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!
This post was originally published here on January 14, 2015. I’ve since updated the photos and text to showcase just how delicious these scones really are! Enjoy!
I’ve discovered a socially acceptable way to enjoy cake for breakfast. It’s called “Blood Orange Scones with Hazelnuts, Thyme and White Chocolate Drizzle”.
Are you with me? I’m guessing you are. Because we’re all friends here. And friends encourage friends to eat cake disguised as sophisticated scones before noontime. Right?
I’m still on a big Winter citrus kick right now. And I’m particularly crushing on blood oranges. I mean, their color alone is enough to make any girl swoon. If they weren’t so delicious, I could probably just stare at them all day long.
So I decided to try and incorporate them into this cream scone recipe that I’ve been using for a while now. I was a little worried that I would just end up with a gummy, shaggy mess because of all the juices from the blood oranges. But (thankfully!) that didn’t happen. Instead, I found myself in possession of the most moist (had to say it!), cake-like scones I’ve ever eaten. There isn’t anything dry and crumbly about these babies!
Can we talk about segmenting oranges for a second? I hate it. Probably because I’m not very good at it. And I don’t like doing things that I’m not very good at. Sorry. I’m a brat.
If you’re a master at segmenting oranges, then I applaud you (also teach me your ways!). But you really don’t have to be for this recipe. Because you actually want to break down the segments even further so they are about 1/2-inch in size or smaller before attempting to fold them into the dough. This helps the orange pieces spread out more evenly throughout the dough, while preventing too many juices from accumulating in one place.
Blood oranges can typically be found until March (although sometimes longer if you’re lucky!). So don’t delay too long on picking some up from your grocery store. Because I know you’re not going to want to wait until next year to try baking up these scones!