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14 Days of Pi(e): Boston Cream Pi

Happy Pi(e) Day!!
The day we've been waiting for is finally here! I hope that you have a day full of desserts, pastries, and geometry waiting for you. If you are looking for a fun Pi Day activity, you might try reading this Wired article titled Calculating Pi for Pie Day. If you are looking for a delicious activity for Pi(e) Day, how about indulging in some Boston Cream Pi (yes, technically a cake, I know)? Boston cream is one of my absolute favorite cakes or pies. The photo here is of the one I made using this recipe, but I'm sharing the Betty Crocker recipe from the Kirschner Collection -- I've also used this recipe with great success. What pi(e)s did you all make today?

Boston Cream Pi

Boston Cream Pie
From Betty Crocker's Pie and Pastry Cookbook (1972)

1 1/2 cups cake flour or 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup shortening
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
Cream Filling (recipe below)
Chocolate Glaze (recipe below)

Heat oven to 350°. Grease and flour round layer pan, 9 x 1 1/2 inches. Measure all ingredients except Cream Filling and Chocolate Glaze into large mixer bowl. Blend 30 seconds on low speed, scraping bowl constantly. Beat 3 minutes on medium speed, scraping bowl occasionally. Pour into prepared pan. Bake 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool. Split cake to make 2 thin layers. Fill layers with Cream Filling; spread Chocolate Glaze over top. Serve in wedges. Refrigerate remaining cake

Cream Filling

1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups milk
2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla

In saucepan stir together sugar, cornstarch and salt thoroughly. Add milk gradually to egg yolks; stir egg mixture slowly into dry ingredients. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Press plastic wrap onto surface of filling. cool thoroughly.

Chocolate Glaze

Melt 3 tablespoons butter or margarine and 2 squares (1 ounce each) unsweetened chocolate or 2 envelopes (1 ounce each) premelted unsweetened chocolate. Blend in 1 cup confectioners' sugar and 3/4 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in about 2 tablespoons hot water, 1 teaspoon at a time, until glaze has spreading consistency and is smooth.

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14 Days of Pi(e): Fresh Peach Pie


Tomorrow is the big day! If you're scrambling for ideas, trivia, etc. for your pi(e) party, has some good information (and pi sightings!) I only have two pies left to share with you, but you can be sure that every day is Pi(e) Day in my heart. Today's recipe is for a classic peach pie and comes from Occident/King Midas Flour, formerly of Minneapolis. I know this little book is full of good recipes because the cover is warped and I had to scrape some dried flour off of it -- the signs of a well-loved cookbook.

Occident King Midas Pie and Dessert Recipes

Fresh Peach Pie
From Occident/King Midas Pie & Dessert Recipes (1968) Peavey Flour Mills

1 recipe 8-inch Two Crust Pastry (recipe below)
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons corn starch
2 tablespoons water
1 cup crushed fresh peaches
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 cups sliced fresh peaches

Prepare pastry. Press 2 cups of mixture evenly and firmly into 9-inch pie pan. Combine sugars and corn starch. Stir in water, crushed peaches, salt and nutmeg. Cook, stirring constantly, until thick. Stir in lemon juice and sliced peaches. Turn into pie shell. Sprinkle with remaining crust mixture. Bake at 450°F for 10 minutes, then at 375° for 30 to 35 minutes, or until golden brown.

Occident King Midas Flour
"Mix and Press" Two Crust Pastry

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup shortening
1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 tablespoons cold water

Place all ingredients in large mixing bowl.
Beat at low speed until particles are fine. (Be sure there are no large particles of butter or shortening. Use a rubber spatula frequently to push mixture into beaters.)

Today I'm sharing a beautiful recipe from a beautiful cookbook. It's sweet, has whiskey in it, and is made of vegetables. Yum.

sweet potato
sweet potato CC BY-NC-SA postbear eater of worlds via flickr

Sweet Potato Pie with a Gingerbread Crust and Bourbon Whipped Cream
From Roots (2012) by Diane Morgan

Gingerbread Crust
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 cups gingersnap crumbs

1 3/4 lb dark orange-fleshed sweet potatoes (2 large or 3 medium)
2 T. unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into small cubes
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 T. bourbon whiskey
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp. kosher or fine sea salt

Bourbon Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 T. confectioners' sugar
1 tsp. bourbon whiskey

Position one rack in the center and a second in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment.

To make the crust, butter a 9-inch deep-dish glass pie plate with 1 tbsp of the melted butter. In a medium bowl, combine the gingersnap crumbs and the remaining butter and toss and stir until the crumbs are evenly moistened. Press the crumb mixture evenly in the bottom and up the sides of the pie plate, stopping within about 1/2 in of the rim . Bake the crust on the lower third of the oven until crisp at the edges and lightly colored, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool completely on a rack.

To make the filling, pierce each sweet potato several times with a fork and place on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until the potatoes are very tender when pierced with a fork, 1 to 1 1/2 hours, depending on the size of the potatoes. Remove from the oven, cut each potato in half lengthwise and let cool for 10 minutes.

Scoop the flesh from the sweet potato halves into a large bowl, discarding the skins. Use a potato masher to mash the potatoes with the butter. Add the brown sugar and continue to mash. (The potatoes should be warm enough to melt the butter and dissolve most of the brown sugar.) Using a wooden spoon, stir in the eggs. Add the coconut milk, cream, bourbon, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt and stir until the mixture is smooth and light. (Alternatively, beat the ingredients with a handheld mixer or a stand mixer.)

Gently pour the filling into the cooled crust. Place the pie in the center of the oven and bake until the sides are slightly puffed, about 45 minutes. The center of the filling will still be a bit soft and will even jiggle a little when you shake the pie plate gently. Turn off the oven, set the oven door ajar, and leave the pie in the oven, undisturbed, for another 10 minutes. Transfer the pie to a wire rack and cool completely.

To make the whipped cream, in a medium bowl, combine the cream, confectioners' sugar and bourbon. Using a whisk or handheld mixer, whip the cream until medium peaks form. Use immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 4 hours.

Cut the pie into wedges with a warm, wet knife, wiping the knife clean after every cut. Top with the whipped cream and serve.

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14 Days of Pi(e): Bacon and Onion Pie


Today, Modern Farmer -- one of our favorite periodicals here at Magrath Library -- is kicking off Pig Week. And what better way to celebrate the convergence of Pi(e) Day with Pig Week, than with bacon pie?

Bacon Heart
Bacon Heart CC BY-NC-SA Jim via Flickr

Bacon and Onion Pie
From Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking (2012) by Nathalie Dupree & Cynthia Graubart

1 9-inch savory piecrust
6 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled, drippings reserved
1 medium onion
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
2 cups grated Gruyère, Cheddar, or soft goat cheese
1 cup milk, preferably Flavored Milk (recipe below)

Prebake the piecrust in a 9-inch pie pan and set aside to cool.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Reheat 2 tablespoons bacon droppings in a large skillet; add onion and sauté until soft. Lightly beat the egg and egg yolk together; add milk, crumbeld bacon, onions, and cheese; stir together. Ladle mixture into a partially prebaked piecrust, move to a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center of the pie comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Flavored Milk

1-2 cups milk
1 slice onion
1 slice celery
1 slice carrot
1 slice fennel bulb
Peppercorns as desired
Thyme, parsley stalk, as desired

Heat milk in a saucepan or a glass measuring cup in the microwave with any of or all of the ingredients until warm and nearly at a simmer. Remove from heat and sit 1/2 hour at room temperature or more in the fridge. Strain before using.

Bonus: Don't forget to check out the HamCam!

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14 Days of Pi(e): Rhubarb Strawberry Dessert Pie


This pie has four delicious layers (not including the crust): rhubarb, cream cheese, strawberry, and meringue. But really, it had me at "cream cheese layer." The recipe is printed in Crisco's Amercian Pie Celebration (part of the Favorite Brand Name Recipes series) and was created by Tobi Lynne of Minot, North Dakota.

rhubarb strawberry dessert pie

Rhubarb Strawberry Dessert Pie
From American Pie Celebration (1991)

10-inch single pie crust

Rhubarb Filling
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 cups red rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup whipping cream

Cream Cheese Layer
1 package (3 ounces) cream cheese, softened
2 tablepoons confectioners sugar
4 ounces frozen nondairy whipped topping, thawed

Strawberry Filling
1 pint fresh strawberries, sliced (2 cups)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
4 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch

4 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup granulated sugar

For crust, prepare and bake.

For rhubarb filling, melt butter in medium saucepan. Add rhubarb and 1 cup granulated sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally, on low heat until rhubarb is tender. Combine remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 3 tablespoons cornstarch and salt. Stir in egg yolks and whipping cream. Add to rhubarb mixture. Cook and stir until thick. Cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until cold. Spoon into cooled baked pie crust.

For cream cheese layer, combine cream cheese and confectioners sugar in small bowl. Beat at medium speed of electric mixer until blended. Beat in whipped topping. Spread evenly over rhubarb.

For strawberry filling, combine strawberries, 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 4 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch in small saucepan. Cook, stirring constantly, until thick. Cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until cold. Spread evenly over cream cheese layer.

For meringue, heat oven to 350°F. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar at high speed of electric mixer until soft peaks form. Beat in 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until sugar is dissolved and stiff peaks form. Spread over strawberry filling, covering completely and sealing to edge of pie crust.

Bake at 350°F for 10 minutes or until brown. Cool to room temperature before serving.

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14 Days of Pi(e): Pizza!


It's Saturday and one of my favorite weekend activities is making pizza. If you like to make your own pizza, I highly recommend reading chapters 12-14 of Ken Forkish's Flour Water Salt Yeast: the Fundamentals of Artisan Bread and Pizza. I couldn't begin to do justice to Forkish's techniques for crust making, which take up whole chapters in the book, here on the blog, but I can share with you some of the mouth-watering topping combinations therein. Enjoy your weekend!


Margherita pizza toppings
Smooth Red Sauce (see book for recipe)
Fresh whole-milk mozzarella cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Whole basil leaves
Extra-virgin olive oil
Fine-flake sea salt
Chile flakes

Golden beet and duck breast "prosciutto" pizza toppings
Golden beets
Fresh whole-milk mozzarella cheese
Grated provolone cheese
Fresh rosemary
Ground black pepper
Thinly sliced salt-cured duck breast or prosciutto-style ham

Sweet potato and pear pizza toppings
Sweet potato cut into 1/6-inch slices
Extra-virgin olive oil
Fine-flake sea salt
Pear cut into 1/4-inch slices
Shaved Pecorino Romano cheese
Chopped cilantro
Grated fresh ginger
Oil-packed red chile peppers, chopped
Ground black pepper

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14 Days of Pi(e): Grasshopper Pie


I picked this pie when I was craving a Shamrock Shake. I think you could get away with calling it a shamrock pie during the month of March and nobody would be disappointed.

Grasshopper Pie

Grasshopper Pie
From Better Homes and Gardens All-Time Favorite Pies (1978)

1 Chocolate wafer crust
6 1/2 cups tiny marshmallows
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup green cremè de menthe
2 tablespoons white crème de cacao
2 cups whipping cream
Unsweetened whipped cream
Chocolate curls

In large saucepan, combine marshmallows and milk. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, till marshmallows are melted. Remove from heat. Cool mixture, stirring every 5 minutes. Combine crème de menthe and crème de cacao; stir into marshmallow mixture. Whip 2 cups whipping cream till soft peaks form. Fold marshmallow mixture into the whipped cream; turn into chilled wafer crust. Freeze several hours or overnight till firm. Before serving, garnish pie with additional unsweetened whipped cream and chocolate curls.

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14 Days of Pi(e): Knishes


Is a knish a pie? Maybe not exactly, but it has filling and dough and is delicious, so I'm judging it close enough for Pi(e) Day. They would be great for a Pi(e) Day potluck (ahem, coworkers!) -- like little individual hand pies. The recipe I'm sharing is from Sara Kasdan's Love and Knishes which is a real gem of a Jewish cookbook, complete with witty banter and solid recipes.

Fresh knishes!
Fresh Knishes CC BY-ND Dianne Yee, Flickr

From Love and Knishes: And Irrepressible Guide to Jewish Cooking (1956) by Sara Kasdan

5 cups unsifted flour
1/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
3/4 cup salad oil
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup lukewarm water

Sift together dry ingredients. Make a well in the center and add oil, eggs, and water. Mix thoroughly. Dust a bowl with flour; invert for a moment to remove excess flour. Place dough in the floured bowl and cover with a tea towel. Let stand for 15 minutes. Knead well on a lightly floured white cloth stretched over the kitchen table. Divide the dough into four parts. Work with one part, keeping the remainder in the covered bowl. Fill one part of the dough before rolling out the next; the sheets of dough will become too dry if allowed to stand. Assembly-line techniques are for the factory, not the kitchen.
Roll and stretch dough into a round sheet about 20 inches in diameter. Brush the sheet with salad oil or melted butter. Starting 1 1/2 inches from the edge neares you, place a line of filling* 1 1/2 inches wide and 1 inch thick across the width of the sheet of dough. Lift the flap nearest you to cover the filling, then roll the filled dough twice. Cut this part away from the remainder of the sheet of dough. Repeat the process until all the dough has been used. Brush the tops of the filled rolls with oil or melted butter. Slice at 1 1/2-inch intervals. Upend each slice, cut side down, on a liberally oiled baking tin. Press down on each slice with the palm of the hand so that it is flattened and rounded. Bake at 350 degrees until lightly browned (about 1 hour). Some cooks prefer to turn the knishes when they are brown on the bottom. Serve piping hot as a soup accompaniment. Makes about 60.

*Knish Fillings
(for 30 knishes)


3 to 5 large onions, chopped
1/4 pound butter 2 1/2 pounds dry cottage cheese
3 eggs
3 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

Sauté onions in butter until golden. Blend together all ingredients


3 onions, chopped
1/2 cup schmaltz or 1/4 pound butter
2 cups mashed potatoes
1 egg
salt and pepper, to taste

Sauté onions in schmaltz or butter until golden. Blend together all ingredients.


1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon schmaltz
1 cup cooked beef
1 cup boiled lung
1 cup cooked kasha, cooked rice, or mashed potatoes
1 egg
salt and pepper to taste

Sauté onion in schmaltz until golden. Grind beef and lung together. Combine all ingredients.

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14 Days of Pi(e): Margarita Pie


Last month I took a short, but wonderful, trip to Mexico for a friend's wedding. I've been dreaming of margaritas and beaches ever since, which is how this margarita pie found its way into the Pi(e) Day lineup. Enjoy it and think warm thoughts!

Margarita at Fred's
Margarita at Fred's CC BY Ralph Daily

Margarita Pie
From De Grazia and Mexican Cookery (1982) by Rita Davenport

1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
5 tablespoons tequila
5 tablespoons triple sec
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1 1/2 cups whipping cream, beaten until stiff
graham cracker crust for 9- or 10-inch pie

Blend together condensed milk, tequila, triple sec, and lime juice. Fold in whipped cream. Pour into graham cracker crust and freeze for four hours or until firm. Serve garnished with whipped cream and a slice of lime.

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14 Days of Pi(e): Herb Pie


It's Tuesday, it's the fourth Day of Pi(e), and I'm back to savory pies. Today I'm bringing you a recipe from a cookbook that has received rave reviews and entered our collection recently when it won a 2013 James Beard award. This is an herb pie packed with swiss chard, cheese, and eggs in a flaky filo crust, and, as the name implies, with lots of herbs to remind us of Spring.


Herb Pie
From Jerusalem: a cookbook (2012) By Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for brushing the pastry
1 large onion, diced
1 lb Swiss chard, stems and leaves finely shredded but kept separate
3-4 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1 3/4 oz. green onion, chopped
1 3/4 oz arugula
1 oz flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 oz fresh mint, chopped
2/3 oz dill, chopped
4 oz anari or ricotta cheese, crumbled
3 1/2 oz aged cheddar cheese, grated
2 oz feta cheese, crumbled
grated zest of 1 lemon
2 large free-range eggs
1/3 tsp salt
1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
9 oz filo pastry

Preheat the oven to 400F/200C. Pour the olive oil into a deep frying-pan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for 8 minutes without browning. Add the chard stems and the celery and continue cooking for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chard leaves, increase the heat to medium-high and stir as you cook for 4 minutes, until the leaves wilt. Add the scallion/green onion, arugula and herbs and cook for 2 minutes more. Remove from the heat and transfer to a colander to cool.
Once the mixture is cool, squeeze out as much water as you can and transfer to a mixing bowl. Add the three cheeses, lemon zest, eggs, salt, pepper and sugar and mix well.
Lay out a sheet of filo pastry and brush it with some olive oil. Cover with another sheet and continue in the same manner until you have 5 layers of filo brushed with oil, all covering an area large enough to line the sides and bottom of a 8 1/2-inch pie dish, plus extra to hang over the rim. Line the pie dish with the pastry, fill with the herb mix and fold the excess pastry over the edge of the filling, trimming the pastry as necessary to create a 3/4 inch border.
Make another set of 5 layers of filo brushed with oil and place them over the pie. Scrunch the pastry a little to create a wavy, uneven top and trim the edges so it just covers the pie. Brush generously with olive oil and bake for 40 minutes, or until the filo turns a nice golden brown. Remove from the oven and serve warm or at room temperature.

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