Friday, March 14, 2008

One celebration amongst the infinite reasons to celebrate pies

Today is (π)-Day!

Such a day merits celebration.

And I can't think of a better way to celebrate than by posting one of my favorite pictures, that just happens to capture one of my favorite memories of the person (a favorite) who called me up this evening to let me know that today is Pi-Day.

This picture was taken during this person's Thansgiving visit to our hovel on stilts. It was a great visit. I believe the Fates also found it so - and that's why they gifted us with the perfect weather for a snowmachine trek, complete with one of the more beautiful tundra sunsets that I have ever been privileged to witness.

But the celebrations don't stop there.

I'd like to further celebrate Pi Day by posting one of my favorite pie-baking recipes: Dave's Crumb Topping. If you were to look on page 147 of Pie, written by Ken Haedrich, you'd find merely a quick reference to "crumb topping" for a fresh raspberry pie. But this particular crumb topping is so much more delicious than such a humble reference might indicate. This crumb topping is so delicious, in fact, that we've taken to applying it to all of our apple and cranberry pies. Indeed, all of our apple pies now bear this topping.

Let's be honest here. Such a delicious pie topping deserves more honour than a mere reference, no? Well, we certainly think so. As a first step in making sure that this crumb topping gets its merited honour, we've taken the liberty of renaming this crumb topping in honor of one of our favorite people. Coincidentally, this is the favorite person that was our house guest the first time we tried it. As an additional coincidence, this is the same person we remember each subsequent time that we've enjoyed it. And, if all that wasn't coincidence enough, this is also the same person that I described in the very first paragraphs of this post.

Oh, I do love how life so often works out to be one fun series of coincidences.

Dave's Crumb Topping
(from Pie, and enough for one pie)

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter

Mr. Haedrich advocates that you use chilled butter, cut into quarter inch pieces. And then he instructs you to combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a food processor. Then he advises you to scatter the butter over the dry mixture and pulse the mixture until it resembles fine crumbs. Then he notes that you should put the crumbs into a large bowl and gently rub between your fingers to make large, buttery crumbs, which you would refrigerate until you are ready to scatter them over the unbaked pie.

If you can, you should probably follow his instructions. I would. But, alas, I don't. I use a "hasty" variation of Mr. Haedrich's instructions. In my hasty version, I mix up the dry ingredients in a cereal bowl. Then I dump in a stick of room-temperature butter and mix&rub the concoction with my fingers until it makes large, buttery crumbs. I usually do this right before I put the pie in the oven, and I only use my right hand. Once the crumbs are ready, and still using my right hand, I scatter them across the unbaked pie. And then, with my left (and unbuttered) hand, I open the oven and put the pie inside.

No comments: