15 March 2011
Pi(e) Day Eve
Pi Day (March 14th – 3.14 by American date conventions) was on a weekday this year. The youngest child had complained bitterly that Pi Day was a school day, and he wanted to stay home from school to have a party, etc. etc. By sheer random coincidence, he was assigned snack duty for that day. I asked his teacher if we could send in a pie (along with some healthy (and round!) tangerines) and she was fine with it. I also got the school librarian to buy a copy of Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi for the library, so the teacher read it to the kids on Monday morning. Not sure they quite got the concept, but maybe it’ll be easier next time they encounter it (yeah, right). They definitely enjoyed the pie!
So on Pi Day Eve (Sunday), we held our Third Annual Pi(e) Day Party. Of course, I made pecan pie (increased the pecans, used some dark Karo in place of the standard). Knowing that I was going to make a chocolate chip pie to send to school, I convinced the youngest to let me make something different for the party. I thought about making cherry pie, but heard a rumor that someone else was bringing one. I flipped through my Moosewood Desserts cookbook and was intrigued by the lemon chess pie (we had some lemons in the fridge) but decided to make the mango pie (using a package of mango chunks from the freezer). I almost used the crust from peach pie in a gingerbread crust, but decided to stick with my standard flaky buttery pastry recipe. However, it did inspire me to add diced candied ginger to the mango. Too bad I didn’t use cardamom, or it could have been my entry for this month’s Spice Rack Challenge! My version of the recipe follows.
Mango Ginger Pie
based on Moosewood Restaurant Book of Desserts, p 56
top and bottom pie crust (use your favorite)
4 1/2 cups mango cubes
1 tsp freshly grated lime peel (I had to resort to lemon)
2 Tab fresh lime juice (I used jarred)
1 scant cup sugar (next time I might just use 3/4 cup)
1/4 cup chopped candied ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
a pinch of ground ginger
3 Tab cornstarch
Preheat the oven to 375° F.
Roll out half the pie crust and arrange in the pie pan.
Combine all of the filling ingredients in a large bowl. Toss to coat the fruit evenly. Fill the pie shell with the fruit mixture.
Roll out the remaining crust and place on top of the filling. Trim the top crust and then crimp and flute the edges. With the tip of a paring knife, cut small sits in the top crust to allow steam to escape (or use my friend Roger’s trick, and cut out the shape of the pi-symbol).
Bake for 45 to 60 minutes, until the filling is bubbling and the pie is lightly browned. (Mine baked for 55 minutes.)
Somewhere in the past couple of weeks, I saw a lovely pie that was covered with star-shaped crust cutouts (and a solitary moon) – maybe this one at Instructables? I thought that would be more fun than a solid crust, so that’s what I did. It didn’t require that much extra time.
With about 30 people, 9 pies (including one savory; see above – peach not shown), 1 homemade batch of raspberry sorbet, lots of chatting, a round of capture the flag in a muddy field, and a post-party D&D game, I’d say the party qualified as a big success! I liked the mango ginger pie, although it was not a huge hit (nearly half remained at the end of the party). T-boy tried pecan pie for the first time since he didn’t have his standard chocolate chip available, and he liked it. Now if I could just convince myself to like it, it could be the family standard!
Next year Pi(e) Day will be on a Wednesday – maybe we should have a mid-week pie dinner party? We can’t start at 1:59, but traditions have to be flexible if they are to survive…