Friday, March 14, 2014

Happy Pi(e) Day!

Today, March 14th, is Pi Day. Get it? 3.14? Although I'm not great at math, I am great at baking! To celebrate, I thought I'd post a round-up of my favorite pies, both homemade and not.

My go-to pie, made every year, is my famous chocolate chip bourbon pecan pie. It's inspired by Derby pie, named after the Kentucky Derby, hence the bourbon. My version has a buttery crust, and a layer of chocolate chips under the sweet pecan and bourbon filling. Every time I make it for my dad, he requests more bourbon! It's his favorite, as well as my husband's and most of his friends. Seems like guys really like the boozy pie.

Then of course, there's always the Thanksgiving classic, pumpkin pie. I always try to add a little twist to the classic recipe, with maple syrup, extra cinnamon, or more bourbon. Hmmm, seems like bourbon always makes an appearance!

A close relation to pies are tarts. Usually just one crust, and more refined, tarts were the subject of a whole chapter in the Bouchon Bakery cookbook. Whether a simple chocolate ganache mini tart, a light and airy lemon meringue tart, a summery plum almond tart, or a rich caramel nut tart, there are so many ways to make tarts. Once the crust is made, the filling can be anything you have on hand or whatever fruit is in season.

When making a pie is too much work, you can always go out and get a slice. The most decadent and extravagant pies I've ever had are from Rockaberry, in Montreal. They are huge pies, tall and super rich. I always go for the most chocoaltey option, but their cheesecake variety pies and fruit pies are always amazing. This is why it's best to go with friends, so everyone gets a different slice and you can sample many kinds.

But then again, who said pies have to be sweet? There's always pizza pies! The best pizza in the country is by far Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix, Arizona. When I lived there, we'd go often, usually waiting up to three hours in the scalding desert heat just to eat these amazing pies. After moving away I've been trying to find something to compare, to no avail. So I went back to Phoenix this summer, and got to enjoy it again. I wanted to buy 10 pies and take them home with me, but it's not quite the same as eating there.

So, does that get you in the mood for pies? Whether homemade or store-bought, sweet or savory, pies are always delicious.  And they can be helpful in learning math!

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