Introduction: Spherical Pie

Picture of Spherical Pie

This pie is the ultimate ode to Pi.  A full sphere of crust filled with pudding gives you the perfect pi-inspired pie eating experience.  The ratio of volume to surface area of a sphere is the highest possible for a closed shape.  So a spherical pie creates the largest possible filling content relative to crust.  It is the ultimate dessert experience for pi and pie lovers alike.

See more pictures and details on my blog entry here.
Serve this up alongside some sweet or savory Fried Pi Pies for a fantastic Pi Day celebration!

Step 1: Calculations and Considerations

Picture of Calculations and Considerations

First you need a pie crust mold.  The crust will be a two-part crust, with each part being baked around semi-spherical object.  You might have something around the house that's got a fantastic semi-circular shape but it should be made from an oven-worthy material.  I am using a glass candle holder that has been cleaned thoroughly and has no wax residue.  Since it is not tempered, it's important to be very careful and not to allow the glass to cool too quickly.  So do not put it in the refrigerator, in your sub-zero detached garage, etc. to cool it faster.  Just wait.  If you choose glass, be careful!  Do this at your own risk. (People will have issues with my use of non-tempered glass so this is for their satisfaction.)

Calculate the volume of filling.  Measure around the widest part of the sphere.  This is the circumference.  If you don't have a flexible measuring tape, wrap a piece of string around it, mark it, and measure that.  Use this to calculate the volume of your sphere.  This sphere calculator will calculate the volume for you.  A cup of pudding is approximately 14.5 square inches.  My 11" diameter mold will result in 22.45 square inches, about 1 1/2 cups filling so I made two cups of filling.

I had an amazing semi-circular candle shade that was almost a perfect sphere with little holes for light and oxygen to go through.  However, I calculated the volume of this 22" diameter sphere and it was a staggering 180 cubic inches requiring about 12 cups filling.  This is why I went with a smaller mold.

Step 2: Supplies

Picture of Supplies

For an 11" diameter sphere, you need:
crust mold (see the previous step, Calculations and Considerations, for a description of objects to use for this)
1 pie crust (for a single crust pie)
1 small (3.4 oz) box instant pudding mix
2 cups milk
3 oz. candy-making chocolate (almond bark or similar) -- I choose white chocolate
2 pastry bags and coupler with tips* (or zip top bag)
aluminum foil
pan to hold the crust mold
pastry brush
2 heavy glasses or mugs

*ideally, one tip will be flat and the other round.  They aren't necessary but do make the process much simpler.

Step 3: Creating the Crust

Picture of Creating the Crust

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Cover the crust mold in foil.  This is done both because foil is food safe and because the foil makes it easier to remove the crust.

Divide the crust in half.  Refrigerate one half and roll out the other half into at least an 8" circle.  I rolled mine relatively thick, about 3/16" thick.  Lay the crust over the foil-covered mold and smooth over the rounded surface. 

Push together the folded areas or cut out excess dough and push the edges together with a little water to "glue" the seams.  Trim off some of the obvious excess crust (important because it will cause the crust to sag as you trim it to the proper length).

To cut an even bottom edge to the semi-sphere, find an object about the same height as the cut.  I used a pudding box but things like glasses might work for your cutting guide.  Lay the knife on this object and mark around the edges, moving either the crust mold or the height guide as you work.

Use a fork or toothpick to poke holes in the crust to release air bubbles as it bakes.

Place the crust mold on a cookie sheet or other pan and bake 12-15 minute until lightly browned and cooked through.

A few minutes after it comes out of the oven, pull the crust off the mold.  Invert it to allow moisture to come out of the inside of the crust.  I find the inside of the crust is less soft if I remove the crust immediately.  If it doesn't come off easily, wait until the whole thing is cool and pull the foil off the mold.  Do not try to cool your crust mold by putting it somewhere cold if it is glass.  It MUST cool naturally or you risk cracking or breaking it.

Once the entire crust mold is cool, repeat for the other side of the sphere.

Step 4: Preparing to Fill

Picture of Preparing to Fill

Once both sides of the crust are cool, you need to make sure they fit together.  The biggest obstacle is if the bottoms aren't flat.  Set them on the counter to see if they are flat.   If the bottoms aren't flat enough due to sagging while baking or a badly cut edge, use a microplaner or hard cheese grater to smooth them down like sandpaper until they sit flat.

Melt about 1oz chocolate according to package instructions and spread in the insides of both halves. It will seal the inside of the crust against the moisture from the pudding as well as provide structural support for the sphere. Place the two halves into two heavy glasses or mugs to prevent them from rolling. Refrigerate until the chocolate is firm, about 5-10 minutes, depending on the thickness of chocolate.

Step 5: Assembly

Picture of Assembly

Mix the pudding according to the package and pour into the halves of the sphere.  Refrigerate until set.

Select the side that will be the top.  Melt an ounce of chocolate and place in your pastry bag or zip top bag.  Either use a flat icing tip or else cut a small hole in the corner of the bag.  Pipe a layer of white chocolate over the top half of the sphere.  Be sure it fully covers the pudding and extends to the edges of the crust, touching the crust so it will create a pudding barrier.  Realize that, for the first time in your life you've read the term "pudding barrier."  Refrigerate until set, about 10 minutes.

Once the pudding barrier is set.  Fill a piping bag or zip top bag with another ounce of melted chocolate.  If your bag is still full of melted chocolate, by all means, use it instead of filling another bag.  Using a round tip or a cut corner of the bag, pipe a thick layer of chocolate around the rim of the bottom half of the sphere.  This should cover the edge of the crust.  Then gently, turn the top side of your sphere over and place it onto the bottom.  Using your finger to smooth the chocolate seam.  Refrigerate another 10 minutes to ensure your sphere is sealed before serving.

Step 6: Cutting

Picture of Cutting

The spherical pie might be perplexing to divide but it has been done successfully, and with pictorial evidence.

First, I got the knife hot by dipping it in hot water for a minute. Then I stabbed into the chocolate that joins both half spheres. I intended to saw through but I simply stabbed into this equator, twisted the knife slightly, and easily pried the sphere in half.

I used kitchen scissors to start the cuts that would divide the hemispheres in half and then slid my knife into the grooves from the scissors to finish the cut. I repeated it for the other side. I snapped the white chocolate disk (pudding barrier) into quarters and garnished each piece.


canida (author)2011-03-07

Wow, this is awesome!

starshipminivan (author)2011-03-14

I bought a Wilton Sports Ball pan and molded my crust around it. It holds 8 cups. To make it less dense overall, I filled filled the crust with a marshmallow fluff and put lemon pie filling into the very center.

This pie was featured on Boing Boing during Pi Day! Wahoo! It really was kind of amazing. It was presented to high school Geometry students to celebrate the day. They split it in half and sort of scooped out the goo and broke apart the crust as there weren't the best cutting implements around.

chicopluma (author)2011-03-12

i was just randomly seen instructables and i wasn`t able to ignore this one, a sphere is always better than a circle

WhyHello (author)2011-03-07

Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa????????? *tries to stick fork in it*

porcupinemamma (author)2011-03-06

This looks very cool! You must have inherited a creativity gene.
I might be gapping, but what is a "crust mold"?

It is anything round that the crust can be baked on. I originally wanted to bake the crust inside something round but the crust would puff on the inside and then I knew the outer surface wouldn't get golden brown or particularly firm. So I baked the crust over something and it worked really well.

like a pyrex bowl?

Sure. I didn't use my round bowls because they were flat on the bottom but that's just me being overly picky.

I must have missed reading what you used (gulp...) can you remind me please?

I used a clean glass candle holder with a semisphere-shaped bottom that sits in a retaining ring. I had to add a caution warning though because people will panic if I don't, and because it is not intended for oven use. Mostly it's only an issue if it cools too quickly and that can cause glass to crack.

Ahhhh thanks :0)

ANDY! (author)2011-03-06

That's a crazy pie.
Might be good for easter!

starshipminivan (author)ANDY!2011-03-07

Absolutely! It's a very flexible concept. I'm working on a Death Star version.

canida (author)starshipminivan2011-03-07

*jaw drops*

Yes, please!

starshipminivan (author)canida2011-03-07

It's more of a squashed sphere at the moment and the indentation is a little big so it's out of proportion but it's roughtly Death Star shaped. I might get pictures of it later once I have it filled, as long as it doesn't suddenly come under attack.

hlfwy.thr (author)2011-03-06

This is so neat. I can think of all sorts of applications for this.

You could make an edible Earth complete with the crust, mantle, and core if you layer the insides. Or you could make a watermelon if you layer the insides and put streaks of filling to make seeds when you cut it! Or..or...ok. I am getting carried away now.

Awesome job :)

Those are great ideas! I understand, it's easy to get carried away. I get carried away all the time.

DELETED_jorgegunn (author)2011-03-07

ahh shucks this is simular to my idea but still way diffrent so i think i will still try and enter it.

kazmataz (author)2011-03-05

A. Mazing.

lemonie (author)2011-03-05

I've thought about things like this, well done!


foobear (author)2011-03-04

pretty cool, but who would be brave enough to cut the first slice!

starshipminivan (author)foobear2011-03-04

Me! I'd do anything for pie. I added a step of the cutting of the pie.

Luliana (author)2011-03-04

It's really an amazing pie!
I just have a question, how do you eat it? That looks kind of tricky if you're going to share.

starshipminivan (author)Luliana2011-03-04

When I cut the pie tonight, I took pictures and added another step. It was easier than I expected.

caitlinsdad (author)2011-03-04

No need to accurately measure the size of the sphere, I believe there is the fudge factor. Besides, if you want accurate, you would need to do it in the metric system How does one serve up this calorie Death Star?.

caitlinsdad (author)caitlinsdad2011-03-04

p.s. create another set of spherical pies in the pac man theme to enter in the games contest.

Good idea. Also, look at the picture of the crust laying on the form in step 3. When I was taking that shot I thought it looked like a pac man ghost. Hmm....

Big audience here for that one-up mushroom. Do it!

You can, of course, fill the half sphere with rice or beans and measure the volume that way for determining the amount of pudding. Since I made it for the Pi Pie Contest, I figured I'd go half hog with calculations (whole hog is when I put in the formulas and expect people to calculate it themselves).

I see this as a four person pie so, I plan to use a hot knife to divide it in half along the chocolate equator, then cut each half sphere in half. Otherwise I can see two hungry people just getting out spoons and eating out of their half sphere bowls.

About This Instructable




Bio: I'm a Renaissance woman. I love to create things with a fantasy, medieval, or geeky edge. I'm also a math/science nerd. I ... More »
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