Rustic Pi-Shaped Pie
"Some things never change. My flip flop between bangs, no-bangs. The travesty that is springing forward and losing a precious hour of sleep. The fabulous combination of pie crust, fresh pears, and dried sour cherries. And of course, the constant, infinite number represented by the Greek letter pi. We celebrate the luck of the Irish, all Hallows Eve, and a day devoted to hearts and flowers; naturally, flags should be flown with equal force in celebration of mathematics. March 14 is that day."
— Maggie Louise, of Maggie Louise Bakes
For the crust
- 3 Tablespoons Greek yogurt or sour cream
- 1/3 Cup ice water
- 1 Cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 Cup yellow cornmeal
- 1 Teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1/2 Teaspoon table salt
- 7 Tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into 7 pieces
For the filling
- 1 1/2 Cup peeled, thinly sliced pears
- 2 Tablespoons dried sour cherries (or another dried fruit of your choice)
- 1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 Tablespoon honey
- 1/2 Tablespoon unsalted butter
For the crust
First, make a pi-shaped stencil by drawing it on paper, then cutting out the pi-shape. It should be big enough that you can actually discern the legs of the pi. Mine was roughly 1 foot tall.
Next, make the dough. Mix the yogurt and water in a small bowl. Set aside. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt, cornmeal, and sugar. Mix with a whisk to combine. Add the pieces of butter to the bowl, then toss them in the flour to coat. Using your fingertips, pull the butter pieces apart until you have a mix of butter piece sizes — wet sand and pea-sized. The small wet sand pieces will tenderize the dough; the pea-sized pieces will give it flake. Work quickly since the heat of your hands will warm the butter.
Pour the yogurt mixture over the dry ingredients, 1 spoonful at a time. Toss with a fork after each addition of the yogurt mixture. Gather the dough together with your hands. It should make a soft dough and if it doesn’t, add additional ice cold water until it does. Don’t overwork the dough! Cover the bowl with Saran wrap and chill the dough for at least 2 hours.
Once the dough is adequately chilled, place a rack in the lower 1/3 of the oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees.
For the filling
Toss the pears, dried sour cherries, sugar, and honey in a bowl.
Place the stencil on a baking sheet, then place a layer of parchment paper over the stencil. You should be able to see the stencil through the parchment. Very, very lightly flour the parchment paper. Using your hands, shape the dough to the shape of the stencil. With your fingertips, push the dough out and pat it until the dough is 2 inches bigger than the stencil all the way around. Make sure the dough is a consistent height so it bakes evenly. Spread the filling in the center of the pi-shaped dough, only to the 2-inch border that you just created. Place small slivers of butter on the filling. Fold the uncovered border up over the pear filling, taking care that it is a consistent height so that pear juice will not dribble out as it bakes. For mine, the filling and crust were the same height. The crust will pleat as you fold.
Bake at 400 degrees for 35-45 minutes, until the crust is golden and crisp. Remove from the oven and let the pie rest on the baking sheet for 10 minutes. With the aid of a spatula, transfer the pie to a flat surface. Enjoy!