The possibilities of pie are endless. And I do not mean just the numerical constant that is π: 3.14159… I do like baking a pie on March 14, π Day, but that is the end of my fascination with numbers. I would rather consider all the ways to consume delicious pie.
Pi Day celebrates the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter, which is approximately 3.14159. (Pi Day = 3/14 in the month/date format.) I have a friend, a former math major, who does not count sheep when she has trouble sleeping. Instead, she calculates π digits. The infinite number amuses her and lulls her to sleep, but if I could hold all those numbers in my head there wouldn’t be room for the Gilligan’s Island theme song lyrics or arcane thirtysomething plot points.
I do not bake many pies a year (unless you count our weekly Friday night pizzas), which is probably why I have never yet rolled out a round pie shell. I even have an over-priced pie rolling guide peddled shamelessly by one of my go-to cooking sites, which doesn’t seem to help much. Among the kitchen skills I would like to master: round, flaky pie crusts (and pretty plaited lattice tops for cherry pies); perfect hot and crisp French fries, which emerge from their hot oil bath at the precise moment the cheeseburger is cooked, and some of that sour dough bread that everyone else in the universe has mastered during lockdown. https://food52.com/recipes/24966-cook-s-illustrated-foolproof-pie-crust
You can have sweet pies, savory pies, cream pies, hand pies, fried pies, and humble pies. You can be Sweeny Todd, the demon barber of Fleet Street, and make a name for yourself with meat pies. You can be James Taylor, and sing an ode to your own Sweet Potato Pie. Or you can let the moon hit your eye with your own pizza pie.
There are several different kinds of pie crusts. Not all of them need to be flaky and fluted. Some aren’t even baked! These are ideal for those of us who are not nimble with dough. I have became a big fan of shortbread crust. And a dark, crumbly Famous Wafer crust is an excellent foil for an ice cream pie come summer. Take a gander: https://www.crazyforcrust.com/pie-crust-recipes/
There is a pie for every event. We have Boston cream pie for our birthday celebrations; though some say that BCP is a cake, I disagree. I bake a round, yellow cake-like object, split it, trowel one half with a thick layer of cream patisserie, and replace the top half. Then I pour a generous thick, gleaming coating of chocolate ganache – tempered with a dash of brandy or Armagnac- over the reassembled cake-like object. It cools into a shiny, slick surface. Perfect for reflecting those myriad birthday candles. That’s some pie.
We used to know a couple who scorned ritual birthday cakes, and served pie instead. An apple pie for your birthday? You might as well rake leaves or fold laundry on your birthday. The pie couple has since divorced.
My favorite pie is chicken pot pie. I do a variation on Martha’s – but I buy the pie crust already made. Which is probably why I haven’t calculated pi since my junior year of high school– I am always looking for the easy way out. http://www.marthastewart.com/891257/classic-chicken-potpie I may not be able to roll out a perfect circle, but those wily folks at Pillsbury can. And no one is the wiser. Mr. Sanders would never notice if I toiled with butter and flour and sharp knives to make a homemade crust. Martha might, but so far our parallel universes haven’t come close to colliding…
We managed to let George Washington’s birthday get away from us without the ritual and apocryphal cherry pie. What were we thinking? http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/traditional-cherry-pie-232579
If spring is coming, can rhubarb be far behind? http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/deep-dish-strawberry-rhubarb-pie
The Barefoot Contessa has a fabulous blueberry pie: https://dinnerthendessert.com/blueberry-pie/
This is savory, and sweet, and portable: https://gardenandgun.com/recipe/vivian-howards-apple-country-ham-hand-pies/
And to hit all the relevant holiday notes – St. Patrick’s Day is next week. Maybe you should be preparing a beer-infused Guinness Chocolate Cream Pie. All of the sweet decadence of whipped cream, combined with dark chocolate and darker beer. https://food52.com/recipes/20120-guinness-chocolate-cream-pie
Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig oraibh!
“Cut my pie into four pieces, I don’t think I could eat eight.”
― Yogi Berra