Tomorrow is Pi Day, and in celebration I offer both a π book and a pie recipe that you can make yourself.
The first official celebration of Pi Day was March 14, 1988, organized by Larry Shaw, a physicist on staff at the San Francisco Exploratorium. The day was chosen in recognition of the fact that the first three significant digits of π are 3, 1, and 4.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed a non-binding resolution in 2009 recognizing March 14 as Pi Day.
The making and eating of pies has been part of the celebration of Pi Day since the beginning, in recognition of the homophonic nature of pi and pie, and the circular shape of pies.
Book first, real pie after.
You will need to download the pdf here.
Print page one on lightweight paper. (I used #20 copier paper.) Then, being careful to get the paper the right way around, print page two on the back of page one. Print pages three and four on two sheets of cover or card stock. (Stiffer is better. I got away with using #67 cover stock.)
Score the recipe side of the pie using the middle (green) line as a guide then cut out around the image shape on the other side. Score the longer (left) pie server and the pie wedge on page three using the guides provided, then cut everything out. Score along the edges of the pie wedges (case parts) on page four between the image and the solid colour flaps, then cut them out as well.
The book is designed so that the pie server removes the book from the case. Two ridges need to be created to make this work.
Fold the pie stiffener and longer (scored) pie server as indicated below. The arrows indicate the backs of the parts as well as areas for glue application. (Drawing is not to scale.)
To assemble the pie server, glue the two parts together so that there is a bit of a ridge at the fold. Be sure to leave a gap without any glue so that the tip piece can bend a bit.
Fold the pie into a wedge shape.
The stiffener will be glued to the part that is on the bottom after folding as above. (The images should match.) You should end up with a wedge shaped book with a ridge on the back and a pie server with a ridge on the front.
To assemble the case (the parts you scored and cut from page four), fold down the coloured flaps at the sides of the pie wedges. Trim them to a depth that matches the thickness of your book plus the pie server. (Mine were cut to 1/8 inch.) Glue the two halves together along the flaps. I glued mine with the contents inside to provide stability. If you do this, be careful not to permanently glue your book into the case. ; ]
(Just a note: I realise that the case has two ‘tops’. A more obsessive individual might have blind-baked a pie crust to photograph the bottom, but apparently I am not that far gone.)
And there you have your Pi(e) Book.
The model for the book was a cabbage pie, so here is the recipe for that. (It’s also included in the book.)
In your largest frying pan, sauté mushroom slices in a little fat with a pinch of salt. (You will be re-using this pan for the cabbage.)
When mushrooms are nicely browned and fairly dry, remove from pan and set aside. Add more fat to pan. Sauté onions and cabbage in the same pan, starting with onions and adding cabbage a bit at a time.
You will want to cook the cabbage until it is just starting to turn golden, which means cooking out most of the moisture. You can speed up the process by sprinkling with salt and (when the cabbage cooks down so it all fits in the pan) cooking with the lid on for a few minutes. You will need to stir frequently, especially after the cabbage begins to change colour. When cabbage is done, set aside to cool for half an hour or more.
Preheat oven to 425F.
Line a 10” pie pan with ½ your pastry. (Mine has freckles because I added some poppy seeds.) Lay in ½ of your cooked cabbage. Sprinkle on the cooked mushrooms, then lay on the sliced hard boiled eggs. Spread the last of the cabbage on top. (You may need to mound it slightly.)
Brush the rim of your bottom crust with milk, lay on top crust and crimp edges together. Brush top crust with milk and pierce in a few places .
Bake in 425F oven for 15 minutes (middle rack), reduce heat to 350F and continue baking for 25-30 minutes, or until crust is nicely browned and you can hear the cabbage sizzling.
Remove from oven, let cool for 2-5 minutes, cut in wedges and serve.
Have a happy Pi Day, perhaps involving at least one kind of pie.