I dedicate this to my brother-in-law, Dave, who is a mathematician, and got me through college algebra. He and his boys, Ben and Sam, love to work on a problem that can’t be solved because it’s there!
PI day is celebrated by mathematicians and math enthusiast from around the world every year on 3/14. The Greek symbol used in mathematics represents a constant-the ratio of a circle’s circumference to it diameter which is approximately 3.14159265358979323846….. Math teachers have been using pie as an example to explain Pi to confused high school students for years. The earliest known official or large scale celebration of Pi Day was organized by physicist Larry Shaw in 1988 while he worked at the San Francisco Exploratorium. It is said that Shaw, with staff and public, marched around one of the it’s circular spaces while consuming fruit pies. The Exploratorium continues to hold Pi Day celebrations. In the year 2015, Pi Day had a special significance on 3/14/15 at 9:26:53 am and also p.m.. The date in this format along with the the time represented the first 10 digits of Pi.
It did not take long for companies like King Author flour to jump in on the celebration of Pi Day and use it as one of the greatest marketing tools around. Every year they have sales on everything you need to bake a pie and encourage home bakers to bake and enjoy Pi (pie) Day. This is a cleaver connection because there is a lot of math involved in baking. And on Pi Day, restaurants around the country will offer the public a free piece of pie in celebration.
Below I have shared a few of my favorite pie recipes for Pi Day. How ever you intend to celebrate 3/14/2016…solving a mathematical equation, baking a pie, or both, ENJOY!
Happy Pi (pie) Day! I hope you enjoyed today’s story along with these yummy recipes.
Thanks for Reading….K. K.
Strawberry Pie From the Kitchen of Mom
9” Baked Pie Shell pre baked
1 quart Strawberries cut in half or in thirds (set aside)
3/4 cup of white sugar
2 Tablespoon of corn starch
2 Tablespoons of small pearl minute tapioca
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup of water
In a sauce pan, combine sugar, corn starch, minute tapioca, lemon juice and water. Stir over low heat until everything is dissolved and thick. Remove from heat and cool. Place the strawberries in the crust and pour the thickened jell over the strawberries and refrigerate until set. Top with whipped cream and serve. Note: I like to toss and coat the strawberries with some of the jell to evenly coat them before placing the strawberries in pie shell and then top with the remaining jell.
Tip: If jell is not thick enough, add 3 tablespoons of strawberry Jello during the cooking process and cook until it is dissolved.
Ingredients for Never Fail Pie Crust: this recipe makes enough dough for 2 double crust pies or 4 single pies.
3 cups Flour ( all-purpose is fine to use but my preference is bread flour)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 Tablespoons Sugar
1 cup of Lard or Butter
1 whole egg (Room Temperature)
1/2 cup of Ice cold milk
1 Tablespoon of Vinegar
Procedure for making of the crust:
I do this by hand but you can use a food processor. Combine all the dry ingredients together. Cut in the fat until the mixture looks like corn meal. Whisk your the egg and vinegar together and add to the mixture along with the milk and mix until if it forms a ball. Cut the dough into four equal pieces, form into balls and refrigerate for at least an hour and up to a day.
Note: I make my dough a day ahead.
Baking of the Crust: Preheat Oven to 375 F. Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to 13-14-inch round. Transfer dough to 9-inch, deep glass pie dish. Fold dough edge over and crimp decoratively, securing dough edge to rim of dish. Pierce crust all over with fork. Freeze crust 15 minutes. Place baking beads on the bottom of the crust then bake 30 minutes until golden brown. Once baked put on rack and cool and prepare your filling.
Note: If you do not have baking beads, you can follow one of these following tips. 1. Place Foil on the bottom of the crust and pour a bag of dried beans on top and bake. Carefully remove the foil in the last 5 minutes of baking so the center can get a golden brown color. 2. You can press back any bubbles that occur during the baking process with a fork.
Chocolate Cream Pie From the Kitchen of Karen Komarinski, cc
1 pre-baked 9 inch pie crust.
Ingredients for Filling
1/2 cup Sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 Tablespoon unsweetened Cocoa Powder ( I use a dark cocoa powder )
1/8 teaspoon of salt
2 teaspoons of Espresso Powder ( this is optional, I’ve added this over the years)
4 large Egg Yolks ( Room Temperature) “reserve egg whites for topping”
2 cups of whole Milk ( Room Temperature)
1/2 cup Whipping Cream (Room Temperature)
5 oz. bittersweet (not unsweetened) or Semisweet chocolate Chopped (note Chocolate chips are fine to use)
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Procedure for making the Filling: Whisk Sugar, Cornstarch, Cocoa, and salt in heavy, medium saucepan to blend. Add egg yolks, milk and cream; whisk until smooth. Whisk constantly over medium heat until mixture thickens and boils, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat. Add Chocolate, butter and vanilla, whisk until melted and smooth. Pour filling into crust. Place plastic wrap over top of filling so a skin does not form. Place on rack and cool. Top Pie with Whip Cream serve and enjoy.
Banana Cream pie gone wild from the Kitchen of Karen Komarinski, cc Makes 1 Pie
1 9 inch pre-baked pie shell
3 cups of whole milk
9 Egg Yolks
2/3 cups of granulated sugar
6 tablespoons of cornstarch
3 tablespoons of butter
1 1/2 teaspoon of pure Vanilla extract.
1 large banana diced
1/2 cup of hot cream
1 cup of Dark Chocolate chips
1 large banana thinly slice.
Procedure: First melt the chocolate: put one cup dark chocolate chips in a glass bowl and pour the hot cream over top. Let sit 5 min then stir until smooth. Take half the chocolate and pour on the bottom of the pie crust and spread evenly. Cover the chocolate with the sliced bananas. Pour the rest of melted chocolate over the bananas and set aside while you make the custard filling.
Making the Custard:
In a heavy saucepan over medium- low heat, heat milk to barely simmering. While the milk is heating, combine your egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch in a medium size bowl, whisk to blend smoothly and the eggs are a pale gold. Slowly add the heated milk to the eggs whisking the whole time. This is called tempering the egg mixture. Once all milk is incorporated, return mixture to the heavy sauce pan, bring back to a soft boil over medium low heat and whisk continually. Once the egg mixture starts to bubble, cook for 1 minute. Remove pan from heat add the butter, vanilla, and diced banana. Stir until butter is melted. Let cool slightly before pouring into the prepared chocolate/banana crust. Once the filling is poured into the prepared chocolate/banana crust, cover with plastic wrap so a skin does not form on top and refrigerate. Chill pie for at least 3 hours before you top it with whipping cream, slice and serve.
Homemade whipped cream: 1 cup heavy whipping cream, 3 tablespoons of sifted confectioner sugar. Whip the heavy cream ,sifted sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract until stiff peaks form. Now it is time to top the pie with the whipped cream cut and serve.
Mom’s Apple Pie From the Kitchen of Mom
Preheat Oven 400 F or 200 C
Never-Fail pie Crust : recipe found in the strawberry pie recipe
4 large Ganny Smith apples: peeled, cored, and sliced
4 lage Macintosh apples: peeled, cored, and sliced
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Juice of half a lemon
3/4 cup of Sugar in the Raw (you can also use Coconut Sugar)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon of corn starch
2 tablespoons of small instant Tapioca pearls(this helps to prevent a soggy bottom crust)
1 egg for egg wash
5 pats of butter
Place the sliced apples in a large mixing bowl and toss with the next 6 ingredients, coat everything well and set aside. Roll out the pie dough on a lightly floured pastry mat. The dough circle should be slightly bigger than the 9″ pie pan. Place the dough into the pie pan, make sure it fits well and has no air bubbles. Sprinkle the bottom of the pie crust with the tapioca pearls, add the apple filling and top with the pats of butter spreading them out. Next roll out a top crust, just like the bottom crust. Place over the filling, crimp together, and cut any excess away. Take the egg and beat it with a tablespoon of cold water. With a pastry brush, paint the top of the crust with the beaten egg. Make four slits into the top crust so steam can escape. Place the pie into a 400 F or 200 C oven and bake for 15 minutes. Turn the oven temp down to 350 F or 180 C and continue to bake for 55 -60 minutes. The crust should be golden brown and the pie should be bubbling through the steam slits. If the crust is browning to quickly tent it with foil. Cool and enjoy. To make it extra special, serve with vanilla or cinnamon ice cream.