Pi Oh My

I can't say I woke up enthused by mathematics or Greek letters today, but I did get pretty excited when several friends sent me pie-related messages in celebration of the holiday.

Did you know that March 14 is National Pi Day? When I found out, I quickly became inspired to whip up a pie...something I am very enthused about! I took a look at the ingredients I had on-hand, which wasn't much, but I did have what was needed to make vanilla custard -- one of my favorites as it is not overly sweet, and delicious any time of year. You can dress it up with fresh fruit or fudge sauce, or dress it down by serving it all on its own. I prefer mine with fresh strawberries and whipped cream on the side. How ever you serve it, Happy National Pi Day! I hope you'll find time to treat yourself to this tasty and wonderfully versatile dessert.

Vanilla Custard Pie

Prep: 15 min.  |   Cook: 45 min.   |   Serves: 8-10

INGREDIENTS:

9-inch Single Pie Crust

1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. (1 stick) cold, unsalted butter - cut into small pieces
1/4 c. ice water

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Combine flour, sugar and salt into bowl of food processor. Pulse a few times to incorporate dry ingredients. Remove lid and add butter to the mixture. Return lid to processor and grind until ingredients form a coarse meal-like texture (about 10 seconds). With the processor on the grind setting, add a slow, steady stream of ice water to the mixture. Process just until dough comes together as one piece. Do not overmix the dough as this will make for a tough, less flaky crust.

Gather dough and press firmly into a ball. Roll into a 10" circle (1 inch larger than the pie plate). Fit pastry into pie plate. Trim any ragged edges, leaving 1/2" of overhang. Fold extra pastry under, and build up a high scalloped edge. Brush a little warm water around the edges of the pie plate to "glue" your scalloped edges. This will prevent your crust from collapsing when put into the oven. Do not prick the pastry with a fork. Set in refrigerator until ready to bake.

Custard Filling

4 eggs
2/3 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. fresh grated nutmeg
2 c. milk
2/3 c. heavy cream
1/2 tsp. Williams-Sonoma Ground Tahitian Vanilla Bean

DIRECTIONS:

In a large mixing bowl, lightly beat 4 eggs. Whisk together all remaining ingredients until fully incorporated. Pour filling into pastry-lined pan and carefully transfer to 450 degree oven. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Test for doneness by gently inserting a knife into the custard along the side. The knife should come out clean. The center of the pie may appear soft or undercooked, but will set as the pie cools. Avoid over-baking as this will produce a watery, runny custard.   

Serve slightly warm with fresh whipped cream and sliced fruit of your choice.