This Sunday– March 14th– was pi day. Not only does it resemble the first three digits of the number (3.14), but it happens to be the birthday of theoretical physicist Albert Einstein.
As per Brynn Holland in HISTORY, the holiday was “founded in 1988 by physicist Larry Shaw” and “took place at the Exploratorium (Shaw’s place of work)… [featuring] a circular parade and the eating of fruit pies.”
It became a federal holiday when legislation was passed in 2009 to do so. However, we here at Bomber Bulletin chose to revisit the holiday’s roots and make some good old-fashioned pies.
First and foremost: Pillsbury’s Triple Berry Pi Pie.
Although we used cherry pie filling from the can as opposed to fresh fruits, it still turned out with a beautiful crust that was charmingly fitting for the day. It’s hard to mess this one up, and it had the least amount of mistakes of the four we made. It’s basic, but that isn’t inherently a bad thing.
Second: An easy, quick, oreo chocolate pie (recipe source: The Baking ChocolaTess). Although I made the crust as opposed to buying it and added a chocolate ganache instead of whipped cream, it was in my top two (but maybe that’s because I love chocolate). It’s not too sweet, but I definitely wouldn’t binge-eat, as it’s very rich in flavor.
It would definitely do well frozen or, perhaps, paired with a mug of hot chocolate.
Thirdly, a lemon meringue pie– recipe courtesy of Better Homes and Garden’s New Cook Book (1951). Although I can’t find the original recipe, I believe Grandma’s Lemon Meringue Pie from Allrecipes should do the trick.
With 3,004 ratings and an average of 5 stars, it’s safe to say Emilie’s grandma was a pretty talented baker. It’s around 300 calories per slice (should you cut your pie into eighths), and a fairly easy recipe. However, meringues can be pretty difficult for beginners to ace. Brown Eyed Baker has a tutorial on their website.
“I’m serious, it is very good,” says Scott Ifland, “You’ve got a lemon meringue– the meringue is very good, the lemon filling is extremely good… I could sit here and eat 20 of these [mini pies] if you had them.”
For the toasted look on top, I used INTIPAL’s Culinary Butane Torch. However, the meringue cooks to a safe degree by oven alone.
Lastly, a McDonald’s Apple Pie Copycat by Jerene’s Eats. It’s a quick recipe that employs store-bought puff pastry dough; however, you can check out Rosemary Molloy’s “10 Minute Homemade Puff Pastry” (with a 4.9-star rating). We chose to deviate from Jerene’s instructions by using storebought pie filling and air frying the mini pies as opposed to using oil– they still turned out perfect!
Although I consider myself a fairly skilled home baker, I am by no means a pie aficionado. This was a quick and easy recipe, and one I would feel comfortable showing a younger cousin how to do. However, frying may not be super plausible (but that isn’t much of an issue, as it will still work by baking).
If these aren’t up your lane, here are a few that we can’t personally attest to (although their rave reviews can).
Once Upon a Chef- Best-Ever Key Lime Pie (5/5 stars, 348 reviews)
Jenn Segal is a classically trained chef but makes her recipes approachable to home bakers. She uses regular Persian limes as opposed to key limes, but the reviews still say “each bite was better than the one before and [the reviewer’s husband] was very impressed.” Plus, it only takes 45 minutes (not including 3 hours to chill)!
Martha Stewart- Bruleed Frozen Banana Pie (3/5 stars, 112 ratings)
Although you might not have a culinary torch on hand, an anonymous 2015 review stated that not only was it “one of the best pies [they] have ever tasted, and the easiest crust to put together,” but they “placed the assembled and frozen pie right under the broiler for a brulee top. Worked like a charm!”
Pillsbury- Easiest-Ever Pumpkin Pie (4/5 stars, 202 ratings)
Pumpkin Pie is an American staple (with colonial origins). However, we can enjoy the dish with the modern comforts of canned pumpkin and electric mixers.
Ang Sarap- Egg Pie (5.0/5 stars, 14 ratings)
Although egg pie is also a southern dish, I’ve only had the Filipino style (which is close to Portuguese egg tarts, also known as Pastéis de Nata). I was initially jarred and hesitant to try an egg pie, but I soon became obsessed. It wasn’t too sweet, or too savory, or sour… but don’t get it twisted. It’s by no means bland.
Food Network- Shepard’s Pie (4.8/5 stars, 786 ratings)
A more savory dish for you folks without a big sweet tooth.
Happy baking! (…or geometric computing, however you choose to celebrate.)