Happy Pi Day!
That’s right, not Pie Day — that one falls on 23 January each year as declared by The American Pie Council, “the only organisation committed to preserving America’s pie heritage … [to] raise awareness, enjoyment and consumption of pies”.
But Pi Day — derived from the date matching the first three digits of Pi, an infinite non-repeating pattern created by the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter aka 3.14159265359andonandonitgoes.
Apparently Pi Day was created “to convince the world that mathematics is fun” — and was even made an official day in 2009 by an United States House of Representatives resolution — but it doesn’t take a 60,00-digits-of-Pi-genius to work out that eating pie on Pi day is far more party-friendly than yelling numbers at a wall.
So on to pie. Pie dreamt up to use up a jar in my fridge filled with the liquid left over after making butter — ie buttermilk, yes really. Pie created without a crust because even though I’ve been on a mission to create brilliant pie crusts I still like the filling best. Pie that while pictured in lovely civilised slices was in reality eaten with a spoon straight from the pan, not that there’s anything wrong with that.
On to the recipe in just a moment but first a selection of facts* about pie from the American Pie Council:
- Nearly one out of five (19%) of Americans prefer apple pie, followed by pumpkin (13%), pecan (12%), banana cream (10%) and cherry (9%).
- Over a third (35%) of Americans say they’ve had pies for breakfast. Pies as lunch (66%) and midnight snacks (59%) also have a popular following.
- When asked what dessert Americans would prefer a friend or family member bring to their house for a holiday dinner, pie was the winner (29%). Cake (17%) and cookies (15%) rounded out the top-three spots.
- Pie was not always America’s favourite dessert — in the 19th Century, fruit pies were a common breakfast food eaten before the start of a long day.
Looks like research has now justified my penchant for pie for breakfast. Everybody wins.
Oh one final note — next year on March 14, 2015 at 9:26 and 53 seconds, during a brief moment just after your slice of breakfast pie, the date and time will perfectly match the first ten digits of Pi: 3.141592653. If the world doesn’t end we should all celebrate with more pie.
Buttermilk Pumpkin Custard Pie
Creamy and smooth and just a little bit spiced, this pie is perfect with or without a crust and ideal for any time of day — breakfast and midnight snacks included.
Makes one 8 inch pie tin of filling
- 1 c roasted pureed pumpkin (or the canned stuff if you must)
- 1 c buttermilk
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
- 1 Tbsp butter, melted
- ¼ c rice syrup
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp each ginger, clove & allspice powders
- pinch each sea salt & nutmeg
Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Lightly brush a pie pan with a bit of the melted butter, reserving remaining for filling.
Whisk together all ingredients and pour into prepared pan.
Bake approximately 30 mins until edges are golden and centre is just wobbly. Recite Pi while waiting for the pie to cool on a rack.
- Buttermilk: if you make your own butter from fresh cream instead of cultured cream you’ll want to add a tsp of lemon juice to the buttermilk because it will be sweet.
- Non-Dairy: yes, you can replace the buttermilk with non-dairy milk mixed with a tsp of lemon juice and replace the butter with your non-dairy butter substitute.
- Syrup: feel free to replace rice syrup with maple or honey and adjust the quantity to taste.
- Baking: the pie is done when the tip of a knife inserted halfway from edge to centre comes out clean.
vegetarian // gluten-free // soy-free // refined sugar-free // dairy-free option
*Pie Fun Facts from a 2008 survey by Crisco and American Pie Council because someone actually commissioned research research about this stuff (fyi, laughing hysterically as I type this, knowing that while it was probably part of a marketing campaign by the brand sponsor I still find it both completely ludicrous and so very brilliant).