It’s a Given: Pi Day Pie
Pop quiz: What’s the significance of 3.14159265? If it doesn’t look familiar, you weren’t paying attention in math class. Known as pi (or π), it’s the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, and a mathematical constant. Because there now seems to be a “day” for everything, we celebrate this infinitely cool number (and Albert Einstein’s birthday, by the way) on March 14 (aka 3/14).
For some reason (and we’re not arguing!), pie lovers have jumped on the bandwagon. Maybe it’s because the delicious American dessert (and dinner) is traditionally baked in a circular dish, giving us a flaky circumference. Or because the first cut is typically across the middle, forming the diameter. Or perhaps it’s just an awesome excuse to eat pie. Enjoy yours with these smart recipes and pie-making tips.
3 PERFECT PIE IDEAS
TASTY IN NUMBERS. Here’s a fun idea: Put pi on your pie! We love how baker and engineer Lisa from Home and Away with Lisa decorated her Pi Day Pie with a cutout of the Greek letter pi, and mini numbers around the border. So you don’t accidentally crush those little but significant numbers, use a Pyrex® Easy-Grab 9½” Pie Plate for easy in and out of the oven.
SIMPLIFY YOUR PIE. With just 3 ingredients, pie doesn’t get any easier than this! In a saucepan, warm 1/3 cup of apple jelly. Add 2-4 cups (depending on the size of your pie plate and desired depth of the finished pie) of sliced fresh strawberries and cook for a few minutes until bubbly and thick. Spoon into a prebaked and cooled pie crust. Refrigerate until set, then top with fresh whipped cream, if desired. Get perfect results by using a Pyrex® Basics 9″ Pie Plate.
TO EACH THEIR OWN. Our Raspberry-Peach Hand Pies are great for on-the-go and perfect for passing around at a Pi Day party. In honor of the celebration, make them round by baking them in Pyrex® 10-oz. Custard Cups instead. Simply line the cups with pie dough, spoon in filling and bake.
14 AWESOME PIE TIPS
Now that we have the 3.0 pie ideas, we thought it would be appropriate to add (0.14 x 100) tips to make this the perfect pi, or pie article. Let’s just keep it simple and say we’re serving up 14 more pie tips!
- DON’T SKIM. Before you even think about putting rolling pin to pie dough, carefully read the recipe in its entirety first. Doing so ensures you have all your ingredients at the ready and can keep things moving swiftly.
- KEEP COOL. The perfect flaky pie crust starts with cold ingredients—like butter or shortening—and even cool bowls, utensils and hands, if possible. Also allow dough to chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour before rolling it out, and work quickly!
- HANDS OFF. If it’s a tender crust you want, do not overwork or overhandle the dough. Try using a food processor to incorporate your dough ingredients. It’s not only faster, it helps ensure everything keeps cool, including you.
- LIGHT TOUCH. Go easy on the flour. Using too much to roll out your dough will dry it out, causing it to crumble in your hands. Use just enough so that the dough doesn’t stick to the rolling pin.
- VENT IT. When making a double-crust pie, cut slits in the top to allow steam to escape (or you might end up with a soggy mess). Better yet, use decorative cutters and add a little flair at the same time.
- PHOTO FINISH. Want that picture-perfect golden brown and glossy crust you see in magazines? Brush your crusts with an egg wash—a beaten egg mixed with a bit of water—before baking.
- GET SET. Avoid runny fruit pies by baking them until the filling boils. Doing so allows them to thicken properly. A good indicator is when you can see the juices just bubbling up through the slits in the upper crust.
- FILL IN. When making pies throughout the year, use fresh fruit and ingredients from that given season. In spring, go for lemon, strawberry and rhubarb. In summer, sour cherry, blueberry and peach are best bets. Apple, fig, pumpkin, pear and nut are fall favorites, while cranberries, chocolate and citrus meringues reign supreme in winter.
- HANG TIME. As the saying goes, the best things come to those who wait. After baking, let your pie cool on a cooling rack for 2 to 4 hours (4 is best) before slicing. This allows the filling to set up.
- FIRST FROST. Get ahead of the entertaining game by making and freezing pies ahead of time. Simply assemble your pie and wrap with several layers of plastic wrap and an outer layer of aluminum foil. Freeze immediately. The best part? There’s no need to thaw. They can go straight into the oven for baking (just add a little more time).
- BAKE BLIND. Prebake the crust before adding the filling. This is necessary for no-cook pies, such as pudding or ice cream, but it also helps keep the bottom layer of crust from getting soggy when the filling is especially wet. To blind-bake, place dough as you normally would in a pie pan, then line with parchment paper. Weigh down with pie weights or dried beans. This ensures that the crust keeps its shape. Cook until the edges turn golden. Remove from the oven if you want a partially baked crust; otherwise, remove the weights and parchment paper, then continue baking until the bottom evenly browns.
- TAKE COVER. If you notice the edges of the crust getting too brown, loosely cover them with a thin strip of aluminum foil (or use a pie crust shield).
- SLIM DOWN. When making apple pie, thinly slice your fruit. Thick slices or large chunks encourage air space and can cause a large gap between the filling and upper crust.
- 14. BUTTER UP. Leaving a few chunks of cold butter suspended in your raw pie dough (rather than totally incorporating) yields a flakier crust. Achieve this by turning the dough over only a few times if mixing by hand. If using a food processor, be sure to use the pulse setting, careful not to overdo it!
Need more ideas? Check out our Pie Chart feature.
Last piece of advice: Although the pi ratio may be constant, your piece of pie can be whatever size you choose!
YOUR TURN: Now that you know you can, which flavor of pie will you celebrate Pi Day with?