Pi day cooks up interest in popular pies


Abhigna Koochana

Junior Sameera Pasham eats a coconut cream pie in celebration of a birthday. Coconut cream pie has three parts: the crust, filling, and mandatory whipped topping, and takes about three hours to make.

Abhigna Koochana, Assistant Online Editor

Now a national excuse to eat pie, Pi Day stemmed from the desire to encourage math education. Physicist Larry Shaw founded this day in 1988 at the Exploratorium when he connected 3.14 to March 14, according to the Exploratorium. In 2009, Congress officially created a National Pi Day holiday to promote STEM education, per the North Carolina Egg Association

To foster the spirit of the national holiday, many choose to celebrate with pie and have pie-eating contests. Students slice into a classic apple pie, the apple cinnamon chunk filling falling out as they scoop it onto a plate; or they choose a pecan pie, the nutty flavor remaining long after the first bite. Whatever the case, people need options to choose which pie to celebrate Pi Day. The pies below are national delicacies, having entire days dedicated to them; they bring distinctive flavors to rival the classic apple pie.

Coconut cream pie

This pie is a beloved treat, with a day dedicated to it on May 8. Coconut cream pie took root after a French company started shredding coconut to make it more accessible, allowing it to be shipped to American candy makers and bakers, according to Kentucky Food & Drink

“My dad brought home a coconut cream pie one day and I loved it,” senior Angelina Xu said. “I had never tasted anything like it. The pie had a unique flavor; you could really taste the coconut but it was also sweet.” 

Coconut cream pie has three parts: the crust, filling and mandatory whipped topping.  The crust is made of shredded coconut, graham crackers, sugar and butter. It takes about 20 minutes to make and is chilled while making the filling. The longest part of the process, the coconut cream filling, is made of more shredded coconut, coconut milk, egg yolks, corn starch and sugar. It’s poured into the crust and left to chill for three hours. Made at the very end to garnish the dessert, the whipped topping is made with heavy cream, sugar and vanilla extract. 

“I love how creamy it is,” Xu said. “The cream contrasts with the crust, so there’s a creamy but crunchy taste. It melts right in my mouth. I’ve always liked coconut-flavored food.”

Strawberry rhubarb pie

National Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Day, celebrating the sweet and tangy dessert, is on June 9 . In 1771, Benjamin Franklin introduced rhubarb, a tart, vitamin-filled vegetable, to the East Coast according to National Today; the rhubarb pie became popular in the United States in the 1800s. 

“My parents bought a strawberry rhubarb pie once and I loved it,” junior Vedika Srivasta said. “It was a very different pie than I usually eat, the flavor was very unique but surprisingly tasted really good.”

Rhubarb is a healthy vegetable full of magnesium, vitamin C and fiber according to National Today; its leaves are toxic to humans, so the stalks are what the pie filling is made out of. In addition to rhubarb, the filling also contains strawberries, tapioca, orange zest, sugar and one egg white according to Simply Recipes. After combining these ingredients, pour into a classic graham cracker crust and bake until the crust is golden brown and the filling is thick and bubbly. 

“I was a little hesitant about the rhubarb in the pie, thinking it would taste weird,” said Srivastava. “But the flavors worked really well together. There was a little kind of sourness to it, which I’m assuming was the rhubarb with the sweetness of the strawberry. Add the crunch of the crust, and it was delicious.” 

Key lime pie 

As the name indicates, key lime pie is widely known to have originated in Key West, Florida. However, recent debates surrounding the pie’s origins came to light according to Southern Living; records show that a milk company in New York created the same pie, using lemons instead of limes. Pie makers in Florida were the ones who switched the recipe to include limes as they grow in abundance in Florida. Controversy or not, key lime pie remains a beloved pie with National Key Lime Pie Day being September 26.

“I tried key lime pie for the first time in Key West so that was a cool experience,” senior Gowri Balagopal said. “It was really good and honestly better than the key lime pies we find here.” 

According to Allrecipes, key lime pie only needs five ingredients: sweetened condensed milk, key lime juice, sour cream, lime zest and graham cracker crust. To make it, combine all ingredients, pour it into a pre-prepared graham cracker crust and place it in the oven for about 10 minutes. Compared to the other two recipes, it’s quick, easy and accessible. 

“I really like the lemony taste of it,” Balagopal said. “The sourness of the lime contrasts with the sweetness of the cream and it creates a nice balance.”

Pi Day is a day to both celebrate the mathematical constant pi and eat a lot of pie. From a rich, creamy filling to a fruit-filled custard, the options for pies are limitless.

“In elementary school, we celebrated Pi Day,” Srivastava said. “I remember bringing in a pie and there was just a table full of pies that other people brought in. It was a way to bond with your friends and classmates and create a sense of community.”