Celebrate pie – it’s good for you!

Here’s a real reason to celebrate — pies don’t have to be banned from a healthy diet.

A blueberry-peach custard pie foregoes a top crust where much of the fat hides

A blueberry-peach custard pie foregoes a top crust where much of the fat hides

Here’s a real reason to celebrate — pies don’t have to be banned from a healthy diet.

The problem with many pies is that they are loaded with excess fat and sugar. The crust usually is the biggest culprit, with up to 220 calories and 15 grams of fat per serving.

But the fillings can be trouble as well. Even fruit fillings, which seem healthy enough on the surface, can be hiding more sugar than you think, and sometimes are laced with butter.

Rather than give up your favourite pie, you could take the road of moderation and just enjoy a tiny slice.

The other strategy for keeping pie in your diet is to make one you can feel good about indulging in.

A good place to start is getting rid of the top crust, which immediately lops off a good chunk of fat and calories.

As for the filling, fruit is the right idea, just try to limit the sugar. Consider sweetening fillings with fruit juice concentrates or even purees, such as applesauce or apple butter.

Cream and custard pies, which often are made with full-fat dairy thickened with egg yolks, usually can be made lighter with low-fat milk using cornstarch or tapioca as a thickener.

This single crust blueberry-peach custard pie uses several techniques to produce a more virtuous slice.

Fresh fruit is baked into a light custard made with only two whole eggs, skim milk and non-fat Greek-style yogurt, which adds body and a hint of tanginess that balances the natural sweetness of the fruit.

Blueberry-Peach Custard Pie

Start to finish: 3 hours (15 minutes active)

250 ml (1 cup) sugar

175 ml (3/4 cup) skim milk

175 ml (3/4 cup) non-fat plain Greek-style yogurt

2 large eggs

30 ml (2 tbsp) all-purpose flour

10 ml (2 tsp) cornstarch

1 ml (1/4 tsp) almond extract

Pinch salt

1 purchased refrigerated pie crust

250 ml (1 cup) peeled, sliced peaches

250 ml (1 cup) blueberries

Position a rack in lower third of the oven. Heat oven to 200 C (400 F). Coat a 23-cm (9-inch) pie pan with cooking spray.

Filling: In a medium bowl, combine sugar, milk, yogurt, eggs, flour, cornstarch, almond extract and salt. Whisk until smooth. Set aside.

On a lightly floured surface, roll a sheet of pie crust into a 30-cm (12-inch) circle. Place crust in pie pan and trim so it overhangs evenly by about 2.5 cm (1 inch). Fold edges under and crimp or flute edge with your fingers or a fork. Place pie pan on a baking sheet.

Arrange peaches in the bottom of the crust and top with blueberries in an even layer. Pour filling on top (the fruit will float, but this won’t affect the final results). Bake for 25 minutes.

After the pie has baked for 25 minutes and the filling is beginning to set, remove from oven and cover edges of crust with foil to help prevent over-browning. Reduce heat to 180 C (350 F) and return pie to oven.

Bake until a knife inserted at the centre of the pie comes out clean, another 20 to 25 minutes (the pie may puff up quite a bit but will settle during cooling). Let cool for 1 1/2 hours. Serve warm or refrigerate until cold and serve chilled.

Makes 10 servings.

Nutrition information per serving: 200 calories; 58 calories from fat; 6 g fat (3 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 41 mg cholesterol; 34 g carbohydrate; 4 g protein; 1 g fibre; 163 mg sodium.