Earl Grey Pie – Happy Pi Day! (Gluten-Free)

It’s March 14 – 3/14 – and first thing this morning, my husband rolled over and wished me a Happy Pi Day. You know, his favourite “holiday”.

Well, first thing that came to mind was a long string of expletives – for the first time since we’ve met (and I’m including the year following the tornado that destroyed – among other things – our kitchen!), I’ve completely forgotten about Pi Day. IN my defense, I’ve been swamped with development for More Than Poutine. This month has been ALL about developing recipes for Canadian junk food; most recently, that’s meant snack cakes. There is sugar everywhere, I can’t picture having added a pie in on top of everything.

… but I didn’t even post anything about Pi Day, leading up to today, on any of my social media. Not even so much as a share of my big “Pi Day is Coming, Are you Ready?” master list of Pi Day stuff. Kinda feeling like the worst wife AND worst nerdy blogger ever – I really dropped the 4/3Ď€r^3 on that one!

Thankfully, his workplace is taking care of his pi day needs that I so woefully neglected, but I still feel bad. So, as my mea culpa to the universe, I will share my Earl Grey Pie recipe now! This recipe is one of the many fabulous gluten-free recipes in Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking & Baking, so if you’re gluten-free, or know someone who is, you should definitely check it out 🙂

If you don’t need this to be gluten-free, feel free to substitute a store bought pie crust, or one from of your favourite recipes. My go-to is my Great-Uncle Tom’s Pie Crust Recipe.

This is an elegant pie that isn’t cloyingly sweet – the Earl Grey flavour comes through well, and is really well suited for use in a pie!

We served it for some friends, and one of them – Derek – was almost in tears as he declared that “Everything is perfect with the world” after the first bite. When another friend joined us later, He told her that when she tries the pie, “The gates of heaven will open, and you will see everything”.

So. That happened.

I hope you enjoy this pie as much as Derek did! (And everyone else, really… his reaction was just amazing though! )

Gluten-Free Earl Grey Pie
Makes 1 pie

Crust:

1/2 cup Light buckwheat flour
1/4 cup Sorghum flour
1/4 cup Sweet rice flour
1/4 cup Corn starch
1 Tbsp Granulated sugar
1 tsp Xanthan gum
4 oz Cream cheese
1/4 cup Cold butter
Zest of 1 lemon
1 Large egg
1/4 cup Cold water

Filling:

2 Large eggs
1/2 cup Granulated sugar
1/3 cup Corn starch
1/4 tsp Salt
1 cup Milk
1 cup Heavy cream
3 Earl Grey tea bags
2 Tbsp Butter
Whipped cream, for serving

Measure flours, corn starch, sugar, and xanthan gum into the bowl of your food processor, blitz to combine. Add cream cheese, butter, lemon zest and egg, blitz a few times until mixture resembles gravel.

Stream in cold water as you run the food processor, just long enough to start to bring it together as a dough – you may need to use a little more or less water. Do NOT over-process it!

Remove dough from processor, knead lightly to bring it together as a ball. Wrap in plastic film, chill for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 450 F (230 C), lightly dust your work surface with extra corn starch. Roll your crust out to about 1/4″ thick. Line a pie pan with the crust, trim the edges of the crust to only slightly longer than the edge of the pie plate. Use your fingers to crimp/ruffle the edge of the pie.

Use a fork to prick some holes on the bottom of the crust. Chill in fridge for 15 minutes. Once chilled, bake pie crust for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven, allow to cool to room temperature while you prepare the filling.

Whisk eggs together with sugar until fluffy and pale yellow. Add cornstarch and salt, whisk until incorporated and smooth. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, bring milk and cream just to the start of a boil. Remove from heat, add tea bags, steep for 5 minutes. Remove tea bags, squeezing out excess liquid back into the pot. Bring cream up JUST to a boil once again.

Measure about 1/4 cup of the hot cream mixture, and stream slowly into egg mixture while whisking. Continue streaming liquid and whisking until it is completely incorporated, and mixture is smooth. Repeat with another 1/4 cup of hot cream.

Remove saucepan from heat, pour remaining egg mixture into cream mixture, whisking constantly. Once fully incorporated and smooth, return to heat. Turn heat to medium-low. Continue whisking mixture constantly, cooking until mixture is very thick. Remove from heat, stir in butter until melted and smooth. Cool to room temperature.

Spoon filling into prepared crust, cover with plastic wrap. Chill until set, about 3 hours. To serve, top with whipped cream.

Interested in Gluten-free cooking and baking? You’ll LOVE Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

How many times have you come across a gluten-free recipe claiming to be “just as good as the normal version!”, only to wind up with weird textures, aftertastes, etc? Most gluten-free recipes are developed by taking a “normal” recipe, and swapping in a simulated “all purpose” gluten-free flour… whether store bought, or a homemade version. “Beyond Flour” takes a different approach: developing the recipe from scratch. Rather than swapping out the flour for an “all purpose” mix, I use various alternative flours as individual ingredients – skillfully blending flavours, textures, and other properties unique to each flour. Supporting ingredients and different techniques are also utilized to achieve the perfect end goal … not just a “reasonable facsimile”. Order your copy here.

Looking for even MORE fantastic gluten-free recipes? Beyond Flour now has a sequel: Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

Imagine gluten-free foods that are as good – or better! – than their traditional, gluten-filled counterparts. Imagine no longer settling for foods with bizarre after-tastes, gummy consistency, and/or cardboard texture. Imagine graham crackers that taste just like the real thing. Crisp, flaky crackers…without the sandy texture. Hybrid tortillas that: look and act like flour tortillas, with the taste of fresh roasted corn! Imagine chewy, delicious cookies that *everyone* will want to eat! Imagine BAGELS. If you’ve cooked from “Beyond Flour”, you already know that these fantasies can be reality – it’s all in the development of the recipes. Order your copy here.

Gluten Free Sauerkraut Buns Recipe (Pyrizhky)

Yikes, it’s been over a month since my last post! Sorry about that. We’ve been super busy with 3 conventions, Pi Day, AND a long road trip in that time. Back now, and it’s about a month til our next convention, so… here I am!

Growing up, I loved Sauerkraut buns… soft little bready balls of joy that would show up at family gatherings. Though we’re not Ukrainian ourselves, growing up in Winnipeg meant that many of the traditional foods from other cultures – Especially Ukrainian – were pretty… ubiquitous. Bacon, onion, and sauerkraut is a pretty genius filling, so it’s no wonder that these were super popular back home.

I’m kind of surprised that it seems like no one I know here in Minneapolis has ever heard of them!

While preparing for Pi Day, I decided that it was time to develop a recipe for a gluten-free version. These aren’t QUITE as soft as the original – and the technique is different for putting them together… but they are full of flavour, inside and out. The bread has a great texture, and they’re easy to make.

Enjoy!

Gluten Free Sauerkraut Buns (Pyrizhky)
Makes about 35 buns

Dough:
1/2 cup warm water
1 tsp sugar
1 envelope yeast
1 1/2 cup+ Brown rice flour
3/4 cup gluten-free oat flour
1/2 cup Amaranth flour
1/2 cup Millet flour
1/4 cup Corn starch
1/3 cup Potato starch
2 Tbsp Tapioca starch
3 tsp Xanthan gum
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup sour cream

Filling:
1 lb bacon, chopped
1 bag saurkraut (about 19 oz), well drained
1 medium onion, chopped
Salt
Pepper

Melted butter

Prepare the dough:

Gently mix together warm water, sugar, and yeast. Allow to sit for 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, mix together 1 cup of the brown rice flour, remaining flours, starches, xanthan gum and salt. Form a well in the middle, and pour oil, eggs, and sour cream into it. Mix well, then add the yeasty water. Mix until everything is well incorporated, then knead lightly for 1 minute – it will be a bit wet. Place dough in a large, greased bowl. Cover and allow to rise somewhere warm for 1 hour.

As you are waiting for the dough to rise, prepare the filling:

Cook bacon & onions until bacon is almost cooked, but not crispy. Add saurkraut to the pan, cook and stir well until bacon fat is absorbed and everything is heated through. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let cool.

One the hour rise is up, mix remaining 1/2 cup rice flour into the dough. Pinch off a walnut sized piece of dough, and work into a circle. If dough is too wet to work with, add a little more flour. You want it more wet than normal dough. Let stand for another 10 minutes.

Assemble the sauerkraut balls:

Note: I like to wear latex gloves for assembly:

Divide dough into a bunch of walnut sized pieces – about 35 of them.

One at a time, flatten a piece of dough into a circle approximately 3″ across – I like to do this in the palm of one hand. Place a 1 Tbsp mound of filling in the center of the circle. Carefully pull up the edge of the circle up and around the filling, sealing the filling in (like a drawstring bag). Roll around between your hands a bit to get a uniform spherical shape, and place on parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the dough/filling, leaving at least 2″ between dough balls.

Loosely cover cookie sheets with plastic wrap, and allow to rise another hour.

Heat oven to 375F. Remove pastic wrap from cookie sheets, bake for 25 minutes, or until golden. Remove from oven and brush liberally with melted butter.

Great served hot, fresh out of the oven, cold, or even reheated. IF they last that long.

Interested in Gluten-free cooking and baking? You’ll LOVE Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

How many times have you come across a gluten-free recipe claiming to be “just as good as the normal version!”, only to wind up with weird textures, aftertastes, etc? Most gluten-free recipes are developed by taking a “normal” recipe, and swapping in a simulated “all purpose” gluten-free flour… whether store bought, or a homemade version. “Beyond Flour” takes a different approach: developing the recipe from scratch. Rather than swapping out the flour for an “all purpose” mix, I use various alternative flours as individual ingredients – skillfully blending flavours, textures, and other properties unique to each flour. Supporting ingredients and different techniques are also utilized to achieve the perfect end goal … not just a “reasonable facsimile”. Order your copy here.

Looking for even MORE fantastic gluten-free recipes? Beyond Flour now has a sequel: Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

Imagine gluten-free foods that are as good – or better! – than their traditional, gluten-filled counterparts. Imagine no longer settling for foods with bizarre after-tastes, gummy consistency, and/or cardboard texture. Imagine graham crackers that taste just like the real thing. Crisp, flaky crackers…without the sandy texture. Hybrid tortillas that: look and act like flour tortillas, with the taste of fresh roasted corn! Imagine chewy, delicious cookies that *everyone* will want to eat! Imagine BAGELS. If you’ve cooked from “Beyond Flour”, you already know that these fantasies can be reality – it’s all in the development of the recipes. Order your copy here.

Pi Day is coming – are YOU ready?

I’ve been so caught up in this whole winning the Czar of Cakes business, I was actually sort of caught off guard the other day. Someone had messaged me to say that Think Geek had blogged about our crazy Pi Kitchen Backsplash again.

Oh crap, that’s right – Pi day is less than a week away! (March 14 – 3/14!)

Luckily, I have a few extra days to prepare. With Pi Day falling on a Wednesday this year, we’ll actually be celebrating “St Pi-trick’s Day” next Saturday. It’ll be an interesting mix of math and Irish decor, pies, Pi-napple punch, and … corned beef.

Given the INSANE response to our Pi backsplash – Thinkgeek tweeting and blogging it (2x on the blog), thousands of “likes” / hundreds of shares on Facebook, “Make” Magazine and PC World blogging about it, just shy of 10,000 hits our blog tutorial for it in ONE MONTH… I’m thinking it’s about time for Pi Day to become more of a “thing”. Let’s make it more mainstream!

Pi day is a lot of fun, and there are SO many different things you can do to celebrate. No worries, the following suggestions are all far less expensive and labor-intensive than the pi backsplash!: (more…)

How to Custom Design and Install a Nerdy Granite Tile Backsplash

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My tornado memoir – “Twisted” was released on 05/22/12! click here for more details, or to purchase!
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So, I know it’s not EXACTLY food related… but tiling an awesome back splash is KITCHEN related, and tutorials are *almost* recipes, right? I swear this is actually a food blog…!

Remember back when I debuted the photos of our finished bathroom renovation, with Fibonacci sequence tiled into the main wall, and a few digits of pi tiled behind the toilet? It was a last minute design idea, and it was to be a subtle, small nod to our nerdiness.

Well, one thing led to another… and now we have 159 digits of pi tiled into our kitchen backsplash. If you follow me on Twitter, you’re probably sick of hearing about it by now… but I not only have the final photos, I have a tutorial on how to do it yourself!

Now, I know we went sort of nuts with the pi day celebrations last year… but this really takes it to a whole new level. We’re happy to have this in place in time for this year’s party, but… damn. No idea how we’ll top this for Pi day 2013. Or, you know, 2015, when we should really go all out! (3/14/15!)

I guess the one good thing about getting your house destroyed by a tornado is that it forces you to get off your butt, make a bunch of design decisions and actually DO renovations on the house, rather than just talk about “someday, it would be cool if…”.

We still have quite a ways to go, but the house really is looking great. We won’t have cabinet faces and doors for a WHILE – still waiting for the lumber we had milled to be properly dried, so we can build all that. Oh well. I think the fact that the black walnut that destroyed our kitchen is being used to rebuild it is badass enough to be worth the wait! Anyway…

Now, I realize that the odds of anyone else tiling pi into their kitchen is fairly slim… but this tutorial is also good for anyone who wants to put in a new backsplash, but with a personal twist. The photos and specifics here are for pi, but the principles can apply to any design you can think up, with 2″ x 2″ tiles.

For instance..

– Using two favorite colors to create a custom checkerboard design, should you not be happy with the small amount of pre-fab options out there.

– If you look at the tiles as “pixels”, you can do pretty much anything you can come up with that is 9-10 squares tall, by however long you want.

– Tetris!

– Music fans or musicians could make an amazing “equalizer” type design!

I can’t tell you how rewarding it is to look at a finished, completely custom backsplash, and know that it is YOURS… and it wasn’t the difficult! On to the tutorial….

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Celebrating Pi Day in style. Or something like it.

If you are looking for our epic, “internet famous” Pi Backsplash, check it out here

When hubby and I were setting a date for our wedding, he floated the suggestion of pi day. He was completely serious, by the way.

While his suggestion got vetoed, it did sort of pave the way for how we’d be spending March 14th *every year* thereafter. We host a Pi Day Party… honestly putting way more effort into that, than we do our own wedding anniversary! In hindsight, maybe I shoulda just caved on the date 🙂

While I appreciate nerdiness/geeking out in almost any form, I’ve always been confused by his obsession uh.. extremely enthusiastic appreciation.. for pi. But then, irrationality in any form tends to get on my nerves 🙂 (That was a lame pi joke, for the record.. not *totally* a dig at my husband!)

(A bit of explanation for the less nerdy of my readers. Pi Day is the day that celebrates Pi, the ratio of a circle’s circumference to it’s diameter. You know, 3.14159265358979323.. etc etc. 3.14… 3/14.. March 14.. get it? It’s also Einstein’s birthday. )

Pi day in the Porterhouse starts about a week and a half before the actual date, with the construction of our own custom “pi-nata”. Yes, a pinata shaped like the pi symbol! Last year, we posted a tutorial – Click here to check it out.

While you may not have the time or inclination to take on such a project for yourself at this time, there are many small, fun things you can do to celebrate Pi Day. I find Pi day is an excellent excuse to clean the house and have some friends over, at the very least. You know… and bake pie.

– Have a pie potluck party! I’ll be making a lingonberry-orange zest pie this year, looking forward to see what everyone else brings – even though I’m going low carb at the moment, and actually behaving myself with regards to being allergic to wheat (sob!). Ah well. I’m sure it’ll all smell good anyway 🙂

– At 1:59pm, (again.. 3.14159…), we’ll be toasting pi (and Einstein)… with PInapple punch. Even better yet… this year, we invested in the Pi symbol ice cube tray from ThinkGeek. We’ll have icy little pi symbols floating in the punch, and more used to garnish the glasses. Very Cute.

ThinkGeek actually has a bunch of cute pi themed goodies, check them out
here

– Pi Day Trivia! I’d post the link from where I got our questions, but… I know a few of our guests read this blog 🙂

– Read off Pi-ku (Haiku with a pi theme!), and then have a pi-ku writing contest.).

– Pi Day joke telling. This gets interesting. By “interesting”, I mean the kinds of terrible “punny” jokes that my father in law thrives on. (I’m talking on the order of “What do you get when you cut a jack o’lantern by its diameter? A: Pumpkin Pi!” Groan!).

– Pi Day Sudoku! Click here for the Pi sudoku that managed to fry everyone’s brain at last year’s party!

– Serve pizza. Not only is it ripe for another play on words (PI-zza), it’s round. Perfect. This year, I’ll be repeating my “St Patrick’s Day” pizza recipe that I made last year. This year, I’ll probably get around to actually posting the recipe. Trust me, it’s worth the wait – insanely yummy, and *completely* unlike any pizza you’ve ever tried. Guaranteed.

– Cookies! I bought this cookie cutter last year. Expensive, but GREAT quality. Love it. May end up using it to cut pie/pizza dough to decorate the other food items, in addition to making pi cookies.

– Get stuff. I had no idea that other people were as obsessed ^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H enthused about pi as my husband is, but there must be quite the pi-cult out there – just found this site, and many others. This one in particular has a ton of cute stuff. Maybe next year!

– Of course, recite pi to whatever insane number of digits you happen to have memorized. I consider myself pretty sane at just 10-12ish digits off the top of my own head.. my husband is quite proud of the fact that he used to know 205 digits. Holy crap. If there was any doubt as to the fact that I married the biggest nerd out there, they’re pretty much quashed at this point. One of the things I love most about him though (the nerd factor, not pi recitation in specific!).*

– I got a bit silly with preparations, and used one of the ice cube trays to make a bunch of melt-and-pour glycerin soaps. Not only will there be a set of 4 pi shaped soaps in each of our bathrooms, each guest will be taking home a little 2 piece set, wrapped in a little pouf of cellophane, and tied of with a green (St Patty’s Day!) ribbon. Martha Stewart, eat your heart out!

So… that’s our pi day suggestion list in a nutshell. Do you have any fun ways to celebrate Pi Day yourself? Be sure to tweet, facebook comment, or email them to us.. or just comment here! We’d love to hear about it!

* Plus, I can’t say much. I used to have the entire periodic table of elements memorized. Not just name/symbol, but location, and most of the atomic weights. Ya. I’d pretty much be a hypocrite if I held his 205 digits of pi thing against him 🙂

Happy Pi Day!


Today is Pi Day, aka the biggest nerd fest of our year. My husband is over the moon about this whole deal – have I ever mentioned that I managed to marry the biggest nerd on the planet? Ah well, I love him…so I’ll indulge his, um.. unique eccentricities.

Our recent Pi Day Pinata instruction blog hinted at some of the madness to come, but I figured that today, I will elaborate.

First, a bit of explanation for the less nerdy of my readers. Pi Day is the day that celebrates Pi, the ratio of a circle’s circumference to it’s diameter. You know, 3.14159265358979323.. etc etc. 3.14… 3/14.. March 14.. get it? It’s also Einstein’s birthday.

The day started off with rolling out of bed and semi-coherently making a ton of pizza dough at an ungodly hour. Having spent the better part of 2 weeks getting ready for the TCBA (mega) wedding show, which was oh-so-conveniently scheduled the day after Pi Day, I was already a bit worn out. Ah well, making fondant, making pizza dough.. not a lot of difference to me at this point.

I’m more of a St Patty’s Day girl, myself.. so there were some compromises made in the planning of this particular party. While the central theme was Pi Day, there were a few aspects in which St Patrick’s Day encroached on the festivities. The pizza was one of these areas.

You see, I’d been chatting with a friend of mine on Facebook, who had been looking forward to attending. Somehow, the subject of Irishing up the party came up, and – after a bit of smack talk – the idea of a St Patrick’s Day themed pizza came up. It was almost a dare, and I love a challenge.. so I came up with a pizza of sheer evil genius proportions. I will be posting the recipe on the recipe blog soon.. basically, fresh pizza dough, spread with a thick layer of fresh caulcannon, then layered with thinly sliced onion, pieces of blanched cabbage, sliced of par-boiled potatoes, corned beef, and then cheddar cheese. OMG was it ever good! Made 3 huge regular pizzas, plus another one that had a gluten free crust for my friend Lisa and I.

Ok, got off on a tangent there. Have I ever mentioned how much I love caulcannon? It can drive me to distraction!

So anyway, the party was a PIe potluck. My contribution was an “Irish” silk pie.. chocolate silk pie flavored with Irish Cream, and – because I was a bit low on Irish Cream – supplemented with some amaretto. Yum.

There were quite a few types of pie represented, from a pear and cinnamon, to an apple crumble, to pumpkin. I was pleasantly reminded of how awesome our friends are, when there were more gluten free pies there than regular. LOL. Totally unexpected and unneccessary, but very much appreciated!

At 1:59 (again.. 3.14159…), we toasted Pi and Einstein with PInapple Juice, and headed to the family room to take part in some ridiculously insane Pi Day Trivia. Having culled the questions from online (http://www.eveandersson.com/trivia/, for those interested!), I was shocked and amazed to see people actually getting the majority of questions right! I bow down to their supreme nerdiness!

Other activities included reading off some horrible Pi Day jokes (I’m talking on the order of “What do you get when you cut a jack o’lantern by its diameter? A: Pumpkin Pi!” Groan!), Pi Ku reading and writing (http://www.exploratorium.edu/pi/Pi-Ku/index.html for some examples!), and Pi Day Sudoku. (http://www.brainfreezepuzzles.com/main/piday2008.html, which managed to fry everyone’s brain!).

After that, we noshed on some PIzza, and then headed out to the porch to bash out PInata. Took video of all our nerds engaging in that, may post the video if the blackmail scheme doesn’t pan out, muahahaha!!

All in all, a lot of fun. Would have liked to let it run later, but had to kick people out so that I could sugar some fruit for the wedding show, as we had to get up early to set up. Looking forward to next Pi Day!

Pi Day Pinata!

This article was posted in 2009. For an update – with more ideas on how to celebrate Pi Day, check out 2010’s entry, here.

If you are looking for our epic, “internet famous” Pi Backsplash, check it out here.


With Pi Day (March 14) coming up, my husband and I decided to just go crazy with it. We’ll blog about the festivities later, but for now… I want to blog about the piece de resistance.. our PInata! Neither of us had ever been involved with making a pinata before, and it sounded like a fun – and wholly appropriate – challenge!

This would be a fun project for any couple or family to do together. Or, hey, any pi-obsessed individual… but I will say that two sets of hands REALLY helped it go faster, and there were many times where the extra set of hands helped with handling.

Of course, the principles of design that we utilized in the creation of our PInata could be applied to many different themes and shapes of pinatas, so go nuts with it. If it’s not in the cards for you to make one for this year’s Pi day, consider other occasions that would/could call for a Pinata.

Traditionally, it seems that you’re supposed to paper mache a balloon, and use that as your base. We couldn’t think of any possible way that would fit with our ideas, so we had to Macguyver a solution. Here is what we came up with. (Warning, this will be a fairly photo-heavy blog entry!) (more…)