Tag Archives: Pi Day

Banoffee Pi for Pi Day 2011

Inspiration for making this pi(e) hit me so fast I’m not even sure how I got there. I’d been looking for an idea for Serious Eats’ Pi Day baking contest (14 March, 3.14, Pi, get it?) for a week or so, and next thing I knew, I was looking at four ripe bananas in the kitchen and googling up a recipe from Carnation for Banoffee Pie. This pie is almost as popular on British menus these days as is Sticky Toffee Pudding and, judging from the recipe  about as sticky sweet. I’d never even tried eating it, but figured there was nothing in there – cream, bananas, toffee – to dislike.

So even though Purim and St Patrick’s Day are also this week and involve treats I shouldn’t be eating, I had to do it. It’s not even baking – ok, some of is cooked – but I could see it was one of those things that’s over and done with before my better judgment kicks in. More importantly, I had a plan for incorporating ∏ into the design, which I didn’t do last year; hence, no prize for me.

This year, though…

This is not a difficult thing to make; it’s really just a digestive-biscuit unbaked crust, a toffee layer made by boiling together butter, brown sugar, and sweetened condensed milk, some chopped bananas and whipped cream whacked on, and a bit of grated chocolate. I’m particularly happy with my banana-work. Really, though, no great wisdom to impart here today I’m afraid. But it’s a pretty Pi, isn’t it? Get it, Pi(e)?

Right, I’ll get my coat.

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A savory cobbler for Pi Day

That is, March 14, or 3/14. Of course, in the UK, the date is 14/3, so it doesn’t quite work, but I wanted to enter Serious Eats and Science Blogs’ Pi Day Bakeoff, so I’m stretching the concept a bit. But the filling of this pi(e), or cobbler, is pretty English, mixing chicken, leeks, and mushrooms; it even has a bit of sherry in it. It’s mostly the crust that’s been lightened up – i.e., there’s less of it. I served it alongside a nice mash that Andrew made, though I appreciate that that approach sort of defeats the purpose of having less crust.

Chicken, leek, and mushroom cobbler

This recipe was adapted from two others: the filling is loosely based on one from Delia Smith, and the topping – which lightens up the classic pot pie – from Mark Bittman.

1 1/2 c chicken or vegetable stock
10 oz dry cider (yes, the alcoholic kind)
2 lbs chicken thighs and drumsticks
3 medium leeks, cleaned and chopped
3 large carrots, peeled and diced
1 T dried tarragon

1 batch biscuit dough

2 T butter
1 T olive oil
6 oz fresh oyster mushrooms, roughly chopped, tough stems removed
6 oz cremini or chestnut mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup dry sherry
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup milk
1 T cornstarch

In a large saucepan, heat stock to a simmer and add chicken pieces, leeks, carrots, and tarragon. Pour in cider and add water to cover the chicken completely. Return to boil and then simmer until chicken is tender enough to pull away from the bone, about 25 min. Remove chicken and vegetables from pot, along with a bit of the liquid, and refrigerate about 20 min, then remove the bones and skin and discard them.

While chicken and vegetables are cooling, make biscuit dough for the cobbler topping.

Preheat oven to 400ºF. In a heavy saucepan or dutch oven that go from stovetop to oven, melt butter, add olive oil, and sauté mushrooms over medium heat until most of their liquid boils off. (If you don’t have such a pan, have a medium-sized casserole dish – about 8 inches in diameter – at the ready.) Add sherry to mushrooms, and then return chicken meat, carrots, and leeks to the pot, heating slowly until it is heated through and bubbling slightly. Stir cornstarch into milk, and pour into the pan with the filling. In whichever pot or dish you’re using to bake the cobbler, drop the biscuit dough on top by the spoonful.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown. Serves 4.

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