In case you didn’t know, today is Pi Day.
Yeah, that’s right. This is a special holiday that celebrates the mathematical constant pi that we all learned about once in grade school but that, at least when I was a youngster, girls were not actually required or expected to remember.
Pi is 3.1415926 blah blah blah and so on. The other day my grandson took pi out to about 16 numbers, which I found very impressive, until I read that in 2004, Daniel Tammet, a high-functioning autistic savant recited 22,514 numbers by memory.
I never particularly liked math and sort of feared it the way a proper suburban girl was supposed to back in the day. I regret that now. But, as the poet Robert Frost says, “knowing how way leads on to way” I followed a different path, and left pi aside for pie.
Which, come to think of it, I do like better anyway.
For those in the know, the official food of Pi Day is, of course, PIE. Here’s a recipe for one that I once hesitated to make at first because of the name but did because I had to write an article about unusual pies. It’s a Buttermilk Pie. It was so good I included the recipe in my book The Complete Idiot’s Guide to American Cooking.
You can’t tell a pie by its name.
This one tastes rich and creamy, as if there is heavy cream within, but it is also light and subtle — the perfect dessert to welcome spring — and it is also just right as far as sweetness goes, nothing cloying or overpowering. The top has a delicate, faintly brittle crust that melts immediately, gratifyingly, on your tongue.
6 tablespoons butter
4 large eggs
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
unbaked 9-inch pie crust
1/3 cup sliced almonds or 1/2 cup currants
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Melt the butter and set it aside to cool. In a bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, flour, vanilla extract, salt and melted, cooled butter and beat the ingredients with a whisk or an electric mixer set at medium speed, for about 2-3 minutes or until the mixture is smooth and uniform. Stir in the buttermilk and blend in thoroughly. Pour the mixture into the pie crust. Sprinkle the nuts or currants over the filling. Bake for about 45 minutes or until the surface is golden brown and the center is set. Makes one pie