your favorite is traditional apple, summery berry, tangy lemon or rich chocolate, there's something very all-American about this delicious treat. And here's a great reason to enjoy your favored flavor -- January 23 is National Pie Day.

In honor of National Pie Day, the American Pie Council (APC) encourages people from all walks of life to perform random acts of pieness: share a pie with a loved one, surprise someone with a pie, or do a good deed with a pie. Here are some ideas for celebrating National Pie Day:

* Buy an extra pie at your local grocery store and give it to the person behind you in line. Or, hand out pie slices to strangers and encourage them to do the same for others. It could spread the peace on earth and goodwill to mankind that we all hope for.

* Indulge your co-workers and bring some pie to work -- you'll create a lot of good rapport and maybe even get a raise.

* Know someone special who deserves some thanks? What better way to say thank you than with a warm hug wrapped in a delicious crust?

* Reach out to neighbors you haven't met and bring them some pie to share while you get to know each other and fill them in on the neighborhood.

* Invite the "apple pie of your eye" for some pie and get to know each other better. But make it chocolate -- most Americans believe it's the most romantic pie according to a survey by Four Points by Sheraton. Before long, you may be calling each other "sweetie pie."

* Share the love and share favorite memories with family over pie. Spend extra time with your kids by making pie with them and showing them how it's done.

* Host a pie potluck and have everyone bring their favorite pie, then exchange recipes.

* Hold a charity pie-throwing or pie-eating contest or a pie auction. You can donate the proceeds to your local community food bank.

* Register for the 2007 APC/Crisco National Pie Championships being held April 20-22 in Orlando, Fla. You can find entry forms at www.piecouncil.org.

* Perform a random act of pieness on yourself and enjoy your favorite pie on National Pie Day.

If you have a standby favorite, you're all set. If you're new to pie-baking, or if you just want to try a new recipe, here are two award-winning recipes from the 2006 APC/Crisco National Pie Championships. For more recipes, pie trivia, and information on how to become an APC member, visit www.piecouncil.org.

CLASSIC CHERRY PIEe
By Valerie Enters

Pie Crust
2 cups flour
1/2 cup Butter Flavored Crisco shortening
1/4 cup butter
3 teaspoons powdered sugar
1/4 cup ice water
2 teaspoons vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg

Blend Crisco, flour, powdered sugar, butter and salt. Cut flour until it resembles cornmeal. Beat egg, blend in vinegar and water, sprinkle over flour mixture. Toss with fork. Chill before rolling. Roll out two pie shells and place one in a 9-inch pie tin. Reserve the second for top crust.

Filling
4 cups drained Morello cherries (Trader Joe brand), reserve juice
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 tablespoons quick cooking Tapioca
Pinch salt
1 1/3 cups juice (reserved from cherries)
Tiny dab of red gel food coloring (Wilton)

Completely mix together all ingredients except cherries. Add cherries and pour into a pie shell. Cover with top crust and bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until golden.

Chocolate Caramel Nut Pie
By Todd Welveart

Pie Crust
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup Butter Flavored Crisco
1/2 pinch of salt
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Chocolate Layer
6 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 pinch of salt
4 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup butter, diced
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 egg white
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Snickers bar (super sized), thinly sliced, about 1/4-inch thick

Cream Cheese Layer
9 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 ounces Macadamia nuts (diced finely, toasted in oven)

Garnish
2 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

Pie crust:
Mix flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Cut in Crisco with a pastry blender. Mix water and vinegar in a spray bottle, and add 3 or 4 ice cubes to keep water mixture cold. Spray flour mixture lightly with water solution mix to combine. Repeat just until pie crust comes together. Put crust in a Ziploc bag and bring together into a circle. Place in refrigerator for 10 minutes. Pull crust out of the refrigerator and roll out to pan size. Poke holes in the bottom as well as the sides of the crust. Bake at 375 degrees for 7 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes.

Chocolate Layer:
In a medium mixing bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt. Mix well. In a double boiler, melt semisweet chocolate and 1/2 cup butter, stir until smooth. Cool for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, beat sugar, whole egg and egg white in a medium bowl until slightly thickened. To this mixture, add vanilla and cooled chocolate. Mix until well blended. Stir in dry ingredient mixture and mix until just combined. Pour mixture into crust and bake in a 375 degree oven for about 19 minutes. Cool on rack for 10 minutes. Place candy mixture (sliced Snickers bars) on top.

Cream cheese layer:
In a mixing bowl beat cream cheese and sugar until blended. Add vanilla extract and beat until smooth. Spread mixture over candy bars, add Macadamia nuts over cream cheese and bake for 20 minutes, or until set. Cook on rack.

Garnish:
In a small sauce pan, stir chocolate and whipping cream over low heat until smooth. Drizzle over pie. Refrigerate and serve chilled.
Courtesy of ARA Content

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Sports Posters
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