My son Kyle is an 8th grade math teacher. He, along with other math teachers, has fun celebrating Pi Day with his students. Reach back in your memory and you’ll recognize Pi. It’s that cute little symbol you used in middle school and high school math. It’s the number that goes on and on, 3.1415926… It’s the number that expresses the ratio of the circumference to the diameter of a circle or in more technical terms “the mathematical constant.” Have I lost you yet? Hang in there. Just stay with me and I promise a better pie (yes, pie - not Pi).
Pi Day is observed on March 14 (or 3/14 – get it?) and I just couldn’t let it pass without celebrating with my kind of pie. That’s the kind of pie with a yummy butter crust and a scrumptious filling. I don’t know about you, but pie is a whole lot more interesting than Pi – well, at least in my world. Maybe if math teachers served pie on Pi Day, the students would join in the celebration more whole-heartedly. Okay, enough of the Pi/pie comments. Onto making the pie!
I selected a Southern specialty for my pie. Dixieland Peanut Pie takes two Southern favorites, pecan pie and peanuts, marries them together and creates something wonderful. The sweet gooey filling is complemented by the salty peanuts. I think I’ll have to make this a tradition – celebrating Pi Day with Dixieland Peanut Pie.
Begin by heating your oven to 375°F. To make the crust, combine the flour and salt in a medium bowl. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in enough water with a fork just until the flour is moistened.
Shape into a ball.
On a lightly floured surface, flatten the ball and roll the dough into a 12-inch circle.
Fold the dough circle into quarters and place it into an ungreased 9-inch pie pan. Unfold and press the dough firmly against the bottom and sides of the pan.
Trim the crust to 1/2 inch from the edge of the pan. Crimp or flute the edge. Here’s a fun little tip: use the end of a wooden spoon as a tool to help flute the edge of the crust. Set the prepared crust aside while you make the filling.
This filling is just like the filling made for a traditional pecan pie. In a bowl, combine the corn syrup, brown sugar, eggs, melted butter and vanilla. Beat at medium speed, scraping the sides of the bowl often, until well mixed. With a spoon, stir in 3/4 cup chopped peanuts.
Pour the filling into the prepared crust.
Now sprinkle the top with 1/4 cup whole peanuts and the pie is ready to go into the oven.
Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until the top of the pie feels dry. If your pie crust is browning too quickly, cover the edge with a 2-inch strip of aluminum foil. Remove from oven and let cool completely. Don’t worry if the surface of the pie has a few cracks and imperfections. Once cool, refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.
Feel free to garnish with whipped cream and chopped peanuts. Please join me in celebrating Pi Day and make a delicious Dixieland Peanut Pie!