Introduction: Tau(co) Pi(e)

This instructable describes a sinfully simple and delicious taco pie.  It is a good option for when you want to eat nachos for dinner and not feel quite so guilty about it (you know, because this is technically a savory pie, which is a meal, not an appetizer).

The name of this dish has been spun in honor of Pi Day.  Though I refuse to take sides in the tau vs. pi controversy, tau does equal 2 pi (...radians), and really, what's better than MORE pi(e)?  Also, tau is equal to a full turn, or circle, and most pies (this one included!) are circular.  I guess that means that in the end 1 tau(co) pi(e) could be considered equivalent to 3 pi(e)s...but rather than get bogged down in mathematical semantics, let's just eat!

Step 1: Ingredients


Tortilla chips, 4 oz.
Butter, 5 Tbs
9 inch pie pan (or cake pan)


Refried beans, 1/2 can
Cream Cheese, 8 oz.
Corn, 1 can
Mexican blend shredded cheese, 1 cup
Salsa, 1/2 cup

Step 2: Crust Instructions

Crush the tortilla chips, the finer the better.  I put mine in a gallon-sized plastic bag and used the can of corn to crush the chips inside the bag (as in the first attached image).  Melt the butter.  Mix the crushed tortilla chips into the butter to make a relatively dry paste.  Spread the tortilla chip paste on the bottom of your pie pan to make the bottom layer of crust.  If you'd like, line the perimeter of the pan with a handful of extra tortilla chips (the small, round chips work well, as in the second image). 

If you're weary of the crust, you can bake it for 5 minutes at 375ºF.  I did not pre-bake my crust before the pie went in the oven, and the whole thing held up fine.

Step 3: Filling Instructions

Like your typical Mexican dip, simply layer the rest of the ingredients and you're good to go!

Spread a layer of refried beans on the crust.  NOTE: Be careful when spreading the beans if you haven't pre-baked the crust.  The beans may pull up some of the crust.  Next, spread the cream cheese on top of the beans (you may need to soften the cream cheese or use a whipped variety).  Drain the can of corn, and layer the corn on top of the cream cheese.  Then add a layer of salsa on top of the corn.  Finally, sprinkle the whole thing with a nice covering of cheese.

There are many opportunities for substitution here.  Adjust the pie layers to your taste and preference (I like corn and cheese so I used a lot of both).  Some ideas include:
  • An extra layer of veggies (onions, peppers, mushrooms, etc)
  • A ground beef or chicken layer
  • Black or pinto beans instead of refried beans
  • Remove the cream cheese
  • Add guacamole
  • Try it vegan-style! Use olive oil instead of butter in the crust and top with tofu-based cheese (like Tofutti®)
Finally, if you'd like to make your own guacamole AND salsa to add to the mix, let me suggest the following two recipes (they're easy and delicious!): guaca-mol-e and salsa.

Step 4: Bake and Serve!

Bake your pie for 10-12 minutes at 350ºF (bake time may vary based on the material of your pie pan).  Once the cheese is bubbling, the center should be hot enough to serve.  Should you add a meat layer, I'd suggest pre-cooking the meat.

Serve with a side of rice and a bit of guacamole.  A few extra tortilla chips and a drizzle of salsa completes the presentation.  

Total prep and cooking time is about 25 minutes.  Each 1/8 pie slice is about 350 calories (with the ingredients shown here).

¡Buen provecho!

Serious Eats Pi Day Pie Contest

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Serious Eats Pi Day Pie Contest

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