Friday, March 14, 2008

Pie and Pi Day

It's 3/14, which is pi day because pi is 3.14. Not surprisingly, mathematicians have noted this before, which is why it's International Pi Day. Well, Greg decided the occasion should not pass without pie being involved. Always being ready to jump on any bandwagon worth my effort, I got right onboard with this. After all, I love math and I love pie - it's a holiday made for me.

I started thinking about pies I've made... and pies I've eaten... and I thought of a photo of my friend, Martha, giving a pie I made for Creative Sisterhood the old Vanna White treatment. Ladies... this is a good reason to always have your nails done... you never know when you'll be called upon to model with a pastry and one of your annoying friends will post it on the world wide web. Repeatedly. (However, you'll note Martha's nails look lovely - they always do!)

I decided in order to salute the occasion, I'd offer my favorite pie crust recipe, and the caveat that you, too, can make pie crust. Trust me. It's got only three ingredients. It's not that hard.

Pie Crust

1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Crisco or other shortening of your choice
3 tablespoons ice water

You can add a dash of salt if you wish, but I never do.

The tricks to good pie crust are simple.

1. Keep it COLD. If you don't bake the crust right away, put it in the fridge to keep it cold. Don't use your hands to mix it or you'll melt the shortening and you'll get tough pie crust, which you can also get by overmixing. (See trick number 2.)

2. Don't overmix. What makes piecrust flaky is that it's essentially layers of the flour and the shortening. If you mix it until it's truly all blended you'll just have a big doughy, tough mess.

Finally, if you want to know how to make it pretty, you'll have to ask someone else. I can either make pie crusts that taste good or look good. I have, thus far, been unable to do both simultaneously. I have seen it done, but never without lard or manufacturing being involved. But, I've never had anyone complain that the crust is ugly if it's good.

Meringe is also incredibly easy. It's just something people who make it want you to think is difficult so everyone is more impressed with them. OK, you know what I mean. See details on the blog post about the Creative Sisterhood Pie Evening.

Now... go forth and bake. Bake Pie. It's Pi Day. People need Pie. Particularly on Pi Day.

Oh... and put a birthday candle on that pie for Albert Einstein who was born on this day in 1879. (Like you didn't already know I'm kind of a geek.)

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