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Pi Day: Celebrate the math holiday with a slice of pie

Mar 4th, 2019 | Category: Cooking

by Melissa Stewart

Pi Day is coming this month. Celebrated on March 14 around the world, Pi is the symbol used in mathematics to represent a constant. It is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter, approximately 3.14159. As that figure represents a mathematical constant, a represented constant in our home is baking, and loving pie. See what I did there? It is fun to celebrate this math inspired holiday with pie at home, and also visit our local bakeries to see what fun they have created as well.oatmeal pie web

This year our goal for Pi Day is to find and come up with pie recipes we haven’t tried before. We giggled and laughed while we sifted through recipe books and thought about ingredients we can bake into a pie. Bacon was at the top of the list for a couple family members, and I think we will tackle a chocolate nut bacon pie later this month. We scoured our books, cooking sites, and asked friends.

We decided to try a banofee pie, a British dessert recipe that is loved by many and screams sweet banana toffee flavor. A couple family members are not thrilled with bananas so we weren’t sure what to expect. It was delicious. Quick tip: The longer you can chill the crust the better (before filling and before cutting). It needs to chill.

The old-fashioned oatmeal pie was a recipe I had written in a side pocket from years ago, and I’m glad we gave it a try. These simple ingredients, all kept in our pantry, made a tasty dessert after dinner.

For added fun, we cut pie dough to form the Greek letter for Pi (π) and topped our pie with it!

The German onion pie included the bacon we needed, and is a fun recipe for breakfast.

The ricotta pie was creamy and amazing, and feels like a cannoli in a pie. This recipe makes two pies and worked wonderfully. Enjoy!


Old fashioned Oatmeal pie


1 1/2 cups milk

3 eggs, lightly beaten

3 tablespoons butter, melted

2/3 cup rolled oats

1 1/3 cup dark brown sugar

2/3 cup flaked coconut,

plus additional for topping

1 9-inch deep pie shell, unbaked



Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine milk, eggs, oats, butter, brown sugar and coconut in a large bowl. Mix thoroughly with a wire whisk. Pour into pie shell and sprinkle with additional coconut. Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for additional 30 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Good warm or chilled.



German onion pie


4 thick slices of bacon, diced

2 cups peeled and chopped yellow onion

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup sour cream

1 tablespoon flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 9-inch pie shell, unbaked



Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Saute the bacon, draining most of the fat. Add the onions and saute until clear. Do not brown. Set aside to cool. Beat the eggs and sour cream together in a medium-sized bowl. Sprinkle the flour over the top and beat in. Mix in the salt and pepper. Prick the bottom of the pie shell several times with a fork. Spread the onions and bacon over the bottom of the pie shell. Pour the sour cream mixture over the top. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 15 minutes or until pie is nicely browned. Serve hot. Breakfast works!

–Recipe from Jeff Smith’s “The Frugal Gourmet on our Immigrant Ancestors”


Banoffee pie


10 ounces shortbread cookies

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter

3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar

1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups cold heavy cream

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

4 ripe bananas

Chocolate bits (optional)



To make the crust, place the cookies in a food processor. Pulse to fine crumbs, about 10 to 12 (1-second) pulses. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture looks wet and holds together when pressed. Transfer the crumbs to a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the crust firmly and evenly onto the bottom and up the sides of the pan; use a heavy glass jar if needed to push down. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

To make the filling, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the brown sugar, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, and salt and bring to a boil. Boil, stirring continuously, until the mixture is dark, about 2 minutes.

Pour the filling into the prepared crust and smooth into an even layer. Refrigerate again for 1 hour.

When ready to serve, whip the cream with an electric hand mixer or by hand in a bowl with a whisk to stiff peaks, about 5 minutes on medium speed. You can sweeten the cream with 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar, but keep in mind that the toffee filling is quite sweet.

Slice the bananas and place evenly on top of the pie. Dollop on the whipped cream and garnish with shaved chocolate or bits, if desired.

Refrigerate any leftovers, if any.



Ricotta pie

Makes two pies



12 eggs

2 cups white sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 pounds ricotta cheese

1/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips

4 cups all-purpose flour

5 teaspoons baking powder

1 cup white sugar

1/2 cup shortening, chilled

1 tablespoon shortening, chilled

4 eggs, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon milk (optional)



Beat the 12 eggs, 2 cups sugar and vanilla extract together in a large bowl. Stir in the ricotta cheese and the chocolate chips. Set aside.

Combine the flour, baking powder, and 1 cup sugar together. Cut in 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon shortening until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Mix in 4 beaten eggs and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Divide dough into 4 balls, wrap in plastic, and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease two deep-dish pie plates.

Roll out 2 of the balls to fit into the pie pans. Do not make the crust too thick, as it will expand during cooking. Do not flute the edges of the dough. Roll out the other 2 balls of dough and cut each into 8 narrow strips for the top of the crust or use cookie cutters to create shapes for the top of the pies.

Pour the ricotta filling evenly into the pie crusts. Top each pie with the 8 narrow strips of dough or cookie cut-outs. Brush top of pie with milk for shine, if desired. Place foil on the edge of crust.

Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 30 minutes, then remove foil. Rotate pies on the rack so they will bake evenly. Continue to bake until a knife inserted in the center of each pie comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes more. Cool completely on wire racks, being sure not to cut into it until ready. Refrigerate until serving.


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