14 March 2012

Happy Pi Day!

If you're kind of nerdy, you probably know that today is Pi Day (March 14...3/14...pi is 3.14...).  If you're not kind of nerdy, you're fashionably late to the party.  Welcome!

Steve's office (full of nerds, which I say with nothing but love) is having a Pi Day celebration, including the traditional Pi Day pie baking contest.  Obviously I thought Steve should enter, so I made him this (it's cool -- proxy bakers are allowed):

And then I decided it's high time I share the recipe with all of you.

It's pretty much the recipe that came with our Cuisinart, but with some changes to save time and increase yumminess.  First you make the pie dough (which is really flaky and delicious, and people are always really impressed that it's homemade, but it's super-easy!).

Pie dough ingredients
2-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 sticks very cold unsalted butter, cut into roughly 1" chunks
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup ice water

Use the metal blade of the Cuisinart to process the flour, butter, and salt until the butter is all chopped up and the mixture is like coarse meal.  Add ice water and pulse until the dough clumps into a few big clumps.  Here's where the recipe says to take it out (careful not to slice your fingers on the blade!) and knead it, but I skip the kneading and just divide it roughly equally into two sandwich bags, making each half as round as possible and then flattening them into discs about 3/-1" thick.  Put the discs into the refrigerator and chill for at least an hour (overnight is fine).  Once it's chilled, it's time to assemble the pie.

Apple pie filling ingredients
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons flour
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon FRESHLY GROUND nutmeg (you won't regret this)
2 pounds apples, peeled and sliced into 8-10 slices each (I use five Granny Smith apples)

Roll out the first dough packet so it's big enough to fill your pie pan (I just tear the sandwich bag off*) and place it in the pan.  Mix the sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg together in a small bowl.  Arrange the apple slices in the bottom crust.  Then pour the sugar mixture evenly over the apples.  Next roll out the second dough packet and place it on top of the pie, securing the edges (I'm no good at this.  I kind of just tuck them into the side of the pan).  Sprinkle some water on top of the pie and then sprinkle sugar on top, then make five or six slits into the top of the pie so steam can escape.  Bake for about 45 minutes, until the top is golden brown.

The process isn't tidy.  Midway through, your kitchen probably looksa little something like this:

But that's okay, because at the end you get this:

And I dare say it tastes better than it looks!

* Yes, I waste two ziploc bags every time I make an apple pie.  I don't feel good about it.  If you have a better suggestion for how to package the dough to chill, I'm all ears.


  1. You could've gotten so many style points by making the slits the Pi symbol - next time!
    For chilling dough - glass bowl with lid? or covered in plastic wrap; or wrap in wax paper or parchment paper (compostable) before placing in plastic bags - then you can reuse the plastic later.

    1. Aw man, I definitely should have made a π on top! In the future, I will run all of my life decisions by you first.

      I like the parchment paper idea. I'll work on that. Thanks!