Pi Day: Lessons in Pie

Today is March 14. Aka… “Pi Day.” We must celebrate.

I mean, hello. I was an engineering major. I write about the science behind food.  Did you really expect me to let Pi Day go by without acknowledging it?

So, I bring you a flashback post. Enjoy!

November 19, 2010: Lessons in Pie

Earlier this week, Lindsey from The Morningstar Project invited me to join in on a pie-baking challenge, and of course I accepted. Since I’ve never made a pie with the traditional buttery crust (I usually opt for graham cracker crusts and the like) with a lattice top, I decided to go with this Pears & Vanilla Brown Butter Pie.


The only changes I made were using apples instead of pears (hey, I use what I have!) and omitting the raisins. Mostly because I’m not crazy about dried fruit in desserts like pies.

The pie was beautiful with a lightly browned crust, and was delicious to boot. Especially when paired with some French vanilla ice cream.


A few things I learned and tips I picked up:

1. A food processor works wonders when it comes to making the crust. If you have one, use it. It is much faster and easier than trying to cut in the butter by hand.

2. Don’t forget to brush the top crust with milk and sugar. But if you do, the pie will still be pretty and taste good. Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything. I’d never forget a step in a recipe…

3. Do not use a mini spatula that is not made to handle high heat when making the vanilla butter. It will melt. You will have to start over.

4. Making the lattice isn’t difficult if you don’t weave it. It will still be pretty if you just criss-cross the strips without weaving them. Oh, and a pizza cutter works to cut out the lattice strips if you don’t have a pastry cutter.

5. A piece of wax paper between the rolling pin and crust dough makes it a lot easier to roll out the crust. It won’t stick to the rolling pin!

6. If the edges of your crust are browning to fast, cover just the edges in aluminum foil. This is harder to do than it sounds, and I still haven’t figured out the perfect technique. You’ve been warned.

7. Make sure there is enough crust all the way around the edges so that the filling doesn’t bubble out and spread on the bottom of the oven. That is going to be a fun cleaning project this afternoon, I can tell.

What’s your favorite kind of pie?


  1. says

    Happy Pi Day to you!

    Great pie making tips. I always struggle with the aluminum foil trick too! The foil gets hot quickly and never seems to want to curve around the crust.

    Feel free to submit this post to the Pi Day blog hop I’m hosting. 🙂

    • Julie @savvyeats says

      You know what’s funny? I don’t think I’ve ever had peach pie… I think I eat the peaches too quickly to turn them into pie! I’ll have to try it this summer 🙂

  2. says

    happy pi day! 🙂 my favorite kinds of pie are my grandma’s apple pie (she uses lard in the crust!) and my mom’s raspberry pie that she makes with raspberries from her garden!

  3. says

    My favorite pie is definitely strawberry rhubarb. I love how the rhubarb keeps the pie from being too sweet. Apple ranks up there, but mostly for the crusts. For the pie crust you can always wrap foil around it when it first goes in and remove it for the last several minutes (like lasagna). That way you’re wrapping the foil when it’s still cool.
    For some reason I’m now thinking about cheesecake… it’s like pie… sorta 😉 hehe

  4. says

    I’m a big fan of pie, any fruit pie really, pears and vanilla sound awesome! I’ve never attempted to make pie myself, thanks for the tips I think you’ve inspired me to try my hand at it!

  5. says

    i think i want to make some sort of carmely pie soon. i know it’s not really “spring” flavored, but I’m craving a toffeeish filling with a crumbling crunch crust. dreamy.