Pies for Pi Day

Sa­vor the cel­eb­ra­tion: Pi Day is a good day to bake some pies.

Tues­day, March 14, is Pi Day. The cel­eb­ra­tion of Pi, 3.14, takes place on 3/14. Pi is the ra­tio of the dis­tance around a circle, its cir­cum­fer­ence, to the dis­tance across the cen­ter of the circle, its dia­met­er, where A(rea) = π r2 — re­mem­ber geo­metry, people? Pi Day cel­eb­ra­tions began in 1988 and have spread world­wide since then.

Culin­ar­ily speak­ing, Pi Day is a good day to bake some pies, and eat them, of course. Cau­tion: If you eat too much pie, not only will you in­crease your dia­met­er, but you’ll have a great­er cir­cum­fer­ence.

Wheth­er a num­ber crunch­er or pie munch­er, cel­eb­rate Ein­stein’s March 14 Pi birth­day. 

This re­cipe is as easy as pie, not pi.

QUICK CHOCOL­ATE PIE WITH CRUST

Chocol­ate Gra­ham Crust:

6 Tb­sp. but­ter, melted

9 chocol­ate gra­ham crack­ers (1 sleeve, 1/3 of box), crushed in pro­cessor, blender or rolling pin

2 Tb­sp. sug­ar

In a small bowl, melt but­ter in mi­crowave. Add crushed gra­ham crack­ers and sug­ar. Mix thor­oughly. Press in­to pie plate. Re­fri­ger­ate, and make the filling.

Chocol­ate Pie Filling:

2 oz. un­sweetened bak­ing chocol­ate

1 can con­densed milk (14 oz.)

½ cup wa­ter

In a large mi­crowavable bowl, melt the chocol­ate.

Add the con­densed milk. Stir and mi­crowave 2 minutes.

Stir and mi­crowave 2 more minutes.

Add the wa­ter. Stir and mi­crowave 2 minutes.

Whisk well and pour in­to pre­pared crust. Re­fri­ger­ate sev­er­al hours.

Gar­nish with chocol­ate curls. (Use a potato peel­er to shave curls from the side of a chocol­ate candy bar.)

SLICED BA­NANA-PINE­APPLE PIE

Crust:

1 cup flour

6 Tb­sp. cold but­ter, cut in­to 1-inch pieces

¼ cup brown sug­ar, packed

¾ cup pecans, chopped

1 Tb­sp. ice wa­ter

Mix flour and but­ter in food pro­cessor un­til but­ter is pea-size. (Or mix with hands or pastry cut­ter.)

Add brown sug­ar, nuts and ice wa­ter. Mix just un­til dough be­gins to hold to­geth­er.

Press dough over the bot­tom and up the sides of a large pie pan. Prick bot­tom with fork.  Re­fri­ger­ate at least 30 minutes.

Bake for 12-15 minutes or un­til golden brown in pre­heated 375-de­gree oven. Cool and make the filling.

Filling:

½ cup sug­ar

3 Tb­sp. corn­starch

1 can crushed pine­apple and juice, (20 oz.)

Rind of 1 lem­on

¼ cup lem­on juice

½ tsp. ginger

3 Tb­sp. wa­ter

4 ba­na­nas

¾ cup apricot or or­ange pre­serves, warmed and strained

In a me­di­um sauce­pan, com­bine sug­ar and corn­starch. Stir in pine­apple and juice, rind and lem­on juice, ginger and wa­ter. Cook over me­di­um heat, stir­ring con­stantly, un­til mix­ture boils and thick­ens. Cool slightly and pour in­to baked crust. Re­fri­ger­ate un­til chilled.

Be­fore serving, slice ba­na­nas on the di­ag­on­al and place in over­lap­ping, con­cent­ric rings on pine­apple filling.

Brush ba­na­nas with the warmed pre­serves.

LEM­ON SPONGE PIE

Pie Crust: Your own or store-bought pie crust. Par­tially bake crust for 10 to 12 minutes. Cool crust while mak­ing the filling.

Filling:

1 cup sug­ar

¼ cup but­ter

2 eggs, sep­ar­ated

2 Tb­sp. flour

pinch of salt

1 cup milk

Juice of 2 me­di­um lem­ons

Grated rind of 2 lem­ons

In a large bowl, beat sug­ar and but­ter un­til creamed and fluffy. 

Beat yolks well in a small bowl, and add to the creamed mix­ture. (Put whites in a me­di­um bowl and set aside.)

Add flour, salt and milk to creamed mix­ture. Use a wire whisk to whisk in the lem­on juice and rind. With clean beat­ers, beat egg whites un­til stiff.

Use the whisk to fold whites gently in­to the creamed mix­ture. Pour filling in­to the par­tially baked crust.

Bake at 425 de­grees for 10 minutes. Re­duce heat.

Bake at 325 de­grees for an ad­di­tion­al 35 minutes or un­til pie filling is set in the cen­ter and the crust is browned.

Re­fri­ger­ate 3-4 hours.

Eat well, live long, en­joy!

Don’t for­get: 

Send in your fa­vor­ite re­cipe for a chance to win a $100 Shop­Rite gift card. Mail your re­cipe to Read­ers’ Re­cipes, 2 Ex­ec­ut­ive Cam­pus, Suite 400, Cherry Hill, NJ 08002. Or email your re­cipe to Whats­cook­in­NEPhilly@gmail.com. Please in­clude name, ad­dress and tele­phone num­ber.

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