Make a Pie (or 2) to celebrate Pi Day

Whether you are a family of math whizzes or not, it’s fun to celebrate π (or Pi) Day. This quirky holiday celebrates the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. It is always equal to 3.14159, so March 14 is a perfect day to celebrate pi.  

What can you and the kids do to celebrate π Day?

Find some colorful yarn or string and measure and compare the circumferences and diameters of a bunch of round objects. Try various cans, bicycle tires, pots and pans.

Get creative and write some poems celebrating pi. Think of it as pi-ku. Or design a π t-shirt.

Go for a pi run, walk or bike ride. You can premeasure a route or use your fitness monitor to estimate 3.14 miles. Too far? Try 3.14 kilometers, or just under 2 miles.

And of course … make a pie, maybe two.

Spaghetti Pie 

Serves 6 to 8

Butter
8 oz. thick cut bacon, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
12 oz. spaghetti
1 lb. baby spinach
1 1/2 c. ricotta cheese
8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
2 oz. freshly grated pecorino cheese
2 oz. freshly grated parmesan cheese
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 c. whole milk
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Butter a 9- or 10-inch deep-dish pie plate or quiche pan.

Heat large skillet over medium. Add bacon and cook until crisp and brown. Remove bacon and reserve. Add onion, season with salt and pepper, and sauté until translucent. Add garlic and sauté for 2-3 minutes more. Set aside.

Meanwhile, cook spaghetti according to the package directions, less two minutes. Drain and transfer to large bowl. Add onion and toss to combine. Add bacon, spinach and ricotta and toss again.

Put mozzarella, pecorino and Parmigiano-Reggiano in a bowl and toss to combine.

Put half of the spaghetti mixture in the pie plate and sprinkle with half the cheeses. Top with the remaining spaghetti. Use a spatula to pat the pasta down.

Put eggs and milk in a bowl, season with nutmeg, salt and pepper and whisk to combine. Gently pour liquid ingredients over spaghetti and sprinkle with remaining cheeses.

Place pie on cookie sheet or sheet pan and slide it into the oven. Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees; continue baking until pie is firm and top is golden, 30 to 40 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes, cut into wedges and serve.


New Hampshire Mud Pie

Serves 12-16

9 oz. chocolate wafers or Oreo cookies (about 2 c. crumbs)
1 T. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. espresso or instant coffee powder
1/2 tsp. salt
6 T. (3/4 stick) butter, melted
2 quarts ice cream or gelato, your favorite flavor(s)
Your favorite add-ins: chocolate chips, nuts, coconut, crushed candies and cookies
Chocolate sauce

Make the cookie crust:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line bottom of a 10-inch springform pan with parchment paper.

Put cookies in food processor and pulse until finely ground. Add sugar, cinnamon, espresso powder and salt and pulse to combine.

Put cookie crumbs in a bowl, drizzle with melted butter and toss to combine. Put buttery crumbs in the springform pan and firmly press the crumbs evenly onto the bottom and about 1-2 inches up the sides of the pan.

Bake crust at 350 degrees until set, about 7 minutes. Cool completely.

Make the ice cream filling:

Put ice cream in the refrigerator for 30-45 minutes to soften.

Scoop 1 quart of ice cream into the springform pan and spread it evenly over the cookie crust. Sprinkle liberally with chocolate chips, nuts, coconut and/or crushed candies and cookies and gently press into the ice cream.

Repeat with the second quart of ice cream and more toppings. Cover and freeze for several hours or overnight.

To serve:

Transfer Mud Pie to the refrigerator 20-30 minutes before serving.

Drizzle individual plates with chocolate sauce. (Let the kids pretend they are a pastry chef in an elegant restaurant!)

Gently release the collar on the springform pan. Slice pie and place each slice on a plate atop the chocolate sauce. If you are a chocolate fan, drizzle each slice with more sauce.

Susan Nye writes for magazines throughout New England. She shares many of her favorite recipes and stories about food, family and friendship on her award- winning blog, Around the Table, at www.susannye.wordpress.com

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