Citizens, today is Pi day (March 14 = 3.14, the first 3 digits of the constant!) and we shall celebrate this alignment with the ultimate pie celebrating Pi! 🙂
As background, the number π is a mathematical constant, the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, commonly approximated as 3.14159. It has been represented by the Greek letter “π” since the mid-18th century, though it is also sometimes spelled out as “pi”.
Being an irrational number, π cannot be expressed exactly as a fraction (equivalently, its decimal representation never ends and never settles into a permanent repeating pattern).
Ancient civilizations needed the value of π to be computed accurately for practical reasons related to architecture. It was calculated to seven digits, using geometrical techniques, in Chinese mathematics and to about five in Indian mathematics in the 5th century CE.
For example – chew on this: it is famously calculated to trillions of digits – but showing the constant to 39 digits actually allows you to measure the circumference of the observable universe to within the width of a single hydrogen atom!
The historically first exact formula for π, based on infinite series, was not available until a millennium later, when in the 14th century the Madhava–Leibniz series was discovered in Indian mathematics.
In the 20th and 21st centuries, mathematicians and computer scientists discovered new approaches that, when combined with increasing computational power, extended the decimal representation of π to, as of 2015, over 13.3 trillion (!) digits.
The Guinness World Record for reciting the most digits of pi belongs to Lu Chao of China, who has recited pi to more than 67,000 decimal places!
Practically all scientific applications require no more than a few hundred digits of π, and many substantially fewer, so the primary motivation for these computations is the human desire to break records. However, the extensive calculations involved have been used to test supercomputers and high-precision multiplication algorithms.
You can see a color visualization of this infinite series to the first 100,000 places here!
Enough mathematics and history – time to create the pie, Citizens! 🙂 You can either cut out the numbers into the top crust as seen in the top photo, or use pastry numbers along the rim as seen here:
No matter what, this is an exceptionally delicious dessert that will complement any meal – perhaps one including the world-famous Chicago hot dogs!
Battle on – The GeneralissimoPrint
- For Crust:
- 350g all purpose flour
- 2 tbsp sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 sticks butter, cold
- ¼ cup bourbon, Woodford Reserve preferred – use booze in the crust because A: it helps tenderize it and B: being slightly wasted helps you contemplate the infinite nature of Pi!
- For Filling:
- ⅔ cup / 3.5 oz / 100g light brown sugar
- ⅓ cup / 1.5 oz / 45 g flour
- ¼ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground allspice (allspice because Pi encompasses all of infinity!)
- 2 sprigs thyme (prefer. lemon thyme) ~ ½ t. of leaves – we use thyme not only because it is delicious: but because, well, it’s a pun for time!
- 2 pounds of 3 different berries – 1 pound frozen or fresh wild blueberries, ½ pound blackberries and ½ pound ollalieberries is my preferred ratio. 3 for Pi, obviously!
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 egg plus 1 tablespoon water, whisked
- Large grain sugar, for sprinkling
- First make your crust. Mix together dry ingredients. Cut your butter into cubes, using your fingers work into your flour mixture until you get coarse crumbs. Add bourbon and work into a ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.
- Resting is a critical part of pie dough making. If your pie dough is shrinking, it’s because it hasn’t rested enough. So let it chill in the fridge a few hours. Pour yourself a glass of bourbon while you wait and meditate upon the mathemagical glory that is Pi!
- Make the filling by combining the sugar, flour, salt, allspice, and thyme in large mixing bowl. Add the berries, and toss gently until well combined. Set aside.
- Line a 9 or 10-inch pie plate with the bottom piece of pie dough. Guide it into place without stretching. You want about an inch of dough extending past the rim of the pie plate, trim a bit with scissors or a sharp knife if needed.
- Fill the crust with the berries, drizzle with lemon juice, and dot with the butter.
- Trim the top crust a bit if needed, cut out some digits of PI numbers into the top crust (or glue on pastry numbers with egg wash after you have completed the pie, as you prefer). Brush the rim of the bottom crust with a bit of egg wash, then top with the top piece of pie crust. Press the top and bottom crusts together at the edges.
- Working around the rim, tuck the overhanging dough under itself, and crimp with a fork or flute using your fingers. Brush the crust with more of the egg wash and place in the oven for about 45 minutes – until the crust is deeply golden.
- Check your pie regularly after 25 minutes. If you need to foil the edges of the pie – pull it out and do so – this way the edges wont get too dark and dry. Optionally sprinkle with large-grain sugar about 25 minutes in – for a little extra crunch and sweetness. Let cool a bit, slice and serve.
- Calories: 1104.66 kcal
- Sugar: 47.41 g
- Sodium: 470.12 mg
- Fat: 54.75 g
- Saturated Fat: 33.21 g
- Trans Fat: 2.09 g
- Carbohydrates: 133.95 g
- Fiber: 14.95 g
- Protein: 15.33 g
- Cholesterol: 176.73 mg
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