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PIECE OF CAKE, PEACE OF MIND

Exploring, creating, & reflecting one day at a time


My middle school and high school were pretty academic, and therefore heavily fostered a strong sense of nerd-dom in all of their students. I now find myself at Cal as an engineer, probably one of the nerdiest positions for an undergrad in the world. Naturally, in middle school, my school really pushed pi day as a fun event, holding “digits of pi recitation” contests and distributing free pie to every student (someone’s parents owned a Marie Callendar’s restaurant). I’ve been celebrating ever since.And why not? What’s not to love about PIE? I mean, the irrational number is pretty cool too, but memorizing an infinite series isn’t exactly my cup of tea, even if I AM an engineer.Brandt and I decided to bake a day early to ensure we’d have enough time for all these lovely creations. A combination of a late Saturday night, early Sunday morning, and daylight savings time screwed up my sleep schedule, and I woke up yesterday at 1:00 pm in a panic. I don’t think I’ve slept in that late in 2 years or so. It makes me feel too unproductive. 

Despite the late start, I grabbed my friends Gina and Matt and we headed over to the grocery store to grab the ingredients for the 7 pies Brandt and I mapped out–Pecan, Peach, Key Lime, Chocolate Satin, Chocolate Ice cream, Peanut Butter Ice Cream, and Chicken Pot Pie:

 

 

Our friends Terapan and Nick then joined us, and everyone helped with the prep work (including dish-washing) which made things go SUPER smoothly. And unlike how I felt at the end of our massive holiday cookie baking session, I felt pretty good when we were all done with this feast. In addition to the chicken pot pie, I made some mashed potatoes on the side (which taste best when prepared with yukon gold potatoes because of their high starch content).

I don’t think there was really a standout favorite amongst our friends, but I think we did a pretty good job at making a pretty big dent–10 people devoured the entire chicken pot pie and almost half of every other pie. I have awesome friends. Here’s a little bit of the aftermath:

My personal favorite was probably the chocolate satin pie, because that’s long been my favorite indulgence during the Marie Callendar’s bi-annual pie sale. I found a recipe claiming to be a “dead on” copy, and it surprisingly came out tasting pretty darn close the original. It also set up really nicely and therefore looked the best of all the pies when slicked, I think. I used a chocolate graham crust for this one, though I wish we could’ve found an Oreo one. (We went to two grocery stores, at one of which Matt & Gina said they saw Jamie from mythbusters!)

The peach pie had to be made with frozen peaches, obviously because it’s not summer. I was extremely opposed to this idea at first, but Brandt talked me into it and it came out better than I thought it would. He also talked me into using tapioca as the binding agent in the pie filling, which I’ve never done before, and that came out really well too.

We also finished today off by making a couple of sausage & salami pizza pies! Woo! Did I mention I love pie? And this holiday?

The day ended up being really fun and it was nice to have so many helping hands around.  Brandt started his pies a little later than me because he went swimming, but everyone really liked his warm, gooey pecan pie made with lots of corn syrup:

But anywho, here are two of the easiest & tastiest recipes we made:

(CHEATERS’) CHICKEN POT PIE

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 cooked chicken breasts, cubed
  • 2 cans cream of chicken soup
  • 3 cups frozen mixed vegetables
  • salt & pepper
  • biscuit mix (we used Gina’s Trader Joe’s Multigrain Baking Mix mmmmmmmmmm)
  • cheese (0ptional)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Mix the chicken, soup, and vegetables in a large bowl.  Add water until you reach your desired consistency for the filling.
  2. Season to taste.  I took the liberty of adding a little bit of cayenne pepper to ours. It added a nice kick.
  3. Spoon filling into a 9×13 pan.
  4. Using your fingers or a spoon, spread prepared biscuit dough over the top of your filling.
  5. Bake at 375 degrees for about 35 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.
  6. If you want, add some cheese to the top and pop back in the oven for a minute.

CHOCOLATE SATIN PIE

INGREDIENTS:

  • 12 oz semi sweet chocolate chips, or semi sweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 can or 1 1/2 c. evaporated milk (NOT condensed!)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 Oreo pie crust or chocolate graham cracker crust
  • whipped cream (of course homemade is best!)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Beat egg yolks & evaporated milk in a small saucepan.
  2. Heat over medium low heat while stirring constantly until mixture thickens slightly and becomes hot, but do not boil!
  3. Remove from heat and add the chocolate, stirring until all of it has melted and everything is incorporated.
  4. Pour the mixture into the pie crust and let set in the refrigerator for an hour or so. 
  5. Top generously with whipped cream.

HAPPY PI DAY EVERYBODY!

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