Project Pie: Vegan Shepherd's Pie

While having lunch with a friend a few weeks ago, the conversation turned to dessert, as always happens with the best conversations. And my friend and I both agreed that the most marvelous desserts are those that end with the word pie. Cherry pie. Apple pie. Key lime pie. Chocolate mousse pie. Pecan pie.

Before I go full Forrest Gump on this, I think we can all just agree that pie is delicious.

Even if you are someone who would choose a seven layer cake over a blueberry pie, there's no one out there who would claim to not like pie, right? Actually, don't answer that question. I don't want to know.

So I've had pie on the mind, and then all the sudden, it was Pi Day, and my social media/phone addiction became intimately linked with a desire for anything baked in a deep round dish. Every time I pulled up a feed, there was another picture of a pie.

You would think this is the part of the story where I share about how I rushed into the kitchen and prepared some fruity goodness with a flaky crust, but here's the thing: I'm afraid of making pie.

The crust intimidates me. The possibility of a lot of effort and a terrible outcome seems significant. Especially when you throw in the fact that I'm often working with some odd assortment of alternative ingredients. It has to be whole wheat or egg-less or vegan or made without refined sugars. Or (E) all of the above. And the panic sets in. What if it sticks to the pan? What if the crust crumbles and falls apart? What if the filling is too liquid and pours all over the pan when I cut the first piece?

To avoid anxiety attacks, I've avoided pies.

But lately I've gotten kind of tired of avoiding things that intimidate me. I'm not jumping out of planes or anything, but I think anxiety is a pretty lame reason for me not to be eating more pie. I mean, if I were anxious that the pie was going to kill me or something, that would be different. But worried that I won't get it perfectly right?

Not a good reason to limit my intake of homemade goodness.

Hence the introduction of Project Pie.

From now until the next Pi Day, I will make 24 pies. I figure two pies a month is something my hands (and my belly) can handle. Feel free to join in if you're needing a little more pie in your life.

The rules are:
1. Make some pies.
2. Don't cry if they're not perfect.

And since I'm in favor of baby steps on the path to pie baking euphoria, I started with something simple - this vegan shepherd's pie from Minimalist Baker. No pesky crust to worry about. Just lentils and veggies topped with mashed potatoes. What could go wrong with that? Absolutely nothing. It was delicious.

And now that I've got Pie #1 under my belt, I'm looking forward to testing the waters a little with something more courageous next time.

Stay tuned.

p.s. Make these pistachio and coconut stuffed dates dipped in chocolate. Enjoy them for me.