Whether you’re a baker, math nerd or just a straight up hungry person, today is a day worthy of celebration. It’s Pi Day. The annual observance of the mathematical constant π (pi), who’s first three digits are 3.14 ( = March 14).
So of course, the best way to celebrate Pi Day is by making, eating and sharing actual pies. Right?
Did you know that I basically spent all of my 20’s in either a research laboratory or a classroom? Yup, it’s true. I was busy getting my PhD in Biochemistry, and then later completing a post-doctoral fellowship in Cancer Biology. And I was blinding men with my scientific prowess left and right (not really, but a girl can dream). Full on goggles and lab coat and all that good stuff. So as a bona fide science dork turned food blogger, Pi Day hits home for me on so many levels. Thus, it’s a day that I couldn’t let pass without some recognition.
As much as I love desserts, I must admit that pie is never really my go-to. I’m much more of a cake and ice cream kind of gal. So for my Pi Day inspiration, I asked my Mom for some help. She sent me a rhubarb and berry pie recipe that she had torn out from the pages of a 2001 issue of Better Homes and Gardens. It’s a recipe that she’s made successfully dozens of times over the years. And with some early season rhubarb in hand, I decided it would be a good one to adapt for today’s post.
The original recipe is for a full pie. But I flipped the script and turn it into individual hand pies instead. Because who doesn’t love cute little hand pies?!?!
Because these hand pies don’t take as long to bake as a full sized pie, I pre-cooked the filling ingredients on the stove top for a few minutes. This also helps to get rid of some of the excess juices from the fruits, so the hand pies come out with a wonderfully flakey crust that isn’t mushy at all. The filling is almost jam-like, and these Rhubarb-Berry Hand Pies with Chocolate kind of remind me of a Pop-Tart, which were a childhood favorite of mine.
The buttermilk pie crust recipe is from Joy the Baker. It’s hands down my favorite pie crust recipe ever. I can’t imagine ever needing another one. If you’ve ever made pie dough before, I’m sure you’re familiar with the phrase “pea-sized pieces of butter”. This is the size of butter that most recipes will tell you to aim for as you work the butter into the dry ingredients. I actually find this to be misleading. You want the butter to be pea-sized by the END of making/shaping the dough. Not during the middle of the process. Because as you work the dough, the butter pieces will just keep getting smaller and smaller. So I aim for kidney bean-sized pieces of butter, which by the end will be reduced in size closer to that of a pea. Does that make sense?
To make sure all my hand pies were the same size, I actually created a template with a piece of paper and used that as a guide to cut out the rectangles of dough. You certainly don’t have to be that fussy, but I wouldn’t be my overly obsessive scientific self if I didn’t go the extra mile to make them all evenly sized. Using a 4 X 5-inch template, I was able to cut out 14 rectangles, giving me a total of seven hand pies. If you need more pies, just make and use a smaller template.
The final ingredient worth mentioning here is the chocolate. I added chopped dark chocolate to the filling, which melts into deliciously decadent little pockets of goodness during baking. And for the finishing touch, I channeled Jackson Pollock and drizzled some melted chocolate over top. Personally, I LOVE chocolate paired with fruit. But if you’re a purest either way, you can leave it out.
Happy Pi Day! I hope you all get the chance to celebrate!
I’ve got a serious question for you guys today. Ready?
What set of standards do you apply when trying to decide whether or not a particular cake can be consumed for breakfast?
Is the presence or absence of frosting a consideration? Or what about the name? Baked goods labeled “coffee cake” seems to fall appropriately into the breakfast category. But something called “triple dark chocolate fudge layer cake” is probably firmly rooted in the dessert category.
Oh and what if it has fruit and nuts baked into it? Then it’s basically like oatmeal, right? I think my reasoning is pretty solid here.
I know all this cake chatter seems silly. But it’s the kind of weird stuff that I think about sometimes.
I’ve labeled this Rhubarb-Almond Cake “dessert”, but I certainly ate it for breakfast on more than one occasion this past week. I highly recommend you try it out for both breakfast and dessert. You know. Just to make sure you have all your bases covered.
The cake itself is sweet, tender and moist. While the rhubarb provides a fabulous little burst of tartness in almost every single bite. This cake comes together in a breeze. And even if you’re not much of a cake decorator (I certainly am NOT!), you can impress your friends with this recipe, which has an easy to pull off presentation “wow factor”. Just arrange the top layer of rhubarb in a radiating (yet still decidedly rustic) pattern and you’re more than good to go.
I’m sharing my Rhubarb-Almond Cake as part of our monthly seasonal eating guide organized by Becky from Vintage Mixer. May has some real stand-outs in the produce department, including peas, which are one of my personal favorites. I’m thinking lots of big, fresh salads are going to be coming out of my kitchen this month!
Check out Becky’s #eatseasonal guide for tons of recipes that highlight the fruits and vegetables that are available this months. And be sure to scroll down below to see what the other members of our group made in celebration of May.
Recipe adapted from this Blackberry and Almond Coffee Cake
May Eat Seasonal Recipes
Kale, Mushroom & Goat Cheese Quesadillas by Cookin’ Canuck
Skinny Pineapple Mint Margaritas by Mountain Mama Cooks
Shaved Asparagus Ricotta Flatbread by Flavor the Moments
Roasted Broccoli and Bacon Crustless Quiche by Completely Delicious
Rhubarb-Wine BBQ Sauce by Kitchen Confidante
Lemon Roasted Artichokes by Letty’s Kitchen
Rice Bowls with Quick Pickled Ginger Red Cabbage by Food for My Family
Rhubarb Eton Mess with Coconut Whipped Cream by Vintage Mixer
Strawberry Avocado Spinach Salad with Chicken by Foodie Crush