Introduction: Strawberry Cream Cutie Pi (Pie)
This spring-inspired pie is perfect for celebrating the most calculated day of the year: Pi Day (3.14)! Being a middle school math teacher, I know celebrating this irrational holiday with a refreshing, cool pie satisfies students, mathematicians, and pie-lovers alike!
Serves 6 hungry pi-day guests.
Pie Ingredients :
3 cups Cream-Filled Chocolate Cookie Sandwiches, Crushed (Put them in a zipper-seal plastic bag and crush with a pan or rolling pin)
6 tablespoons Butter
1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
8 oz. Cream Cheese, Softened
1/4 cup Granulated Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 1/4 cup Strawberries, Smashed (You will need to start with at least 2 1/2 cups fresh strawberries since they shrink when you smash them.)
1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
1/4 cup Confectioners Powdered Sugar
Sugar Cookie Decoration Ingredients:
1/4 cup Butter (1/2 Stick)
1/4 cup Granulated Sugar
1 small Egg (or about half of a large one)
1 cups Flour
1/8 teaspoon Salt
1/8 teaspoon Baking Powder
Royal Icing Ingredients
2 cups Confectioners Powdered Sugar
1 1/2 tablespoon meringue powder
2 1/2 - 3 tablespoons Water (You want the icing to coat the background of the cookie to be very thin and the icing to make the small details to be thick)
STEP 1: SMASH (the strawberries and the crust)
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Smash the strawberries by putting them into a plastic bag and squeezing them with your fingers. Once mostly smashed - very small pieces are a nice surprise to find in the pie - put them in the refrigerator. The heat from your hands and the bag makes them too warm to add to the other ingredients just yet.
3. Combine the crushed cookies, melted butter, and sugar in a small mixing bowl. Smash this mixture onto the bottom and sides of a 9.5 inch round pie dish. The crust will be thick and it should be evenly distributed around the dish.
4. Bake the crust for 10 minutes. Let the crust cool completely (about 1 hour).
STEP 2: PREPARE THE PI (cookie decorations, that is)
5. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees,
6. In a medium mixing bowl, beat together butter, sugar, and eggs (from the sugar cookie ingredients above) until fluffy.
7. Stir in flour, salt, and baking powder; cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
8. Roll the dough 1/8 inch thick. Cut with your favorite pi cookie cutter, or draw your own pi, cut it out, and trace around it with a very sharp knife (I did this in the photo above). You want to make about three pi's just in case you are a little too rough with them after baking. . .
9. Cut the rest of the dough using a 1 inch circular cookie cutter. If you don't have one of these, try using a cap from your favorite perfume bottle (just make sure you clean it really well first!) or a small paint cup. You should cut as many circles as you can from the dough, but only about 25 will fit on the pie (again, it's good to have extras).
10. Bake the pi symbols for about 10 minutes and the circles for about 5 minutes. Take them out of the oven and let them cool completely.
11. To make the icing, mix together the powdered sugar and meringue in a medium bowl. Add water and beat on low for 8 to 10 minutes until soft peaks form. Divide the icing to make different colors and color it with food coloring (I left 1/3 white and colored the rest pink).
12. Ice the room-temperature cookies using a piping bag and your imagination. Let the icing harden completely between colors so that they will not run together. Set the cookies aside until you are ready to assemble the pie.
STEP 3: CREAMY PI FILLING
13. In a small bowl, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Add the strawberries and put aside.
14. In another small bowl, beat the heavy whipping cream until it starts to thicken (about 2 minutes), then gradually add the powdered sugar and beat until stiff peaks form (about 5 minutes).
15. Fold the strawberry mixture into the whipped cream (don't over-do it or your filling won't be fluffy).
16. Plop the filling into the cool pie crust and spread out. It should be flat so your cookie decorations have a good foundation to rest on. Let the pie cool in the refrigerator. It should cool for about 4 hours before serving, but you can decorate the top before starting the clock.
17. Using any leftover royal icing as "glue," stick your cookie decorations onto the top of your pie.
STEP 4: GIVE THANKS AND SHARE YOUR PIECES OF PI
18. Take a moment to thank all of the cultures and people who thought pi was important and interesting enough to study. Thank the people running the super computers which are trying to find the next digits of this non-terminating, non-repeating irrational number. Oh, and if your mom helps you make the Strawberry Cream Cutie Pi, make sure you thank her, too! Now EAT!