My husband is one of those self-proclaimed “geeky guys” that loves all things related to numbers. He is a software engineer, with a degree in aerospace engineering, so I suppose that’s why he loves numbers so much. Anyway, he pointed out that today, 3/14, is National Pi day, or the annual celebration for the mathematical constant π. The first three numbers represented in Pi, or π, are 3.14, and then it goes on and on to infinity and beyond. Pi, as it is mathematically known, is 3.14159265358979323…….. . I am NOT a mathematician and do not understand all this mathematical mumbo jumbo at all. All I know about Pi, or π, is that it is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter, and that it is an irrational number. Pi was configured back in the days of the ancient Greeks and ancient mathematicians and is still used by mathematicians worldwide today. To the Ancients, it was maddening and frustrating because π is an irrational number and its exact value is inherently unknowable. They also took it as an affront to God’s omniscience, because there was no way God would create something irrational, even if it was irrational to mere mortals.
National Pi day was organized by Dr. Larry Shaw, a physicist from the San Francisco Exploratorium. On March 12, 2009, The U.S. House of Representatives passed a non-binding resolution (111. H. Res. 224) recognizing March 14, 2009 as National Pi Day. The tradition has been growing in popularity ever since. Today, it is celebrated in many ways, all of which are related to pie, or Pi. Eating pies of any kind is a favorite way to “celebrate” the day.
We observed Pi Day by eating a beef pot pie.
Beef Pot Pie
I use my basic master dough for the crust. Chicken Pot Pie. I usually only put the dough on the bottom of my baking dish and then cover the top of the pot pie with dough. Some people like the dough and crust to go up the sides of the baking dish, but I find that makes the pot pie way to heavy and to filling. If you like your crust around the whole inside of your baking dish, double the dough recipe.
2 lbs of beef, cut into small cubes
3-4 TBSP flour
salt & pepper to taste
4 TBSP olive oil or cooking oil
2 carrots, peeled and diced fine
1 potato, peeled and diced fine
1 cup frozen peas
4-6 mushrooms, sliced
2-3 bay leaves
1 TBSP garlic
1/2 cup dry wine
1 3/4 beef broth
1 TBSP soy or tamari sauce
1 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
2 TBSP tomato paste
1 1/2 tsp thyme
1 egg and cream for egg wash
Preheat the oven to 350* F.
Spray coking spray into your baking dish or dishes.
Coat the meat with flour and salt & pepper, dice all the vegetables, and mix all the liquids together well. In olive oil or cooking oil, brown the meat until it is completely browned, then remove from the pan.
In the same pan and the same oil, adding more as needed, add the vegetables and the bay leaves and cook until the potatoes and carrots are tender and the onions are translucent.
Once the vegetables are cooked, add the meat back into the pan and mix everything together well. Then add the liquid mixture and most of the thyme Adjust the seasonings as needed. Mix everything together and let simmer for about 5-7 minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated.
Roll out the dough and cut out your tops and bottoms. Place the bottom pieces into the baking dishes and then fill with the filling. Make sure to remove all the bay leaves before filling the pie dishes. bay leaves are great for seasoning foo, but are poisonous to eat. Place the top pieces and press down to completely cover the top of the baking dish. Crimp the edges. If you have extra dough, you can add it to the rim, to help seal the pot pies. Score the top with a sharp knife.
Make your egg wash. There are many different ways to make it. Feel free to play around with it to find the method that works best for you. For me, I use 1 egg and just a dash of heavy whipping cream and whisk them together. I like using the cream because it has a little more sugar content, which enhances the browning process. This time, I mixed the remainder of the thyme into my egg wash as well. Brush the egg wash onto the tops of your pies right before putting them into the oven.
Bake the pies for about 1 hour, or until the dough is golden brown. Let cool for a few minutes, then dig in and enjoy. It’s time for pie, or Pi when it is eaten on 3/14.