Celebrate Pi Day on March 14 (3.1415...)

This mathematical constant may remind you of math class, but celebrate it with a tasty pie


It may not be as well known as holidays like Christmas or the Fourth of July, but March 14 is a holiday worth celebrating.

It’s Pi Day — a celebration of the mathematical constant representing the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. Pi is an infinite number that begins 3.1415.....

For many people, pi is only a number they were forced to memorize in high school math classes. But this is a day to celebrate by indulging in pie, of course.

While a fruit pie may be what comes to mind first, take the opportunity to celebrate the day with a savory pie. You can pick a quiche for breakfast, pizza for lunch and a pot pie for dinner.

Dessert, of course, would be a fruit or sweet-filled confection — perhaps with the symbol of pi cut into of the center of the crust.

Pot pies are a delicious way to celebrate pie. Although chicken pot pie is probably the most well known variety, you can use virtually any meat or create a vegetarian dish that will tantalize your whole family.

You can make your own sauce or use a purchased gravy to add depth to the pot pie.

And, as with fruit pies, you can use a muffin pan to create individual serving-sized pies rather than one large pie.

Although some people wouldn’t consider a pot pie without a crust, you can use other toppings, such as corn bread, mashed potatoes, phyllo dough, puff pastry, biscuit dough or popover batter.

When making pot pies, be sure the meat is fully cooked before adding it to the filling.

If you’re using puff pastry to top the pie, thaw it before using. To ensure the crust is golden brown and shiny, use a pastry brush to apply an egg wash (an egg beaten with a tablespoon of water or milk) to the top crust. Don’t forget to cut a slit in the top of the crust so steam can escape.

Following are a few pie recipes from brit.co.



Guinness Beef Pot Pie

2 tablespoons olive oil
1-1/2 pounds stew beef
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 small russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
16 ounces crimini mushrooms, sliced in halves or quarters
2 teaspoons minced garlic
3 stalks thyme
1 stalk rosemary
1-1/2 cups beef stock
1/2 cup stout beer
1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon water
2 sheets thawed puff pastry

    Heat oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add beef and brown on all sides, then place on a plate. Add onion, carrots, celery and potatoes to pot and cook about five minutes, until they start to soften. Stir in mushrooms and garlic and cook three to four minutes.
    Pull leaves from rosemary and thyme and throw away the stalks. Place in pot along with the beef. Add stock and Guinness and use a spatula to scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan.
    Turn heat to medium low, cover and gently simmer for 1 to 1-1/2 hours, until the beef is fork tender. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.
    Stir cornstarch mixture into the pot, then bring to a gentle boil to thicken for several minutes. Remove from heat.
    Roll puff pastry out on a lightly floured surface. Cut into squares or circles to fit the bowls you have. Ladle some of the beef mixture into each bowl, top with puff pastry and bake in a 400-degree oven for 15 to 17 minutes, until pastry is golden and puffed. Serve immediately.


Spring Vegetable Pot Pie

1 pound diced, blanched Yukon gold potatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup diced onion or leeks
4 cups  of a combination of diced carrots, parsnips, celery, fennel,  mushrooms and whole pearl onions
Generous pinch salt
Generous pinch pepper
1 cup fresh peas or asparagus tips
1 pound tofu, seared with salt and pepper or 1 pound cooked chicken or beef
1/4 cup flour
3 cups vegetable stock
2 teaspoons whole grain mustard
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1 to 2 tablespoon fresh tarragon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast, optional
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 package puff pastry dough

    Blanch potatoes. Saute leeks or onions in three tablespoons oil over medium heat for five to six minutes, until translucent and tender. Add four cups diced vegetables, salt and pepper. Turn heat to medium low and saute for 10 to 12 minutes, until carrots are al dente. Splash with wine and cook on medium heat about four minutes, until wine evaporates.
    Sear the tofu.
    Stir flour and nutritional yeast into the vegetable mixture and cook one minute, stirring. Add stock and mustard and stir until it just comes to a boil and thickens. Turn heat off, fold in cooked potatoes, fresh peas or asparagus and seared tofu. Add fresh tarragon, thyme and white pepper. Taste and adjust salt.
    Roll out puff pastry dough to fit ramekins, leaving an extra 1/4 to 1/2 inch around the edges for crimping.
    Fill the ramekins until they are 1/4 to 1/2 inch below the rim. Dampen the edge of the ramekin with a little water. Place puff pastry over top and crimp the edges with a fork. Make a slit in the top then either brush with an egg wash or a little olive oil. Place on a cookie sheet.
    Bake in a 375-degree oven for 20 to 35 minutes, until puffed and golden.


Raspberry Rhubarb Pie With Cream Cheese Crust

2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4-1/2 ounces cold cream cheese, cut into three to four pieces
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small cubes, frozen
3 tablespoons cold heavy whipping cream, plus more for brushing the crust
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
4 cups rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1-1/2 cups raspberries
1-1/2 cups sugar, plus more for sprinkling the crust
1/4 cup cornstarch
Zest of 1 lemon

    In a food processor, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add cream cheese and pulse until incorporated. Add the cold butter and pulse until no pieces are bigger than pea-size. Add the three tablespoons whipping cream and one tablespoon cider vinegar and pulse to just combine.
    Divide mixture into two large zipper-lock bags. Carefully knead together into disks. Chill at least 30 minutes.
    Roll out one disk and fit it into a pie plate. Roll the rest of the dough out and cut into 1 to 2-inch strips for the lattice and set aside.
    In a large bowl, combine rhubarb, raspberries, sugar, cornstarch and lemon zest. Mix well, then pour into the crust. Arrange the lattice over the top and crimp edges.
    Lightly brush crust with heavy cream and sprinkle with extra sugar.
    Bake in a 350-degree oven for 75 to 90 minutes. The crust should be golden-brown, and juices will be bubbling up from the pie.
    Let cool before slicing.

Key Lime Pie Stuffed Strawberries

1 8-ounce package reduced fat cream cheese
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon lime juice
Zest of one lime
1 pound strawberries

    In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, lime juice and lime zest. Place in the refrigerator to chill.
    Carefully cut the tips and stems from the strawberries. Use a small spoon or metal measuring spoon to hollow out the inside of the berries, being careful not to cut into the edges.
    Spoon or pipe the filling into the berries.  You can place the filled berries in the freezer for a few minutes to help the filling set. Serve.
     If desired, you can add an additional two teaspoons lime juice without altering the filling.


Mini Raspberry Lemonade Pies

1 can sweetened condensed milk
6 ounces frozen raspberry lemonade concentrate, partially thawed
8 ounces whipped topping, thawed
12 mini-graham cracker pie crusts or 1 standard graham cracker pie crust
Fresh raspberries, optional
Lemon zest, optional

    In a mixing bowl, stir together sweetened condensed milk and raspberry lemonade concentrate. Fold in the thawed whipped topping and stir until just combined.
    Divide filing between the pie crusts. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
    Garnish with a few fresh raspberries and a sprinkling of lemon zest just before serving.

Blueberry Crumble Cream Pie

1 9-inch pie crust dough
For filling:
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sour cream
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups fresh blueberries
For crumble:
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
3/4 cup quick oats

    Place pie dough into a 9-inch pie pan and prick several times with a fork. Bake in a 450-degree oven for nine to 10 minutes,  until the edges are light golden brown. Remove from oven and reduce heat to 350 degrees.
    In a medium bowl. whisk together the sugar, flour, sour cream, eggs and vanilla until smooth. Gently fold in the blueberries. Pour into the pie shell.
    In a medium bowl, combine melted butter, brown sugar, flour and oats. Mix until combined, then sprinkle evenly over the cake mix. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
    Cool on wire rack. Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.


Beef Pot Pic

2 pounds boneless beef chuck-eye roast, trimmed and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
3 tablespoons olive oil or avocado oil
4 ounces mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
1 onion, finely chopped
3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup dry red wine or water
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups beef broth
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 bay leaf
1 cup frozen peas
1-1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 9-inch pie crust

    Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 350F degrees.
    Pat beef cubes dry with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper. Heat 1-1/2 tablespoons oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add half the beef and cook about seven minutes, until well browned all over. Using slotted spoon, transfer beef to bowl or plate with the uncooked beef.
    Reduce heat to medium and add remaining oil to the pot. Add mushrooms, onion and carrots and cook about five minutes, until vegetables are lightly browned, scraping up any browned bits. Stir in tomato paste and garlic and cook about 30 seconds, until fragrant. Stir in wine and cook about two minutes, until evaporated. Stir in flour until the vegetables are well coated, then  cook one minute. Add broth, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and bay leaf, stirring to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom, until combined. Add beef and bring to a simmer. Cover and transfer to a rack in the lower middle section of a 350-degree oven and bake about 1-1/4 hours, until beef is tender.
    Remove filling from oven and taste. If it’s chewy, add 1/4 cup water, stir and return to oven for another 20 to 30 minutes. Once meat is tender, remove and increase oven temperature to 400 degrees.
    If the meat needs more juice, remove mixture from pot to a plate, place 1/4 to 1/2 cup water in the pot and tilt to scrape off some of the crusty fond.
    Discard the bay leaf and stir in the fresh thyme and add the peas. Taste filling and season with salt and pepper as needed.
    Spray the bottom of a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate and add meat mixture to the dish. Brush the rim and interior lip of the pie plate with egg, then top with pie dough. Fold overhanging crust edges down and inward and crimp.
    Using a paring knife, cut a 1/2-inch hole in center of pie. Cut six 1/2-inch slits around the hole. Brush dough with remaining egg. Season the top of the dough with salt, pepper and remaining chopped thyme. Transfer pie to rimmed baking sheet and bake 20 to 30 minutes, until crust is golden brown.
    Transfer pie to rack and let cool for 15 minutes. Serve.

Chicken Florentine Phyllo Pie

1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 eggs
1/2 cup soft cheese, such as goat, bleu or feta cheese
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cups cubed and cooked chicken breasts
1 6-ounce bag spinach
8 tablespoons butter, melted
16 phyllo sheets

    In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta, chopped garlic, eggs, cheese, zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper. With a mixer on low, mix until combined and set aside.
    Heat olive oil in a frying pan and add cubed chicken pieces. Cook four minutes, until heated through. Add spinach leaves and cook about two minutes, until spinach is wilted. Remove from heat and transfer 1/2 cup chicken mixture to ricotta mixture. Stir to combine. Add the remaining chicken mixture to the ricotta mixture and mix until thoroughly incorporated. Set aside.
    Brush a cast iron skillet with a little bit of melted butter. Unfold phyllo sheets, then place one sheet on the bottom of the skillet.
Brush with melted butter. Top with seven more sheets, brushing each sheet with melted butter before adding the next. As you work, keep the unused stack of phyllo sheets covered so they don’t dry out.
    Spread the chicken-ricotta mixture over the phyllo sheets. Top with remaining phyllo sheets, brushing each sheet — including the top one — with melted butter.
    Bake in a 375-degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until top is browned and flaky. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Double Crust Chicken Pot Pie

Dough for 2 pie crusts
1 pound skinless boneless chicken breast, cubed
1 cup sliced carrots
1/2 cup sliced celery
1/3 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1-3/4 cups chicken broth
2/3 cup half-and-half
1 cup frozen peas
1 large egg, beaten
Sprigs of fresh thyme for garnish, optional

    Prepare pie crust as directed and chill at least two hours.
    In a large saucepan, combine chicken, carrots and celery. Add water to cover and boil 12 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and set aside.
    In a large skillet, cook butter, onions, and garlic over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent and butter is light brown. Whisk in flour, salt, black pepper, thyme, chicken broth, and half-and-half. Cook, whisking, until no flour lumps remain, then simmer over medium-low heat until thick. Taste and add more seasonings if desired. Remove from heat and set aside.
    After pie dough has chilled, roll out half the dough on a floured work surface until you have a 12-inch diameter circle. Carefully place dough into a 9-inch pie dish. Tuck it in with your fingers, making sure it is smooth. With a small, sharp knife, trim any overhanging dough and discard. Place the chicken mixture in crust and top with frozen peas. Pour gravy over top. Roll out remaining crust dough, cover the pie with it and trim the overhanging edges. Seal by crimping with a fork or fingers. With a small, sharp knife, cut a few small slits in the top crust. Using a pastry brush, brush crust and edges with beaten egg.
    Bake in a 425-degree oven for 32 to 38 minutes, until crust is golden brown, using a pie crust shield to protect the edges if needed. Cool 10 minutes before serving.
    Filling and gravy can be prepared one day in advance, covered and chilled in the refrigerator. Assemble, fill and bake the next day as directed. The unbaked or baked pot pie freezes well for two to three months. Allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bake as directed or bake to warm through.


Handheld Ham and Cheese Pie

For crust:
1-3/4 cup flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold
1-1/2 tablespoon mustard
5 to 7 tablespoon ice water
For filling:
8 ounces sliced deli ham
5 ounces brie cheese
2 tablespoon chopped chives
1 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water

    Make crust by placing flour, baking powder and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Stir with a whisk until blended. Cut butter into 1/2-inch cubes and sprinkle over the dry ingredients. Using your fingers, toss the butter in the flour, then smash it into thin slivers, breaking them up as you go. When the butter is the size of peas, stir mustard into 5 tablespoons cold water and drizzle over the dry ingredients. Toss with a fork, then use hands to blend the water in until ingredients start to stick together. Add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until a dough forms. Place dough on a piece of plastic wrap, flatten into a disk about 1-inch thick, wrap well with plastic wrap and refrigerate one hour, until the dough is firm.    
    Generously dust a large, clean surface with flour, then place the chilled dough on the flour. Roll dough out to a 16-inch square. Cut the square into quarters, forming 8-by-8-inch square. Place one quarter of the ham and brie on one side of each square, making sure there’s about a one-inch border on the three closest edges. Sprinkle one teaspoon chives, plus 1/4 teaspoon of pepper and salt, over the brie and ham.
    Brush the edges of the dough with the egg wash, then fold the empty side of the pastry dough over the ham and brie. Trim the edges if necessary and seal all the way around with a fork. Move to one of two silpat or parchment-lined baking sheets. Brush the top of the pastry with more egg wash. Repeat with the remaining squares, placing two tarts on each baking sheet.
    Bake in a 400-degree oven for 15 minutes, then rotate and turn the baking sheets 180 degrees. Bake another 10 to 15 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. Cool for 10 minutes on the baking pan, then move with a large spatula to a wire cooling rack. Sprinkle the top  with any leftover chives.
    Serve warm or at room temperature with extra mustard, if desired.
    Makes four pies.




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