Happy Pi Day!!

Hi Folks:

That most special day of the year is upon us once again! While it will be another 97 years before we’ll have a really special Pi Day (3-14-15, 9:26:53), any excuse to eat baked treats is a good one!

Since the idea of combining irrational numbers and desserts is a bit nutty, we thought we’d offer up two slightly nutty recipes for you today. The first comes from the oldest cookbook we have on the shelf (so far): The Good Housekeeping Cookbook (© 1942, edited by Dorothy B. Marsh).

Brazil Nut Crust
1½ cups (375 ml) finely ground Brazil nuts
3 tbsp. (45 ml) granulated sugar

Heat oven to 400°F (200°C). Combine ingredients well. With back of spoon, press mixture to bottom and side of a 9″ (22.5 cm) pie plate. Do not spread on rim. Bake for 8 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool.

Combine that with something like this:

Caramel Nut Chiffon Pie
6 tbsp. (90 ml) granulated sugar
1 envelope unflavoured gelatin
2 cups (500 ml) milk
3 egg yolks
2 tbsp. (30 ml) granulated sugar
½ tsp. (2 ml) salt
1 tsp. (5 ml) vanilla
3 egg whites
¼ cup (60 ml) granulated sugar

Melt 6 tbsp. (90 ml) sugar in skillet over medium heat until golden brown and syrupy, stirring constantly. Combine gelatin and milk in the top of a double boiler over boiling water; scald, stirring occasionally. Slowly add melted sugar, stirring constantly until dissolved. In a mixing bowl, beat egg yolks and 2 tbsp. (30 ml) sugar. Slowly stir in milk mixture. Return to double boiler; cook, stirring, until mixture just coats spoon. Remove; add salt, vanilla. Cool until thick enough to mound slightly when dropped from spoon. Beat egg whites quite stiff; slowly add ¼ cup (60 ml) sugar while beating. Fold into caramel mixture. Turn into pie shell; chill until set.

Our second recipe is equally nutty, but from a different source. This time we turn to The Raw Gourmet (© 1999, by Nomi Shannon). If you like raw foods, this is a book worth finding.

Basic Pecan-Date Crust
1½ cups (375 ml) pecans (or walnuts)
6 Medjool dates, pitted
Dash vanilla
Dash cinnamon

In a food processor, process the pecans until they are uniformly fine. Add the dates and process until they are fully blended and the mixture is sticky. Add the vanilla, cinnamon and enough water to hold the crust together. Press the mixture into an 8″ or 9″ (20 or 22.5 cm) pie pan. Dehydrate the crust for 1 hour or leave it in the sun 1-2 hours or in a warm oven for 20 minutes.

For a filling for this crust, you might want to try:

Frozen Mango Pie
1 – 8″ (20 cm) pie crust
4-5 cups (1-1.25 litre) frozen mango chunks
½ cup (125 ml) diced, dried apricots (frozen)
½ cup diced Medjool dates (pitted) or date sugar (optional)

For best results, use a heavy-duty juicer. If the mangoes are not very sweet, add the dates or date sugar to sweeten. If mangoes are not in season, look for frozen ones or use frozen papaya, persimmons, sapote or cherimoya. The crust is optional as long as the pie is kept frozen until serving.

The mangoes and diced fruit need to be thoroughly frozen. This recipe works best if the bowl that catches the juice has also been chilled in the freezer. Work quickly to obtain best results. With a heavy-duty juicer with a blank screen, alternate putting the mango chunks, dried apricots and dates through the machine and into a large bowl. Place the mixture in the crust. Freeze.

Variation: For a chunky effect, dice the apricots very fine and stir them into the juice mixture just before pouring the filling into the pie shell.

If you try these recipes, please leave us a comment and let us know how they worked out for you! And feel free to try our other Pi Day recipes as well!


P.S. It is perhaps fitting that Stephen Hawking chose to go off exploring the universe on Albert Einstein‘s birthday. Wherever they are, we imagine they’ve got a lot to talk about!

P.S. II, the sequel. Want to know the first million digits of Pi ( π)? Of course you do!

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