Sandwiched between Saint Valentine’s Day and Saint Patrick’s Day, is National Pi Day. This shouldn’t be confused with National Pie Day on January 23rd. But luckily both are celebrated the same way – by eating circular desserts.
Fun fact: National Pi Day is celebrated in countries that use the month/day/ year date convention. Countries that use the day/month/year date convention, celebrate International Pi Approximation Day. That is on 7/22 every year, since 7 divided by 22 is the closest approximation of pi.
Here is a great French Silk Pie recipe for Pi Day. The keys to a good French Silk Pie are the quality of the chocolate and the amount of air fluffed into the filling. The chocolate plays two parts. First the flavor of the chosen chocolate, will be the predominate flavor of your pie. Secondly, the chocolate and butter are the only ingredients keeping this non-bake pie together. To switch this recipe up for Saint Patrick’s Day, simply add 3 Tablespoons of crème de menthe to the pie filling and green food coloring to the whipped cream.
All the ingredients need to be measured and ready all at once. Three moving parts need to be worked quickly, but gently to make this correctly.
1 unbaked pie crust
1 cup heavy whipping cream (chilled)
8 oz of semi-sweet chocolate in chip or bar form
1 cup granulated sugar (divide into 2 ½ cups)
4 eggs (room temperature)
1 cup unsalted butter (soft – room temperature)
2 teaspoons vanilla
(For Saint Patrick’s grasshopper version add 3 Tablespoons of crème de menthe)
For Stabilized Whipped Topping:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons powdered skim milk
(For Saint Patrick’s grasshopper version, add green food coloring until bright green)
First place the pie crust into a pie pan, crimp the edges, and poke the bottom with a fork several times to prevent puffing. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes or until golden brown and allow to cool.
Place the 1 cup of whipping cream in a bowl and mixing with a hand mixer or standing mixer, until stiff. Set aside in the refrigerator.
Place the chocolate into a microwavable bowl. Microwave for 30 second intervals, stirring in between to help melt the chocolate. Once most of the chocolate has melted, set aside.
Place ½ cup of sugar and all 4 eggs into a double boiler. Beat the mixture with a whisk. Heat the water to boiling, mixing the eggs the whole time so they do not curdle. Using a candy thermometer, heat the mixture to 160 degrees, mixing the whole time. Immediately remove the eggs from the heat as it reaches 160 degrees. Continue to beat the eggs to increase the air. Let the eggs cool for ten minutes.
Microwave the chocolate again for 15 seconds. Pour the chocolate into the egg mixture, stirring the whole time.
Quickly beat the butter and the remaining ½ cup of sugar, with the vanilla with a hand or standing mixer. Once the eggs and chocolate have cooled, pour them into the butter and sugar. Don’t do this if the eggs are too warm, or the butter will melt.
Beat the whole mixture at a high speed for a few minutes to create more air. Then fold in the whipped cream. Make sure the cream is completely incorporated.
Pour filling into the pie shell. Chill for at least 4 hours. The pie can be frozen for several weeks, or eaten within 4 days.
Place whipping cream, vanilla and powdered milk into a bowl. Using a standing or hand mixer, beat until very stiff. It can be placed in a piping bag to create a decorative topping, or simply spoon onto slices of pie. Stabilized cream can last several days without breaking down.