This monstrosity came into existence when, after a heavy and 'serious' debate on different pi-inspired pies to make, my colleague and I came up with the idea of an empty pie tin, to represent imaginary numbers.
However, empty pies aren't very tasty ones, and soon I was consumed with the idea of making this pie real. However, it turns out making a pie that isn't a pie but is a pie is much more difficult to do than to imagine. I will not go into detail, but things like salmon and mushy peas were discussed. Thankfully, a trip down the donut section of the grocery store set me right.
I decided I wanted something similar to a jelly donut, without the sugar overload. I opted for plain shortbread, since it's not a crust but is malleable enough to look like it. And for the filling I decided on raspberry jello, as it's glutenous, not particularly strong in flavor, and has a nice red color. Add some berries to it, break some cookies overtop, and it's a pie that's not a pie.
Anyhow, after some thinking (and some trial-and-error), I am proud to present the "Imaginary PiE", made from shortbread, jello, and fancy cookies.
Step 1: Ingredients and Some Notes
1 1/2 cups white flour
1/2 cup sugar
9 Tbs butter
3oz package of raspberry jello (or jello of choice) - the jello should make about 2 cups
1 cup boiling water
1 cup cold water
1/2 cup to 1 cup frozen berries (set out to thaw)
Pizzelle cookies, or similar delicate cookie
Since jello needs a mold, make sure that whatever container you use is the same approximate diameter as the area you wish to fill. Also, make sure said container is easy to remove jello from, or you'll end up accidentally tearing the filling. Or, if you aren't concerned about the aesthetics, use any size mold you desire, and then gently remove the extra globs from your finished pie.
In the case of my pie, I went for messy, since I knew I'd be covering it with fruits and cookies.
Also, this is not the type of dessert you save for later. It is best eaten straight away, since the shortbread is prone to sogginess and will soak up any liquid from the jello and fruit.
Step 2: Make the Shortbread
1. Preheat oven to 330F and grease your pie tin.
2. Combine the flour and sugar in a medium sized mixing bowl.
3. Add the butter by rubbing it into the flour and sugar using your fingers and thumbs. Make sure to mix the ingredients together, but be careful not to knead the dough. It should feel like there's too much flour.
4. Press the dough into your pie tin. Smash it into the shape you want, including the sides of the crust.
5. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a very light golden color.
6. Let cool while you make filling.
Step 3: Make Jello Filling
- Jello package instructions may differ. The instructions posted here are for the raspberry jello I decided to use -
1. Put gelatin powder in glass bowl #2.
2. Add boiling water and stir until dissolved.
3. Add cold water.
4. Allow the jello to set for 1 hour in the fridge.
5. Add thawed berries. If the gelatin has solidified too much, push the berries into the jello.
6. Allow the jello to set for another 3 hours.
NOTE: Do not attempt to use the shortbread as a mold for the jello. If you do, you will end up with a soggy crust, as demonstrated in the second picture above.
Step 4: Combine!
1. If desired, smash berries into the shortbread, to create a layer of fruit between the filling and the crust.
2. Move the jello filling into the pie.
3. Break the pizzelle cookies into pieces and layer them on top of the jello in an imitation of a pie top (or any patter you desire).
4. Eat with whip cream.
Participated in the
Serious Eats Pi Day Pie Contest