First off, don’t laugh at my crusts. Second, March 14th is Pi day. Yes, Pi day, not pie day, but it’s traditional to celebrate with pie. It’s a holiday for all of the nerds and geeks out in the world, of which I happen to be one, so I celebrate Pi day.
As you know, Pi is a number. It’s a special number denoted by the symbol π.
The number is either numerically represented as 3.14159……… and it goes on, or the fraction 22/7. If you have ever taken geometry or trigonometry, you know that you need Pi to figure out the circumference of a circle and therefore the circumference of a pie.
I made two pies to celebrate Pi day. One is Apple and the other is chocolate cream pie.
The crust is not something I have perfected yet. I am still struggling between a crust that works and a crust that doesn’t. That is why my crusts aren’t that pretty, but I will mater pie crust making eventually.
The pie crust recipe is:
- 1-1/4 cup flour
- 1/2 cup butter
- 2tsps sugar
- a little salt
- 1/4 cup ice water
Stir the flour, sugar, and salt together. Then crumb your butter into the flour. Basically, you’re going to mush the flour and butter together until the mixture resembles crumbs. You can do this with a pastry blender, which is not actually a blender, or your hands. Since I don’t have a pastry blender I usually use a combination of my hands and two forks.
Once it’s all crummy add little bits of the ice water and kind of knead it and bring it together until it forms a ball. You may not need to use all of the ice water. Then put this in the fridge for an hour to chill.
Once it’s done chilling, roll the dough out onto a clean surface making sure your dough is 2 inches bigger all the way around that the pie pan you’re using.
Put your dough in the pie pan and dock the bottom(poke a bunch of holes in it with a fork), and make the edges pretty. As you can see I haven’t mastered “making the edges pretty.”
This is how making pie crust is supposed to work in theory, but I have had troubles with the dough, so don’t get discouraged, you can always do the next best thing and go and buy a ready-made pie crust, high fructose corn syrup free please.
Baking the pie crust depends on what kind of pie you are making.
For the apple pie:
I used canned pie filling for this. Oh the shame!!! I have an excuse though, apples are prohibitively expensive where I am currently at. I am talking sometimes way over 3.00 a pound expensive. So needless to say, I haven’t had too many apples since I’ve been here. Canned pie filling is only about 2.00 so canned pie filling wins, plus the brand I used doesn’t have high fructose corn syrup or any other nasties in it.
I just opened the can up and put the pie filling in an unbaked crust. I used a little of the extra dough to make the strips across the top called lattice. Again, not something I’ve mastered so don’t laugh at it. I also sprinkled sugar and cinnamon on top.
I then baked this pie 10 minutes at 425 degrees Fahrenheit and 30 more at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, it turned out quite nicely.
For the Chocolate Cream Pie:
I did make this filling from scratch and it’s so easy there isn’t any reason not to.
Chocolate cream pie:
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/4 tsp salt(optional)
- 3 cups milk
- 3 egg yolks
- 2 TBSP butter
- 1tsp vanilla
- 2ozs unsweetened chocolate or 6 TBSPs cocoa powder + 2 TBSP butter
I am going to explain this recipe using the 6TBSPs cocoa powder and 2TBSP butter method. I find that it’s easier to make a pie chocolate that way than it is to use unsweetened chocolate bars.
Put the sugar, flour, salt(you’re not really going to need this if using salted butter), and cocoa powder in a saucepan. Stir it all together. Then add the milk. Bring it to medium heat, stirring frequently.
The original recipe advocates very low heat, but you will be cooking this forever if you cook it on low, it works just as well to use medium heat.
Your mixture will start to get warm, you will notice it thickens up some. That is good! You want it to thicken up.
Once the mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon take it off of the heat. Beat the three egg yolks and beat a little of the chocolate mixture into the egg yolks. This is called tempering. I did read that if there is flour in the mixture that you don’t have to temper eggs, but I didn’t want to risk it.
Return the pot to the stove and cook for a couple more minutes stirring it the whole time. This is where those egg yolks are getting gently cooked.
Take it off the heat and strain this mixture through a sieve. You do not want chunks of whatever in your cream pie. There could be chunks of cocoa powder, you might have scaled the bottom of your mixture and scraped some off, and there is this little thing inside of eggs that keeps the yolk in place, you don’t want that in your custard. Always, strain custards!
Once it’s strained stir in the 2 TBSP butter plus an additional 2 TBSP for the chocolate. Add the vanilla. Your mixture should already be starting to firm up. It’s still hot, in fact it’s very hot, don’t burn yourself. Set it aside.
Using the same type of crust as I used on the apple pie. Put the crust in the oven at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 12 minutes. It’s just going to bake lightly, it’s not really going to brown. Take it out of the oven. Let it cool a few minutes. Then add the chocolate custard to the pie crust. Smooth the top over.
Let it cool at room temperature for about 20-30 minutes, then you can put it in the fridge, to cool down more and firm up more, but if you want it faster, put it in the freezer! I actually kind of like chocolate cream pie semi-frozen, so I always put mine in the freezer, but it should firm up just fine with the fridge. If it’s runny, you didn’t cook the custard long enough.
The next Pi Day is almost a year away, but now you know and you can celebrate with pie!