Monday, August 12, 2013

π r Delicious: Pi Pies!

Cherry Pi!

Pies are one of my all-time favorite things to bake. Cookies, brownies, cakes and tarts... they're all good, but when it comes down to it, they're just not pie. If you think about it, pies are actually easier to make than most people assume. Unlike cookies, you just have to pan it once, and unlike cakes, once it's in the pan you don't have to ice or decorate it. 

Plus, with the right spelling, it's incredibly nerdy. B)

Lemon Pi!

The first time I was inspired to make a Pi Pie was actually for BBQ at my old math professor's house. Appropriate, right? Well, it got such a positive reaction - even from the guests not so mathematically inclined - that I decided to make it tradition. Lemon meringue, country peach, sweet potato, grasshopper and even chicken pot pie. Or should I say pi...?

But what is a pie without its crust?!

Kitchen Tip: Try using a cheese grater to cut cold butter into your crust.
It cuts the time and effort of such a job in half!

As I'm a big fan of making pie crust from scratch, Pie Crust V has become my go-to recipe. I like it because it's butter based (no shortening or trans fats here!) and it's pliable enough to make lattices or other decorations without being droopy and hard to work with like many oil recipes. I'll still buy graham cracker or chocolate crumb crusts from the store or make a special crust if specified in a recipe (maybe), but otherwise it's Pie Crust V all the way.

Chocolate Pi!

Some of my favorite recipes (pie or otherwise) actually hail from TV chef extraordinaire, Alton Brown. His show Good Eats mixes delicious food, comedy and science in just the perfect proportions, and his books (of which I'm fairly certain I own all of) are just as informative and delightful! I highly recommend pretty much any recipe of his design.

The Chocolate Pi(e) seen above is actually based on Alton Brown's Moo-less Chocolate Pie. With only honey and chocolate chips for added sweetness and a base of protein-packed tofu instead of heavy cream, it's really quite good for you as pies go. Plus, it's super easy - just pop the ingredients in a blender, dump in the crust and refrigerate. Done. The only swap I recommend in this recipe is coffee (or milk) for the coffee liqueur. Don't be scared off by the tofu, it's super delicious!

Pear Blueberry Pi!

The galette (freeform pie) seen above is not only my most requested pie ever, but it's also super unique and another Alton Brown masterpiece: the No Pan Pear Pie. If you ever make it, take my advice and double the innards. Seriously, even if you have extra, the pear, blueberry, balsamic vinegar filling is amazing on top of ice cream, toast, waffles, you name it. 

The crust is another wow-factor here. Unlike traditional pie crust, this one incorporates cornmeal for an added rustic flavor and texture. An Alton Brown tip from this recipe I now use elsewhere in cooking - whenever a recipe calls for water, consider using something with more flavor, like apple juice or what I used the last time I made this pie, mango lemonade!

Lemon Meringue Pi!

And the final Alton Brown shout-out for the day, the Lemon Meringue Pie. I have to admit, I was worried when I saw more single star ratings than I'd ever seen on an Alton Brown recipe before, but it was merely a false alarm. Lemon Meringue Pie is as noted, an intermediate level recipe, so just pay attention and follow directions and you will have a delicious pie in no time.

In closing, for those who say pie isn't good for you, I counter with this: Pie is good for your soul. And what's more, Pi is good for your circumference.

Happy baking! :D


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you! I'm glad I'm not the only one who likes nerdy math jokes. ;)