Monday, March 14, 2011

Yippee-Pi-Yay: Pies for Pi Day

I find mathematics fairly off-putting. My dad was an engineer who loved numbers, equations, and logic, but sadly any genes for fascination and skill with numbers bypassed me. I do, however, love pie. So I'm very pleased that 3/14 is Pi Day because it gives us a perfectly good excuse (as if you need one) to enjoy pie.

There will be no memorization of or recitations of pie in our household (though we may manage to remember the official Pi Second: 3/14/1:59:26). Instead, we'll serve up chicken pot pie for dinner this evening. As for dessert, we got a head start on that yesterday.

I figured I'd bake a pie using whatever I had in the freezer. I knew I still had summer fruits frozen there, so I had in mind a jumbleberry pie. But I hadn't realized what a dent we'd made in them: there was just a handful of freezer-burned raspberries and a scant 2 cups of blueberries. Pecan pie was a possibility, but my daughter doesn't like nuts, so that was out of the question. And there wasn't any molasses sticking around, so shoo-fly pie wasn't an option, either.

So I bravely attempted my first lemon meringue pie ever. My mom applauded the effort, noting that in 55 years of marriage she had only made one once and that she recalled the meringue peaks collapsing.

I managed to properly prebake the crust (the first time I ever prebaked a crust, I tossed in a cupful of those little ceramic pie weights to prevent the crust from bubbling up--but did not realize until too late that I should've put a layer of foil down first; the ceramic marbles got baked into the crust so that it looked as if I were making BB-pellet pie).

The lemon filling was easy to make, the meringue a bit more difficult. I was so mesmerised watching the Kitchen Aid mixer whip up the meringue topping, because for the first time ever I got to turn the mixer all the way up to the number 10 setting, so I think I whipped it for too long--the meringue had a consistency not unlike instant mashed potatoes, and I guess it was supposed to be more like whipped cream.

Slathering it on top of the wiggly filling was kind of like trying to spackle a quaking bog.

Still, it looked OK and people ate it, but after we polish it off tonight, I think it will be many a pi day before another lemon meringue shows up on the table.