March 14 is Pi Day, a holiday dating back to the 1980s to celebrate everyone’s favorite edible mathematical constant in the most delicious manner possible. Technically, you can celebrate Pi Day from morning till night, enjoying savory pies as entrees and sweet pies for dessert—so why not go all out? Here are some menu suggestions from The Takeout’s recipe archives (savories up first, then sweets) to help you observe the most hallowed holiday of the year.
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If you’re looking for a pull-out-all-the-stops meal, this recipe lets you fulfill your dreams in a single pie. May we present Beef Wellington Pot Pie, that most luxurious of dishes in pie form. Instead of beef tenderloin, use short ribs, which have the dual advantage of being both cheaper and more tender. You can use morels if you like, but feel free to substitute whatever mushrooms you can find. Pate can be store bought. But you must make your own puff pastry for the top. The “rough puff” dough included in this recipe is doable, and in the end, you will feel quite proud of yourself. Find the recipe here.
There’s always someone at the table who eats way more than their share, and there’s always someone else who polices every single slice to make sure no one gets too big a piece. In cases like these, it’s best to make sure everyone has their own individual pie. This 30-Minute Personal Shepherd’s Pie is, as its name implies, can be made in half an hour. If you don’t like the taste of lamb, you can use beef instead, but in that case, it would be a cottage pie, and that’s worth remembering if there’s someone in your family who likes to be annoying about stuff like that. Here’s the recipe.
A good pot pie is very much like a casserole, but enclosed in a delicious pastry crust. In Chicken Parm Pot Pie, chicken, sauce, and cheese are baked together in a breadcrumb crust that’s topped by a round of pizza dough that’s been brushed with garlic butter. Translation: no need to fry up stacks of chicken cutlets! This pot pie tastes exactly the way pot pie is supposed to taste: like home. Here’s the recipe.
Oatmeal Marshmallow Creme Pie
This pitch-perfect adaptation of Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies is a pantry pie recipe, meaning that you very likely have the ingredients on hand to whip it up right this minute. Oatmeal Marshmallow Creme Pie has no crust because it doesn’t need one: there’s lots of toasty oats in every bite to satiate your carb cravings. The whole thing can be stirred together in a big bowl with a spoon, so you don’t even need to break out a mixer unless you want the homemade marshmallow creme for the topping. Otherwise, just use store-bought fluff and call it a day. Get the recipe here.
Hear us out: this Pi Day pie is composed of 3.14 different pies in one. How? By separating the crust into thirds, piling a different fruit filling into each one, then encircling the whole thing with an extra-thick crust filled with lemon curd. This recipe requires a lot of resting, a lot of waiting, and (most intimidating of all) a lot of intuition. But do not let fear get the best of you, pie-bakers, because this is a holiday worth celebrating properly. Heads up: you’ll need a good amount of aluminum foil on hand to sculpt this beauty. Here’s the recipe.
Buttermilk Biscuit Breakfast Tarte Tatin
Classic tarte tatin has a reputation of being difficult to make, even though in reality it’s quite simple: make caramel in a skillet, top with apples and pastry dough, bake, invert, enjoy. (The only “risk” involved is that it might not turn out picture-perfect when you flip it out of the pan, but... who cares? It’s still delicious.) To turn it into a breakfast food, this Buttermilk Biscuit Breakfast Tarte Tatin features caramel enriched with bourbon barrel-aged maple syrup, and the crust is one massive, ultra-flaky buttermilk biscuit that ends up crisp and buttery on the bottom, dripping with hot caramel apple goodness on top. Get the recipe here.
Pineapple Cashew Brûlée Pie
As long as you have a food processor, you can make this Pineapple Cashew Brûlée Pie with minimal effort. First, you process butter, sugar, and flour to make a shortbread crust. After a quick blind baking, it gets filled with a roasted cashew cream, which is also made in the food processor. On top of the cashew cream comes a layer of canned pineapple mixed with a few staple ingredients. Once it’s baked, just scatter sugar over the top and brûlée (or broil) it. Get the recipe here.
Adapted from Tartine Bakery, this recipe for Lemon Cream Tart is light and easy and refreshing—a dessert that sends you off into post-meal bliss rather than weighing you down. You can buy a premade crust if you want. You can buy the lemon curd, too. But whatever you do, take a few extra minutes to whip the cream yourself. Cool Whip has its place, but not in this dessert. Here’s the recipe.
Also known as Pastel de Nata, Portuguese Egg Tarts are petite and perfect, and one especially nice thing about them is that you can make a whole bunch for Pi Day and then hide a few away for your own private consumption later on and no one will ever know! Yes, they use laminated dough, but our recipe walks you through the process of making it. You will have tarts with flaky crusts, and you will eat them all weekend long. Here’s the recipe.
We get it. Some people are just not bakers. That’s fine. Nobody’s saying you have to spend all day in the kitchen if it doesn’t bring you joy. But if you can tolerate an extra 15 minutes, it may be worth trying this Swedish Apple Pie. The brilliance of this recipe is that it requires no pesky scraping or rolling of pastry. Instead you chop up the apples, dust them with sugar, toss them in a pie plate, and cover them with a batter that forms the top crust. Hell, make this for breakfast on a weekday if you want. You can read the recipe here.
There are some of us who are able to amaze and impress guests with the imagination and skill of their cooking. And then there are the rest of us who do our best to follow recipes as written, but somehow lack the magic touch. But if you want to pretend you’re capable of kitchen magic, there are always tricks, and one of them is Mock Apple Pie. You—yes, you—are capable of making Ritz crackers taste like apples with basic ingredients and equipment you probably already have in your very own kitchen. The recipe used to be available on boxes of Ritz everywhere, but for maximum convenience, we’ve reprinted it here.
There are few cooks more daring than Southern grannies who were apparently born knowing how to manage lard and deep frying. For those of us who grew up north of the Mason-Dixon line without Southern grannies, our only exposure to deep-fried pies was the Hostess version. Now, however, a Southern granny has shared her recipe: Granny’s Fried Mostess Pies. They are small and dainty so you can eat them in moderation, which we’re absolutely sure you will. Here’s the recipe.
There are some people who, as a matter of principle, refuse to eat fruit-based desserts. And there are some who, when given a choice, will always go for chocolate. So for these people, we give you this sublime Chocolate Custard Pie, devised by Bo Durham, pastry chef at Mindy’s HotChocolate Bakery in Chicago. The crust is crumbly and buttery and the filling isn’t too sweet. You can find the recipe here.
Who needs a drink? Maybe it’s time for an Apple Whiskey Pandowdy. Okay, it’s true that most of the actual alcohol will burn off during baking, but you’ll still get the flavor of hard cider and applejack, should you decided to use them. (This recipe also works with sweet cider.) Apple pandowdy is an old-timey classic American dessert that’s similar to pie except that it’s made with dried apples and has just a top crust that’s submerged into the juice of the filling during baking. Find the recipe here.