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Happy Pie Day!

March is full of fun things to celebrate at our house - our anniversary, St. Patrick's Day, March Madness. And now we can add Pie Day to that list! It's March 14th. Get it? 3.14?

We can be a little nerdy at our house. The above picture is taken from one of Jack's math assignments several years ago when he discovered the beauty hidden in the symbol for pi (3.14, not 🥧 ). Every time he wrote the symbol he took great effort to make the little legs of the pi sign look just like they did in the book. He even took a marker and make a pi symbol on his forearm, claiming he wanted to start a tattoo business called "Nerdy Tatts". And while he was busy making intricate mathematical symbols, there was Liddy and her studious side...

Now let's get down to the real purpose of the blog post - making actual pie. It's kind of a lost art with the ease of premade pie shells, but it's really fun to do and actually once you master a great crust, the possibilities are endless, stretching well beyond the traditional sweet dessert. In fact, we eat more savory pie dishes than sweet ones at our house. Pie making seems to be reserved for holidays and rare occasions when we have extra fruit. And my dad's birthday. He does love pie.

I remember making pie with my mom as a kid, or at least I remember helping her use up all the remnants of dough making "sugar pies". We would either lay out the rag-tag bits of dough on a cookie sheet or occasionally we would cobble together an actual mini-pie worth of crust, brush it with butter, sprinkle it with a cinnamon sugar mixture and bake it until it was crispy. I probably loved these crunchy crust bites more than the actual pie.

Before I share a new method of pie crust making I recently learned, I wanted to share a few tips I got from our local pie lady, Jennifer Smith of Gardner, owner of Betty's Pies and Cobblers. Here are her top tips on getting a flaky crust:

  1. Everything needs to be COLD! Cold butter in chunks, cold water is a must!

  2. If you use your hands, pastry blender or a food processor, make sure not to over work the dough.

  3. Once you have the dough, wrap and place in fridge for at least 30 min. Once you roll out your crust and place in your pan, I always pop it back in the freezer while I am prepping the filling, then pull it out, fill and bake.

Recently I heard a rumor of making pie crust in a stand mixer and had to give it a try. I've done it by hand for years, mixing with a pastry blender, a fork and even literally just with my hands. I've tried the food processor method, too. They've all worked, but the stand mixer was super easy, fast and a piece of cake (?) to clean up. Almost enough to tempt me into more regular pie making... 🤔

So once you master your crust recipe, you must fill it! Think beyond your typical fruit pie. Below are a few recipe links that we've used and loved, but remember pie crust also translates into empanadas, hand pies and homemade toaster pastries! They're just little pies to have and hold, well at least for a little while.

Pie Links:

Banana Cream Pie (this pudding recipe is the best)

Joanna's Quiche (a great base recipe that you can adjust with different meats, cheese or veg)

Chicken Pot Pie (add our Mediterranean seasoning to this. You're welcome.)

Our favorite quiche is this Pizza Quiche. It's super fast and easy. We have it for dinner with a salad. Usually all the ingredients are in the fridge, so it's a nice "hip-pocket" kind of meal, but I also made it for a Bridal shower brunch, so it is versatile for lots of occasions.

Pizza Quiche

1 pie shell or prepared pie crust

3 cups shredded cheese (a mix works - Colby-Jack, cheddar, whatever you have on hand)

1 cup diced pepperoni (I cut up the slices from a package of pepperoni)

6 eggs

1 cup red salsa

Preheat oven to 400. In a bowl, mix the pepperoni , eggs and salsa. Set aside. Bake the empty pie crust for 5 minutes then remove from oven. Reduce oven temperature to 350. Add half the cheeses to the pie shell. Pour the egg mixture over the cheese then top with the remaining cheese. Bake 40-45 minutes until set, or no longer jiggly. Let cool about 15 minutes before cutting to serve.

So enjoy your pie day! Make a great crust! Fill it with yummy things! Go get a tattoo of your favorite math symbol! Ok, let's skip the last one and just have another slice of pie.

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