Pi(e) Day 2022
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…
Attention sweet tooths out there: this no-bake, classic British dessert is for you. Banoffee pie is an ultra-rich blend of shortbread, toffee, bananas (hence the banoffee name), and whipped cream. To temper some of the sweet, you can top with a smattering of bittersweet or dark chocolate shavings. (Bananas? Dark chocolate? This is basically health food, right???)
For the filling:
For the topping:
1. Make the crust: Place the cookies in a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Pulse to fine crumbs, about 10 to 12 (1-second) pulses. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture looks wet and holds together when pressed. Transfer the crumbs to a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Using the bottom of a heavy drinking glass, press the crust firmly and evenly onto the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
2. Make the filling: Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the brown sugar, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, and salt and bring to a boil. Boil, stirring continuously, until the mixture is dark, about 2 minutes.
3. Fill and chill: Pour the filling into the prepared crust and smooth into an even layer. Refrigerate again for 1 hour.
4. Whip the cream: When ready to serve, whip the cream with an electric hand mixer or by hand in a bowl with a whisk to stiff peaks, about 5 minutes on medium speed. You can sweeten the cream with 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar, but keep in mind that the toffee filling is quite sweet.
5. Garnish the pie: Slice the bananas and place evenly on top of the pie. Dollop on the whipped cream and garnish with shaved chocolate, if desired.
Adapted from The Kitchn
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...and we also won't judge if you keep it all for yourself).
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.
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 My Recipes
Chocolate Chip Skillet Pie
Some people call them skillet cookies, others call them pizookies. We call them delicious. A sumptuous cookie/pie/cake hybrid this is almost as easy to make as it is to eat. Use a 12-inch skillet (instructions here) for a chewier, more cookie-like dessert...or use a smaller 10-inch pan (with shorter cooking time) for a taller, more cake-like cookie pie (how's that for a creative description that covers all of your sweet-treat bases?).
1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease a 12-inch cast iron skillet and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine melted butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar. Stir until smooth. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and mix until combined.
3. Add the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt. Stir until flour disappears. Stir in the chocolate chips.
4. Spread batter evenly in prepared cast iron skillet. Sprinkle the top with a little sea salt. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until golden brown. Don't over bake, you want the cookie to be slightly gooey. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire cooling rack for 10-15 minutes. Serve warm, topped with ice cream, if desired.
Note: You can use a 10" skillet for a taller, fluffier pizookie; be sure to adjust cook time.
Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod
Savory Pies (aka PIE, not just for dessert)
Portable Shepherd's Pie
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. (This recipe makes about 6 pies, depending on fill level)
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.
We have potatoes. We have bacon. We have cheese. We have magic. Magic and math, thanks to Pi Day. Go ahead. Indulge. Side note...the original recipe calls for roblechon cheese, which can prove elusive for many people. Camembert or brie work equally well.
2. In a large cast-iron or saute pan, cook the bacon over medium-high heat until browned and crispy. Drain on paper towels and set aside.
3. Drain all but 1 tbsp of the bacon fat from the pan and add in the onion. Cook over medium-high heat until browned, about 5 minutes. Add in the bacon and the wine and cook an additional 5 minutes. Add in the potatoes and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
4. If you've cooked this in a the pan you will transfer directly to the oven (e.g. cast iron pan), temporarily remove half of the potato mixture from the pan, and layer on half of the cheese to the half you left behind. Add back in the remaining potatoes, and the rest of the cheese. If you're not using a cast iron pan or a pan that can go directly into the oven, do the same layering process in a baking dish.
5. Bake at 350F for 20 minutes, or until browned and bubbling and you can't stand it anymore. Garnish with fresh thyme leaves. Serve hot.
Adapted from From My Impossibly Small Kitchen
Tomato Tart 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. You can serve with basil as a condiment, or top with arugula or other salad greens.
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