Last-Minute Pantry Pie

The Recipe: Last-Minute Pantry Pie, the easy-easy pie that's so simple to throw together at the last minute with pantry ingredients easily kept on hand for pie on a whim.

The Conversation: Happy Pi Day, people! If you missed the news that today is Pi Day – you know, 3.14 aka March 14th (get it?!) and at least according to Google's Home Page, the 30th anniversary of Pi Day, to boot – then I've got the last-minute recipe for you! (And guess what's in my fridge this very minute!)

Last-Minute Pantry Pie ♥, just five ingredients, all from the pantry, excellent with both canned fruit and fresh fruit.

What's In a Name?

"What's this pie called?" shouted asked my then 90-year old father when he first came to live with us, scraping up the last crumbs of graham cracker with his fork.

I was non-plussed. Pies DO need names, of course, but how in heaven do you put "pie that you can make at the last minute with pantry ingredients like cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk and canned fruit and yet makes people groan with pleasure" into just a few words? Desperation Pie? Last Minute Pie? Pie On a Whim?

For the longest while, we just called it "No Name" Pie, not especially original but I knew, from the smiles and scraping forks, that whatever its name, this easy-easy pie makes my people happy and deserved something better.

Last-Minute Pantry Pie it is, it's got a certain cachet – and I do loovvve alliteration – even if half the time, I make it with fresh fruit not canned fruit from the pantry!

But first, let's back up a bit.

Last-Minute Pantry Pie ♥, just five ingredients, all from the pantry, excellent with both canned fruit and fresh fruit.

Yeah, That Pie Thing Is Still a Thing

It's been ninety weeks now, ninety weeks! That's how long we've been celebrating #PieDayFriday every Friday around here. And when you do a "repetitive exercise" that often, you learn stuff.

Like you're way more apt to make pie if there's a crust in the freezer or if you make the pie in the morning.

But just like the Five O'Clock Scramble to figure out what's for supper, some weeks I wake up Friday morning with no plan, no crust in the freezer and frankly, no ambition either.

Occasionally I bail, announcing at supper, "Sorry, guys. Pie in the sky tonight, I'll do pie tomorrow." My now almost 92-year old father still lives with us and does his best to hide disappointment. "Tomorrow?" he will confirm, pinning me down, guaranteeing I commit.

Last-Minute Pantry Pie ♥, just five ingredients, all from the pantry, excellent with both canned fruit and fresh fruit.

Any Pie Is Better Than the Dream of a Perfect Pie

So I've begun collecting last-minute pie recipes.

Lucky break, "Last-Minute Pantry Pie" can be made almost from air with pantry ingredients – and yet wows people, both here at home and when I carry a pie along to Friday-night dinners with friends.

It calls for – I know, from me, the real food cook – canned fruit.

Fresh fruit is great in this pie, wonderful even, below are the combinations I've tried so far. But fresh fruit complicates my Friday-afternoon pie desperation, it would have to be seasonal, perfectly ripe, there would have to be enough, etc.

So canned fruit it is, not always, but often enough.

Either way, canned fruit or fresh fruit, you'll bring happy smiles (and scraping forks) to the people you love.

Last-Minute Pantry Pie ♥, just five ingredients, all from the pantry, excellent with both canned fruit and fresh fruit.

You'll Like My Pantry Pie If ...

... you're keen on creamy, cheesecake-style pies
... you're short on time but still want to make a pie
... you keep your pantry stocked with certain ingredients all the time
... you love the silence when the people at your table take that first bite of something really good

Easy Summer Recipes ♥, a collection of easy-to-remember and memorable recipes especially for summer. Less cookin'. More livin'. It's the summer's motto!
March's Pi Day is a little early for "summer recipes" but this recipe is so quick and easy
that I'm adding it to a special collection of easy summer recipes
published every summer since 2009.
Watch for new "summer easy" recipes all summer long again this year!
With a free e-mail subscription, you'll never miss a one!


Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time to table: about 2-1/2 hours
Makes 1 deep-dish pie or 1 shallow pie plus 3 mini pies

  • 1 or 2 cans of fruit (mandarin orange, peaches, fruit cocktail, etc.)
  • 8 ounces (225g) low-fat cream cheese (Neufchatel)
  • 14 ounces (400g) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup (125g) heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup (85g) fresh lemon juice

Drain the canned fruit well, reserving the juices for another purpose. (Hello, morning smoothies!) If the fruit pieces are large, cut into bite-size pieces.

In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to whip the cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk on high until very full and smooth, working out all the lumps. Add the cream and continue to whip, the mixture will become even fuller. Mix in the lemon juice and again, it will continue to become fuller.

With a spatula, gently fold in the drained fruit (reserve some fruit for the top, if you like) and pour into the prepared pie shell.

Garnish with reserve fruit and refrigerate for about two hours to firm up the filling.

ALANNA's TIPS Size-wise, cans of fruit are all over the board. Mandarin oranges (a favorite for Last-Minute Pantry Pie) come in 11 ounces so I tend to use two cans. Peaches come in 15-ounce cans and pineapple in 20-ounce cans. You'll want the fruit from about 25 to 30 ounces of canned fruit though don't worry, a single can, even a smallish one, will still work – though you might want to chop up a banana to supplement. It helps if the cream cheese is at room temperature but isn't obligatory, you'll just need to mix it a little longer. Depending on the fruit, the filling makes about 5 cups, that's a lot of filling, even for a deep-dish pie. Some times I make a shallow pie and then a few mini pies on the side. Hmmm, would frozen fruit work? I think so. I'm not sure which would better though, (1) thawing and draining first or (2) folding in the frozen fruit. No cream? No problem. Cool Whip works, about 8 ounces. Just fold it in with the fruit.

Per Slice, assumes 8 slices, My Favorite Graham Cracker Crust and 120g of drained mandarin oranges packed in juice drained from two 11-ounce cans: 452 Calories; 26g Tot Fat; 15g Sat Fat; 59mg Cholesterol; 238mg Sodium; 44g Carb; 1g Fiber; 33g Sugar; 9g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 11 & PointsPlus 12 & SmartPoints 21 Yeah, the calories add up. But all is not lost. Skip the crust and serve the filling in small mason jars. A quarter cup of the filling all by itself adds up to only 117 calories, for Weight Watchers, that's just 3 Old Points or PointsPlus or 6 SmartPoints. It's not pie, per se, but I think you'll find it most satisfying!

LAST-MINUTE PANTRY PIES WITH FRESH FRUIT! Here are the variations I've tried so far.

Last-Minute Pie with Fresh Peaches – Wonderful! I use a full pound of ripe peaches (skins on if they're tender, save a few slices for the top) although with so much wet fruit, the pie slices are a little bit more droopy and don't stand up as straight.
Last-Minute Fresh Mango & Banana Tropical Pie – Wonderful! I used about 8 ounces of mango plus a chopped banana. The banana needed no lemon juice to prevent browning! The banana does mean the pie stays fresh-tasting and fresh-looking though, plan to eat it up within a couple of days.
Last-Minute Pie with Fresh Pineapple – Good! Grate a whole pineapple, you'll end up with about 250g of fruit. This is really good pie but honestly? There is no telling the pineapple is fresh so canned pineapple would work beautifully, just be sure to drain it really well.

More Pies That Provoke Silence & Fork Scraping

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Blueberry Cheesecake Pie Coconut Cream Pie Fresh Strawberry Pie
~ #PieDayFriday ~
~ more pie recipes ~

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Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!

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