Partyin’ partyin’. Partyin’ partyin’. Oh, sorry, my apologies for going all Rebecca Black on you. But it is. Or it will be. You know. 3/14? Remember waaaaaaay back to high school? Pi? 3.14? Anyway, whether you remember or not, lots of people celebrate 3/14 with P-I-E in honor of P-I. Are you still with me?
Here’s the rub. I don’t really like pie. I’m a cake girl. All the way. So how does a cake girl celebrate Pi Day? I have been known to indulge in pie from time to time, so I’m going to share a few favorite recipes with you. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy one (or more!) of them sometime soon! And think back fondly to those high school days when things like pi actually concerned you!
This recipe is from my Dad’s Mom. She was a wonderful cook and I have her original recipe. It’s a quick and easy pie, perfect for spring or summer! I like this pie because it’s creamy, unlike Lemon Meringue. I would serve this with a dollop of whipped cream, I don’t care for meringue.
Lemon Icebox Pie
- 1 graham cracker crumb crust
- 1 can Eagle Brand
- 2 egg yolks, beaten
- 1/2 c lemon juice
Mix together. Pour into crust. Refrigerate until set, at least a few hours or overnight. You can top with whipped cream or meringue (browned) if you like.
Here’s a pie that’s not quite a pie. It’s from the gentlemen bakers at Baked, a Brooklyn, New York bakery. They have a cookbook of the same name. It’s awesome, you should totally check it out. Back to the pie in question, it’s really more of an oversized chocolate chip cookie. And it’s wonderfulllll. Holy moly! If you only make one pie in your life, make it this one. Served warm with a scoop of ice cream it’s unbeatable.
Tuscaloosa Tollhouse Pie
Recipe courtesy of the Baked, New Frontiers in Baking cookbook
- 1 ball of pie dough chilled (or, a store-bought crust, if you must)
- 1/2 c all-purpose flour
- 1/2 c granulated sugar
- 1/2 c firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 c (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, cut into cubes
- 1 T whiskey
- 3/4 c walnuts, toasted and chopped
- 1 1/4 c (about 8 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
Dust a work surface with a sprinkling of flour. Unwrap the ball of chilled dough and put it directly on the work surface. Roll out into a 12-inch round. Transfer the dough to a pie dish and carefully work it into the pie dish, folding any overhang under and crimping the edge as you go. Don’t stretch the dough to fit, it will shrink. Wrap and freeze the crust until firm, about 2 hours, or up to 3 months.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour and sugars together until combined. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs on high speed until foamy, about 3 minutes. Remove the whisk attachment and add the paddle attachment. With the mixer on low, gradually add the flour mixture. Turn the mixer to high and beat for 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and add the butter. Beat on high speed until the mixture is combined. Scrape down the bowl, add the whiskey, and beat the mixture on high speed for 1 minute.
Fold the walnuts and 3/4 cup of the chocolate chips into the filling.
Pour the filling into the frozen pie shell and spread it out evenly. Top the filling with the remaining 1/2 cup chocolate chips.
Bake in the center of the oven for 25 minutes, then cover the edges of the crust loosely with aluminum foil and bake for another 25 minutes (this will prevent the crust from browning too quickly). Test the pie by sticking a knife in the center of the filling. If the knife comes out clean, the pie is done. If the knife comes out with clumps of filling sticking to it, bake for another 5 minutes and test again. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool before slicing.
The pie can be stored in the refrigerator, tightly covered, for up to 2 days.
Pie Dough (makes 2 singles or 1 double-crust pie)
- 3 c flour
- 1 T sugar
- 1 t fine salt
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, cold
- 3/4 c ice water
Whisk together flour, sugar, and salt. Cut the cold butter into cubes and toss the cube in the flour mixture to coat. Put the mixture into the blow of a food processor and pulse in short bursts until the butter cubes are the size of hazelnuts.
While pulsing in quick, 4-second bursts, drizzle the ice water into the food processor through the feed tube.
As soon as the dough comes together in a ball, remove it from the processor and divide it into two equal balls. Flatten to a disk and wrap in parchment paper, then plastic wrap. Refrigerate the disks until firm, about an hour, before using.
Who doesn’t love apple pie? Communists. But they may like to too. I don’t know for sure, I haven’t asked any. But everyone likes apple pie. And this recipe is so good, why wouldn’t you? This is my go-to apple pie recipe. I think you’ll agree that it’s pretty awesome.Apple Pie
- 2 1/2 c all-purpose flour
- 4 t sugar
- 1/4 t fine salt
- 14 T cold butter, diced
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten with 2 tablespoons cold water
- 2 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 3 pounds baking apples like Golden Delicious, Cortland, or Mutsu
- 2/3 c sugar, plus more for sprinkling on the pie
- 1/4 c unsalted butter
- 1/4 t ground cinnamon
- Generous pinch of ground nutmeg
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
Make the dough in a food processor. With the machine fitted with the metal blade, pulse the flour, sugar, and salt until combined. Add the butter and pulse until it resembles yellow corn meal mixed with bean size bits of butter, about 10 times. Add the egg and pulse 1 to 2 times; don’t let the dough form into a ball in the machine. (If the dough is very dry add up to a tablespoon more of cold water.) Remove the bowl from the machine, remove the blade, and bring the dough together by hand.
Form the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 1 hour.
Make the filling. Put the lemon juice in a medium bowl. Peel, halve, and core the apples. Cut each half into 4 wedges. Toss the apple with the lemon juice. Add the sugar and toss to combine evenly.
In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the apples, and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture begins to simmer, about 2 minutes. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until the apples soften and release most of their juices, about 7 minutes.
Strain the apples in a colander over a medium bowl to catch all the juice. Shake the colander to get as much liquid as possible. Return the juices to the skillet, and simmer over medium heat until thickened and lightly caramelized, about 10 minutes.
In a medium bowl, toss the apples with the reduced juice and spices. Set aside to cool completely. (This filling can be made up to 2 days ahead and refrigerated or frozen for up to 6 months.)
Cut the dough in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll each half of dough into a disc about 11 to 12 inches wide. Layer the dough between pieces of parchment or wax paper on a baking sheet, and refrigerate for at least 10 minutes.
Place a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Line the bottom of a 9-inch pie pan with one of the discs of dough, and trim it so it lays about 1/2 inch beyond the edge of the pan. Put the apple filling in the pan and mound it slightly in the center. Brush the top edges of the dough with the egg. Place the second disc of dough over the top. Fold the top layer of dough under the edge of the bottom layer and press the edges together to form a seal. Flute the edge as desired. Brush the surface of the dough with egg and then sprinkle with sugar. Pierce the top of the dough in several places to allow steam to escape while baking. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.
Bake the pie on a baking sheet until the crust is golden, about 50 minutes. Cool on a rack before serving. The pie keeps well at room temperature (covered) for 24 hours, or refrigerated for up to 4 days.
What is your favorite pie? Do you celebrate Pi Day? Does your family celebrate any other wacky holidays? Arbor Day, perhaps?