14 March 2010

happy pi day!

in my earlier college years, when i went back to visit my parents i would mysteriously find all the necessary pie-making ingredients waiting on the counter. by the time my dad came home from work in the evening, there would be a pie cooling. thus, he dubbed me the "piefairy." (i have a hunch he was the ingredient fairy, but that name never stuck.)

for reasons i can hardly understand myself, i haven't made pie very much of late. tragedy, i know. however, today being pi day (3.14--the irrational number and march 14th), i made one to celebrate--and of course i used my pi plate! actually, i'm making two pies today: a snack/dessert pie that my husband brought to the church council meeting because it was his turn to bring refreshments, and a pizza for dinner tonight.

this pi-day pie is one of my favorites. it's sweet and sticky and chewy--very like a granola bar in a crust. it is best warm and slightly gooey, in my opinion, though it keeps quite well and isn't as oozy and messy on the second day. this has also become our "first picnic" pie--it feels just perfect for the first picnic of the year right about now, when the winter cravings for dense, warm comfort food haven't yet subsided but the sun and mud and smell of things growing won't let you stay inside.

butterscotch oatmeal pie
adapted from "pie: 300 tried-and-true recipes for delicious homemade pie" by ken haedrich

1 pastry pie crust - use a favorite recipe or a store-bought crust
the topic of pie crust will be another post, because there are a bunch of things to consider--butter or shortening? all-purpose or pastry flour?--as well as technique debates, so i don't even want to get into it right now.
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
i've made this pie with both granulated and brown sugar. it comes out nicely either way.
3/4 cup corn syrup
the original recipe calls for dark corn syrup, but light works just as well. for a bit more flavor, i used a mixture of corn syrup and honey.
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup oats
the original recipe calls for either old-fashioned or quick cooking; in general, i prefer the texture of the old-fashioned, and that's what we tend to have on hand, but that's totally a matter of taste and convenience.
1/3 cup sweetened flaked coconut
my husband doesn't like coconut, so i have omitted it twice now and the pie doesn't suffer for it. however, the coconut is a delicious addition, if your pie audience will eat it.
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup butterscotch chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

prepare your pastry as directed and place in a 9-inch standard pie pan. place in the freezer for 15 minutes, and heat oven to 375

combine the wet ingredients: eggs, sugar, corn syrup, butter and vanilla. mix (medium speed with an electric mixer, or vigorously by hand) until well blended, about 30 seconds.

stir in the dry ingredients: oats, coconut, flour, butterscotch chips, and nuts.

i tend to mix all the dry things together in their own bowl--i'm usually multitasking and waiting on something else at the time--before adding to the wet ingredients. i haven't found it to make any difference; it just improves my workflow.

pour the filling into the chilled pie shell.

place on the center rack of the oven and bake for 30 minutes. rotate it 180 degrees (and remove crust shield, if you use one) and bake for another 25-30 minutes.

when it's done the crust will be golden brown, the top will be dark golden brown and crusty, and the center won't jiggle in waves when you nudge the pie.
yes, i forgot to take a picture of the finished pie. i also almost missed the bus to church this morning because i was cleaning up my baking mess. make it yourself and see how amazing it is.

transfer to a rack to cool; serve warm or at room temperature. i highly recommend packing this for a picnic and eating with fingers--it's sticky and crunchy and will make a bit of a mess, but it's wonderful. =)

1 comment:

  1. yay happy pi day! I thought of you today.

    And I concur - this pie is gob-smackin' good.