I Ate Some Pi(e)

Pi Day 2019: It’s mathematically delicious!

We are fast approaching an international holiday that has true cross demographic appeal. 

No, not Washington’s birthday. Not Mardi Gras or St. Patrick’s Day or the Ides of March (I’m pretty sure Caesar would agree that that day could go pound sand). Not even the well-loved Margarita Day (Feb 22) or the (perhaps unfairly) maligned Dentists’ Day garner this kind of acclaim.

No, we are approaching that venerable, esteemed holiday of… Pi Day. 

Yes, March 14 (3.14)…that magical day when S.T.E.M fans, sci fi geeks, mathematicians, wordplay lovers, and foodies (of any variety) unite in celebration of the symbolic representation of the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter…and tasty, delicious, sweet and savory pies of any stripe.

Join us as we mark this wonderful day (oh, who are we kidding? Let’s celebrate the whole week!) with some fabulous types of pies in honor of 3.14159265358979323846264338327950288419716939937510582097494459230781640628620899862…


Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse Pie 

 Light and airy…yet rich, decadent, and dreamy.  This gorgeous dessert is surprisingly easy—especially if you have a mixer on hand! And who doesn’t love peanut butter, chocolate, caramel, AND cookies…all in one place?  
For the crust:
20 chocolate sandwich cookies (regular-stuffed, filling intact)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the filling:
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup salted caramel sauce, store-bought or homemade
For the peanut butter whipped cream:
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Additional caramel sauce, for drizzling
Additional peanut butter, melted, for drizzling
Additional semisweet chocolate, melted, for drizzling
Garnishes…peanuts, peanut butter cups, cookie crumbles, whatever your heart (and tummy!) desires! 
For the crust:
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9-inch pie pan with cooking spray.
2. Place the sandwich cookies in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely ground (You can also crush with a mortar and pestle or in a zippered bag with a rolling pin). 
3. Add in the melted butter and pulse or mix until moistened. 
4. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pie dish.
5. Bake for 10 minutes, or until fragrant and set. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
For the filling:
1. In a microwave-safe bowl, heat the chocolate on high in 30 second intervals, stirring between each interval, until melted and smooth. Let cool.
2. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment to beat the cream until soft peaks form.
3. On medium speed, gradually add the caramel and continue whipping until medium-stiff peaks form. 
4. Gently fold in the cooled melted chocolate until combined. Pour into cookie crust and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours.
For the topping:
1. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment to beat the cream until thickened. Add the peanut butter, sugar, and vanilla and beat on high speed until soft peaks form.
2. Spread the cream evenly over the mousse layer. At this point you can refrigerate overnight if desired.
3. Just before serving, drizzle with caramel sauce and/ or chocolate sauce, and sprinkle with any additional toppings.

Adapted from Handle the Heat 



 Sweet and Sassy Strawberry Mini Pies

The sweetness of strawberries and vanilla cream is balanced by zingy lemon filling. For a twist, feel free to experiment with other fruits—blueberries, raspberries, or even kiwi slices also are excellent choices.

You can use a individual mini-pie tins, a six-cavity pie pan, or even large muffin cups. Just be sure to cut the size of your dough to fit, and let pan cool completely between rounds. (If you are so inclined, you can also make one big pie).

For the pastry crusts:
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 (14.1-oz.) packages refrigerated piecrusts
For the creamy lemon filling:
1 1/2 (8-oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon sour cream
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
For the strawberry topping:
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped fresh strawberries
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon butter
10 cup hulled fresh strawberries
For the vanilla cream:
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons powdered sugar 
For the crust:
1. Preheat oven to 425°. 
2. Sprinkle work surface with 1 Tbsp. powdered sugar. Roll 1 piecrust into a 12 1/2-inch circle on surface, and cut into 3 (6-inch) rounds (this may change depending on the size of your tins). 
3. Repeat with remaining 3 piecrusts and 3 Tbsp. powdered sugar to make 12 rounds. 
4. Fit 6 rounds, sugar sides down, into each mold of a 6-cavity mini pie pan; fold edges under, and crimp. Prick bottom and sides with a fork. 
5. Chill remaining 6 rounds.
6. Bake at 425° for 8 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack 5 minutes. Remove crusts from pan to wire rack, and cool completely. 
7. Let pan cool completely. Repeat procedure with remaining piecrust rounds.
For the creamy lemon filling:
1. Beat cream cheese and sour cream at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. 
2. Add 1/2 cup granulated sugar and next 2 ingredients; beat until smooth and fluffy. 
3. Spread about 2 1/2 Tbsp. filling into each cooled piecrust; cover with plastic wrap, and chill until ready to serve (up to 24 hours).
For the strawberry topping:
1. Process 1 1/2 cups chopped strawberries in a blender or food processor until smooth, and press through a wire-mesh strainer into a 3-qt. saucepan, using back of a spoon to squeeze out juice; discard pulp. 
2. Stir 1 cup granulated sugar into juice in pan.
3. Whisk together cornstarch and 1/4 cup water; gradually whisk cornstarch mixture into strawberry mixture. 
4. Bring to a boil over medium heat, and cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute. 
5. Remove from heat, and whisk in butter. 
6. Cool 15 minutes.
7. Toss together strawberry mixture and 10 cups hulled strawberries gently in a large bowl until coated. (Halve some berries; leave others whole.) Cover; chill 3 hours or until cold.
For the vanilla cream:
1. Beat heavy cream and vanilla at medium-high speed until foamy; gradually add powdered sugar, beating until soft peaks form.
2. Assemble pies
3. Spoon about 1/2 cup Strawberry Topping into each pie; top with Vanilla Cream. Serve immediately.
Adapted from MyRecipes.com 


Key Lime and Praline Pie

Cool, refreshing, and delicious, this creamy Key lime pie is fun twist on an old favorite with the addition of pecans and caramel. A true treat filled with Southern flair! 

1 1/4 cups chopped pecans
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons jarred caramel topping
2 (14-oz.) cans sweetened condensed milk
6 egg yolks
2 teaspoons Key lime or lime zest
1 cup fresh Key lime or lime juice
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through.
2. Stir together graham cracker crumbs, next 2 ingredients, and 1/2 cup toasted pecans until blended. 
3. Take a lightly greased, 10-inch deep-dish pie plate and press crumb mixture on bottom, up sides, and onto lip.
4. Bake at 350° for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven to a wire rack, and cool completely (about 45 minutes).
5. Sprinkle remaining 3/4 cup toasted pecans over bottom of crust; drizzle caramel topping over pecans.?
6. Whisk together sweetened condensed milk and next 3 ingredients. Gently pour into prepared crust.
7. Bake at 350° for 20 to 25 minutes or until almost set. (The center will not be firm but will set up as it chills.) 
8. Cool completely on a wire rack (about 1 hour). Cover and chill 4 hours.
9. Beat whipping cream at high speed with an electric mixer until foamy; gradually add powdered sugar, beating until soft peaks form. Dollop or spread over pie. (You can also use regular, aerosol whipped cream).
10. Garnish with lime slices and/or zest.
Adapted from MyRecipes.com



To-may-to To-mah-to Pie

Easy, delicious, and bursting with the flavors of a sun-drenched Italian countryside, this tomato pie is as good to look at as it is to eat. The cheeses are just a suggestion—feel free to mix and match! We like to combine a good “melty” cheese with a couple of sharper ones. 
4 tablespoons butter
2 whole large onions, halved and sliced thin
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 whole store-bought pie crusts (or 1 good sized homemade crust)
1-1/2 cup grated fontina cheese (or Monterey jack)
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1/4 cup grated gruyere (or Swiss)
At least 3 cups cherry, grape, or other small tomatoes (we like orange sun sugar and yellow pear—but any varieties work…all the better for the colorful look), washed and dried (more if needed)
1 whole egg
1/4 cup milk
16 whole basil leaves for garnish (you can also use arugula or other greens to make it more of a warm salad)
1. Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the butter, onions, salt, and pepper and cook for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are a translucent golden brown. Set aside.
2. Preheat the oven to 450°.
3. Smush both pie crusts into a ball, knead it around a bit to combine them, then roll it out into one large, thin crust. Lay onto a shallow quarter sheet pan, a tart pan, or cut in half and use 2 standard pie pans.
4. Sprinkle on the cheeses in a single layer, then lay on the caramelized onions, then sprinkle the tomatoes over the cheese. 
5. Mix together the egg and milk in a small bowl and brush egg wash all over the crust around the edge of the pie. 
6. Bake pie for 15 to 18 minutes, watching carefully to make sure the crust doesn't burn. (The tomatoes should be starting to burst apart, with some dark/roasted areas on the skin, and the crust should be deep golden brown.) If the crust is getting brown too fast, reduce the heat to 425°. 
7. Remove the pie from the oven and allow it to sit for 5 minutes. 
8. Garnish with basil or other greens.
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman



Shepherd’s Hand Pies

Flaky, buttery, hearty, and delicious. These savory hand pies are great for a party, or for a cozy night in. They taste like you’ve worked all day on them—but can be ready in a snap! Feel free to swap out the brisket for meat or protein of your choice.

Makes about 6 pies. 

2 tablespoons olive oil
½ white onion, diced
2 russet potatoes, peeled, diced
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
½ tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1 cup mixed bag of frozen peas, corn and carrots
½ cup beef broth
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup brisket (or meat of choice), cooked, shredded
4 (12-inch) pie crusts
1 tablespoon butter, melted, for brushing 
1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion, potatoes, salt, pepper, thyme, and rosemary. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until onions are translucent and potatoes are softened. Add frozen peas, corn, and carrots.
3. Add broth; bring to a simmer. Fold flour into the mixture. The mixture should thicken. Add meat. Cook for 5 minutes or until all ingredients are heated through. Remove from heat.
4. Cut raw pie crusts into circles approximately 5 inches in diameter (you can also use rectangles, if you are working with a rectangular crust). 
5. Fill the center of each crust with the potato mixture. Do not overstuff – you will have some mixture leftover (all the better for snacking!). Fold over the crusts to create a half-circle and press the edges together with your fingers. Decorate the edges by pressing with a fork, if desired. Brush the top of each pie with melted butter.
6. Line each hand pie evenly over the prepared baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes or until crusts are golden brown.
Adapted from Honest Cooking


Grilled Pizza Pie

What’s everyone’s favorite pie? PIZZA. There’s no such thing as a bad one, and we all know there are no rules to pizza (take THAT, math!)! Here’s a grilled version that is chewy and delicious. Toppings can be as varied as you like—just be careful not to overload it, or it will get soggy.

Pizza dough (make your own, or use storebought)
Olive oil
Toppings of your choice* 
1. Preheat and oil the grill.
2. Roll out pizza dough on a surface lightly oiled with olive oil. Being careful not to tear it, stretch the dough out…make a circle, a wedge, an oval, a rectangle, or a gingerbread man…whatever shape you like! 
3. Place the dough directly on the grill grates over med-low heat. 
4. Grill the dough until the bottom is crisp and has a slight char. Carefully flip the dough over using a spatula and immediately top the pizza with sauce and ingredients. 
5. Close/cover the grill and cook until the cheese is melted and beginning to bubble.
Ingredients shown in the photo example:
Fresh herbs (thyme and torn basil) 
Shredded mozzarella
Sauce (roasted tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, torn basil, pinch of salt and sugar blended in food processor until relatively smooth)
*Looking for topping inspirations? Try these variations from Delish, or these from Thrillist.

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