Introduction: Pop Pi(es)!
Let's face it, food is more fun when it comes on a stick.
Pi Pie > Pie
Foods on sticks > Foods not on sticks
Pi Pi(es) on sticks > Pi Pies.
The proof, of course is in the Pi(e). Here's the instructions for making your own Pop Pi(es) for your Pi Day party.
First choose your favorite pie crust dough. Of late I've been partial to an all butter crust recipe that I found on the New York Times site. After reading the accompanying article by Melissa Clark, you may be very tempted to make a butter and lard crust. Hear me now. Lard crusts and sticks do not--I repeat, do NOT mix. Admittedly, the leaf lard and butter variation in Ms. Clark's article makes for a lovely crust, but it is so tender and flaky it will not remain lovingly perched on a stick. Listen to the voice of reason (and experience).
Of course if you prefer you can use your favorite refrigerated pie crust. A 8 or 9 inch DOUBLE CRUST recipe (I emphasize double here, because the recipe I refer you to is for a single crust) or refrigerated double crust will make about 16-18 pop pies give or take.
Once your crust is chilled and ready, roll it out as you would roll out a regular 9 inch pie. You want the crust to be nice and thin.
The pop pie form is very versatile you just want to be sure that whatever you decide to fill your pies with isn't 1) too watery or "juicy" and 2) is mostly cooked. The pies only bake for about 15 minutes so you don't want to rely on that oven time to cook your filling for you. You can do a sweet filling such as a blueberry pie filling or a savory one, for instance taking a small amount of brie cheese with a bit of whole berry cranberry sauce.
Using a cookie cutter cut out shapes from the dough. I used the slightly scalloped side of a 2 inch cookie/biscuit cutter.
Once you've rolled your shapes lay them out like so on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. I was able to fit 6 to a large baking sheet.
Position the oven safe sticks so that the top edge of the stick is about halfway up the pie cutout and press down gently. Fill with about a teaspoon or a little more of filling.
You want the pies to be as full as possible, but not so full that they burst while baking. Once you start layering the top crust you'll get a feel for how full is "too full."
Next cut out more of your chosen shape for the top crust and gently lay it on top, taking care to match up top and bottom as best as you can. Gently press the top and bottom together along the edges sealing the seam. Using the dough scraps cut out thin strips to form your pi symbol and gently press them into the dough of the top layer.
Using the edge of an unused oven safe stick crimp the edges together. You especially want to be sure to crimp the edges near where the stick protrudes.
Next brush with an egg wash and if you have a sweet filling sprinkle the tops with granulated white sugar. Bake for about 13-15 minutes until the edges are nicely browned. Remove from oven and cool on pan for 2-3 minutes. Carefully transfer pops from pan to wire rack. You don't want to move them too soon or they could break.
Warning. You have to be careful to avoid duds and you may want to plan ahead and make extra to avoid this. For the several dozen pops that I made, I had about 5 duds. The best bits of advice I can offer to avoid the duds is 1) make sure that your crust is thin, 2) make sure that your stick is centered, 3) make sure your crust pieces match up well, and 4) be careful to crimp those edges together nicely--especially those that are near corners or potential seam burst and the ones near where the stick protrudes.
To serve I recommend filling a shallow and wide mouthed vase with festively colored granulated sugar. You can color white sugar by mixing white sugar in a gallon size bag with a few squirts of food coloring gel. Arrange pops like flowers in your sugar filled vase and you're ready to serve.
Happy Pi Day!
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