Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sundays with Sparky: PI DAY!!! πneapple-rhubarb Pie


Actually, you'll have to wait for next year to see what this year's Pi Day celebration held, but I'm about bursting with pride from last year's project (if you cheated and went to LTHForum where it was originally posted, I'll understand.)  Even more exciting, this post marks the one-year anniversary of Quips, Travails and Braised Oxtails - I hope you'll take some time to look over where we've been in the past year!

Pi day is the closest thing to a religious holiday that the Hays family celebrates.  You see, to me, pi epitomizes what it means to be human: one day, thousands or maybe even millions of years ago, some caveman took a stick and spun it in the sand to make a circle...and realized there was a relationship between the length of the stick and the circle he drew.  Humanity has used this simple understanding to build pyramids and skyscrapers, and to calculate volume and velocity.

There's a lot of information out there on what pi does, but not on what pi means.  This year, I decided our pi celebration pies would illustrate the meaning behind the digits of pi.

I settled on πneapple-rhubarb, which not only conveniently has the appropriate sound in the beginning, but also comes in a perfect-for-pi-day circular shape.  After peeling, slicing, and coring the pineapple, I used a coffee can to cut each slice into an accurate circular shape.

Sparky laid a string across the diameter of each slice, cutting it to fit:

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We then measured around the circumference of the circle, cutting a wedge at each end of the string:
4432766638_5a00aebf6c_m.jpg  4432769952_236be03945_m.jpg
Once we had a segment cut out, we used it to measure the rest of the slice:
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We continued this method until we were left with the .14...:
For illustrative purposes, we slid a thin slice of rhubarb between the three large sections:
Then we cut a section of rhubarb stalk into a wedge to fit the remaining piece:
4432006057_d64f885ffe_m.jpg  4432780524_befc5631db_m.jpg

And we wound up with a graphic representation of π; a circle divided by its diameter into three pieces plus a little bit more.

These went on top of our πneapple-rhubarb pie - recipe follows:

4 stalks of rhubarb, cut in about 1 inch pieces
2 fresh pineapples, peeled and cored
1/2 cup demerara sugar
3/4 cup vanilla sugar
3 tablespoons quick tapioca
1 piecrust pastry
Sugar for garnish

Line your baking dish with your piecrust, leaving enough overhang to crimp later.  Slice 3-6 thin rounds of pineapple as above to garnish depending on the diameter of your pie plate.

Cut the remaining pineapples into 1 inch chunks, reserving about 1/4-1/3 of one pineapple.  Mix the rhubarb, sugar, and pineapple chunks in a bowl to make sure they're thoroughly combined.  Add the tapioca and pour into piecrust.

Put the reserved pineapple in the blender, blend smooth and pour over the pie, thoroughly coating the filling.

Place your garnish on the top, sprinkling liberally with sugar.  Crimp the piecrust edge decoratively.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45-50 minutes, or until the filling is bubbly.  Cool thoroughly and enjoy.

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