How Did You Celebrate Pi Day?
There are a lot of food holidays on the calendar now. We’ve got various chocolate days and doughnut days, spaghetti days and soup days. They’re all good and we love the idea of celebrating food, so inspired by Pi(e) Day, we decided not to do extra math (!), but instead to look around the world for some interesting pies. The kind you eat that is. Now they’re not all sweet, so be warned. But keep an open mind, because a savory pie can be completely satisfying.
This custard pie with cinnamon sprinkled on top is a South African favorite. It was introduced by 17th century Dutch settlers, and can be found everywhere food is served. The crust can be a standard piecrust, quite thin, and some chefs make it without any crust at all! But then it wouldn’t be a pie would it? Its main focus is creaminess, using eggs, milk, sugar, and flour to get its signature fluff. Some like it light and airy so it dances on the plate, others like it firmer in consistency. The one thing they insist on, though, is that it be delicious.
Filed under “most interesting pie in the world” is the famous pumpple cake of Philadelphia. A specialty of the Flying Monkey Bakery, this decadent dessert is actually a pie within a cake, or really, two pies within two cakes! Served by the slice from October to February (so no way to get it on Pi Day unfortunately), this unique concoction consists of a pumpkin pie baked in a chocolate cake and an apple pie baked in a vanilla cake. A very thick layer of vanilla buttercream separates these two sweet entities. This is definitely something that would make an adventurous foodie salivate.
Taking a step away from the traditional fruit pie fillings, we came across a grape pie, which is a specialty of Naples, New York. It uses the Concord variety of grape and the process involves peeling lots of grapes to make the filling and setting the skins aside. The peeled grapes don’t have the signature purple color, so after the peeled grapes have been cooked, mixed with sugar, and strained to get the seeds out, the skins are added back to transform the mixture into the color we expect when we order a grape pie! The result has a hint of wine taste to it, but it’s all pie, and it’s all good.
In Wigan, England, they love to eat pie. They don’t want anything to hinder their speed of ingestion or enjoyment, so they created a pie delivery system in the form of a roll! They call this buttered roll a “barm cake” because it’s made from barm, which is basically beer foam. The pie inserted inside is a savory meat pie, and the two are a match made in heaven. Considering The World Pie Eating Championship is held in Wigan, it’s not surprising that these resourceful pie lovers discovered a way to eat pie at record speeds, without the need for utensils!
Shaker Lemon Pie
In Ohio, a religious sect called the Shakers, were known for their frugality and resourcefulness. They wasted nothing in their cooking. So when they made lemon pie, they used every part of the lemon, including the rind. The result is an interesting take on our traditional lemon pie, which can still be found on Ohio tables today. There is plenty of sugar and butter added to both the crust and the filling, but it retains its lemony tanginess. So if you’re offered a piece of Shaker lemon pie the next time you’re in Ohio, don’t be afraid if you can see the rinds in the filling. Go ahead and take a bit. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Chefs everywhere are always looking for new ways to combine ingredients and please their diners. There is absolutely nothing wrong (and everything right) with a big slice of traditional apple pie, but sometimes it’s nice to venture outside of our culinary comfort zones, and try something new. Let us know about the interesting pies you’ve tried!