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Video: Al and Willie pick the best healthy holiday pie

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    >> we're back with another edition of too good to be healthy. we asked you to send in your healthiest holiday pie recipes. we now narrowed it down to three finalists to compete for the grand prize .

    >> they're the best in the land. they are here to lead us through the tasting along with nutritionist joy bauer. good morning everyone.

    >> quite the competition.

    >> it's a smack down.

    >> pie this time of the year is a must have but a regular slice clocks in at 500 calories. that's before you include the whipped cream or ice cream . but i'm telling you this because you're going to be amazed at this small amount of calories in these competitive gal's pies and the huge taste.

    >> huge.

    >> let's start with megan's pumpkin buy.

    >> pumpkin pie .

    >> her secret weapon is dates. she purees dates which are tweet and sticky. in the trust with pecans and oats and a little bit of cinnamon. everything comes together. this is one slice. we spit it for you to try and you to try.

    >> that's a pretty good helping.

    >> yeah, one slice is only, remember, an original slice of pie is about 500. this is 215 calories.

    >> megan, how did you come up with this?

    >> well, i have a food blog i created for my family and friends to show them that eating healthy can be delicious and easy. my family loves it during the holidays so i wanted to make a pie healthy to eat.

    >> and a dessert that delivers seven grams of fiber.

    >> okay, lauren . now tell us about this.

    >> so these are mini apple cranberry pies and i love the automatic portion control because you cannot cut yourself a huge slice of pie. start to finish, one of these delicious babies are only 170 calories.

    >> wow.

    >> what you can't see is there is a crust here and she works in crushed cinnamon graham cracker with chopped pecans. and the filling is just a mix of sweet apples and tart cranberries.

    >> yummy.

    >> and the topping is the best.

    >> how did you come up with this.

    >> i'm a registered dietitian and i like to cook healthy for my family and my for friends and i thought this would be a fun way to eat something healthy. it's portion control . and delicious. so the sweet and the tart together makes it really great.

    >> that's really good.

    >> all three of these ladies are fellow health nuts. registered dietitian . register dietitian, health nut .

    >> last but not least, sandy.

    >> this is her pear pie. look at this. this looks like a pie you would buy at an expensive bakery.

    >> this is art work.

    >> what she uses for the crust is whole wheat pastry flour. some people try regular whole wheat for crust and it's too coarse. this works beautifully. because she is using sweet pears, she can really minimize the sugar. there's hardly any sugar in there. gorgeous. one gigantic slice. it's two of these together. only 200 calories.

    >> come on.

    >> why did you choose pears?

    >> pears are seasonal. this is the time of year for pears. they're sweet on their owns so when you cut back the sugar you want to have the sweetness of the pears.

    >> she is famous for this pie. her family and friends are waiting for it.

    >> they also look at the pie first.

    >> what's the prize here, joy? because we have to decide a winner.

    >> jerry has a lovely basket.

    >> it's a basket of goodies with all things for baking and i signed a cook book and also they literally --

    >> joy, we have to talk here.

    >> and all three recipes are going to be featured on our site.

    >> i'm a little tense.

    >> here we go.

    >> a long deliberation. we decide that while all three of these are delicious in their own special way.

    >> yes.

    >> we're going right here with lauren .

    >> lauren .

    >> congratulations. here you go. congratulations.

    >> merry christmas to you all. that was a tough one.

TODAY recipes
updated 12/17/2013 2:15:52 PM ET 2013-12-17T19:15:52

Recipe: Pumpkin pie

  • For crust:
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1 cup dates, pitted
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/4 cup flax
  • 1 cup dates, pitted (+1 cup water)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • For filling:
  • 1 can pumpkin
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup almond milk, unsweetened
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ginger

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Soak dates for both crust and filling in boiling water for 10 minutes. (Make sure the dates for the filling are soaking in 1 cup of water).

3. Drain dates for the crust and pulse in a food processor with remaining crust ingredients until thoroughly combined. Press into the bottom and up the sides of a pie pan.

4. Add dates and soaking water for filling to food processor and blend until smooth. Whisk eggs and add to food processor with remaining filling ingredients. Blend until smooth.

5. Pour filling into crust and bake for 40 minutes.

6. Let cool for an hour at room temperature. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving to allow pie to set up. 

Recipe: Pear tart/pie

  • Tart shell:
  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 8 tablespoons vegan buttery spread, chilled (Earth Balance)
  • 1 egg (or egg white)
  • Filling:
  • 4 firm pears
  • 2 tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey

To make shell:

1. Put 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour, 1/2 cup all purpose flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Whirl to combine ingredients.

2. Cut the buttery spread into small pieces and add to the bowl of the food processor. Pulse until the flour is moistened and buttery spread is evenly distributed. Add the egg or egg white and process until smooth. Do not over process.

3. Measure out 1/3 cup of the dough and set aside. Place the remainder of the dough into an 11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the dough onto the bottom and sides of the tart pan to an even thickness. You can patch sides as needed.

4. Peel, core and slice pears from stem end to bottom, about 1/2 inch thickness. Mix the flour, cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl. Stir flour mixture into the pears and gently coat the fruit.

5. Place the pear slices in the tart shell going around the outside in a circular pattern, keeping them close together. Reverse the pattern of the pears to fill the inside of the tart.

6. Mix the lemon juice and the honey. Pour evenly over the fruit.  Sprinkle the remaining dough evenly over the tart.

7. Place tart on the middle shelf of a 400 degree oven for 45 minutes or until crust is golden and fruit is bubbling.

Serving Size

Makes 8 to 10 servings

Recipe: Apple cranberry mini pies

  • For crust:
  • 10 cinnamon graham cracker sheets (1 1/2 cups crushed )
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons milk, fat-free
  • For filling:
  • 3 medium (4 small) apples, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup cranberries, fresh
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/8 cup orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons corn starch
  • For topping:
  • 1/4 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons milk, fat-free
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Fill 12 cup muffin tin with muffin liners.

2. To make crust. Crumble graham crackers and pecans in food processor, add oil and milk and combine until smooth. Evenly fill muffin tins with 3 tablespoons of crust mixture. Press crust mixture down evenly into muffin cups. Bake crust in preheated oven for 5 minutes. Once cooked remove and let cool while preparing the pie filling and topping.

3. To make filling. Combine apples, cranberries, orange zest and cinnamon. In a separate dish, mix cornstarch with orange juice to dissolve. Pour orange juice mixture and maple syrup over fruit mixture and combine. Evenly fill pre-cooked crusts with fruit mixture. 

4. To make topping. Mix together all topping ingredients and then sprinkle over the top of the fruit mixture.

5. Bake mini pies in oven for 25 to 30 minutes.   

Serving Size

Makes 12 individual pies

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