Posted by: briellethefirst | March 14, 2011

Pi Day!


Cat celebrating Pi day last year  

Desert

Desert

Cat's first meringue

Cat's first meringue

Cat celebrating Pi day last year
The Quiche

The Quiché

No, I didn’t spell it wrong. Today is 3/14, March 14th, so it’s pi day. And what do we do on pi day? We make pie! Or at least eat it. Yes, you can just buy a pie, or a few, and that’s yummy. Or you can buy a graham cracker crust, cook up some pudding (or mix up some instant pudding) for the filling, top it with whipped cream (make it yourself or buy prepared, your choice) and enjoy. A layered or marbled pudding/cream pie would be nice, topped with whipped cream and whatever sprinkles, nuts, crushed candy or whatever you have handy would be nice. If you want to go to a bit more trouble and actually bake something you can buy a frozen pie-crust, fill it with canned filling and bake it. Or you can go all-out and make a pie from scratch. We’ll assume we have engaged in the butter vs lard vs shortening debate. I like butter, you can use your choice.

1 1/4 c Flour, 1 tsp Salt, 1 tsp Sugar, 1 stick (1/2 c) Butter, 3 to 4 Tbsp Ice Water

Cut the butter into small pieces and freeze for 15 minutes or so. Mix the flour, salt and sugar and make a pile on a clean counter or table. If you prefer a bowl you can mix in that, too. Add the butter and cut until the mix looks like rough sand with some small bits of butter sprinkled throughout. Mix in the ice water one Tablespoon at a time until the dough holds together. Form into a ball and flatten it, wrap it and refrigerate for at least 15 min, even over night or freeze it till later but if you freeze it thaw it in the fridge overnight so you can roll it out.

Roll into a circle, rolling from the center out and turning 1/4 turn frequently. You’ll get the hang of it soon. When it’s big enough to fit in and over the sides of the pie tin drape it over the rolling-pin and lay it gently in the pie tin. Ease it into the bottom and up the sides evenly, tearing extra pieces off that hang over and patching shorter or torn spots with the extra. If you’re going to fill it with an uncooked cream filling, pre-bake your pie at 425 deg Fahrenheit until brown. To keep the bottom flat line it with aluminum foil or waxed paper and a hefty layer of beans to hold it down. If you want to use a variety of pretty legumes go ahead because you  can’t cook them up to eat because they’ll stay hard. Keep them in a pretty jar as your pretty pie beans. When cool fill, top, garnish and serve. What to do with any extra pie crust trimmings? paint them with melted butter, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar and bake about 5-10 min. Kids love it.

If you make a filling that needs baking refrigerate the crust while you get the filling ready. If making it from scratch, lay the filling pieces in decoratively and whatever sauce it needs. Kids usually like doing this. Bake until the filling is done, and if the edges start to get too brown shield them with a strip of foil for the rest of the baking.

What should you fill it with? That’s up to you and your imagination…fruit, custard, nuts, meat, eggs… Will it be the main course, side dish or desert? Is it a holiday specialty or a last-minute peasant meal? I’ll put my imagination to work on it in another post.

3/22: I added pictures. We went wild last Pi Day. Cat made her first pie crust, Quiche, cheesecake and banana cream pie from scratch. She made two different Quiche fillings but only made enough crust for one Quiche and the banana pie, so I pulled my emergency crust from the freezer. You never know when you’ll have a pie emergency! The cheesecake crust was store-bought, too, since we were short on graham crackers (kids…sheesh!) so my emergency supplies got re-stocked. It was a very yummy Pi Day!

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