Mar 17, 2010

3.14 = Pi(e) Day

 My friend Emily is a pie baking queen. No, wait, maybe Pie Ambassador is the best title for her.  A master's student in UNC's Folklore Curriculum studying women's creativity in domestic spaces, Emily writes the tastey blog nothing in the house to archive all of her pie baking adventures, share recipes, and post interesting finds from her studies along the way. 

March 14th marked Pi(e) Day, so named for the date 3.14's resemblance to the numerical figure for the mathematical pi.   Emily has been a long timer supporter of  Pi(e) Day celebrations and now that she's living in North Carolina, set out to organize a great event that would bring people together for the sheer joy of baking pies in the Piedmont.

Miss Emily at work.

We started on Saturday night with a team of folklore students who came to the Inn at Celebrity Dairy to make some pie dough.  After the dough was done we headed over to my favorite taqueria in Siler City, Loma Bonita, and had some pre-pie tacos and beer.  Back at the Inn we consumed massive amounts of Celebrity Dairy goat cheese and crackers, a little wine, played word games, and sang songs into the night.... way into the night....  making for some bleary-eyed bakers the next morning!

Celebrity Dairy was happy to host Pi(e) Day 2010 and welcomed some 13 bakers into our kitchen who produced an astonishing 26 pies! Not too shabby for a Sunday afternoon.

The spread!

Here's the list of what we made... hold on to your pie tins, folks! 

Bourbon Pecan Pie 
Baker: Joe Schroeder

Lemon Goat Cheese Tart with Blackberry Preserves
Baker: Brooke Simmons-Temple, Celebrity Dairy's Innkeeper and Chef

Avocado Coconut Vegan Pie
Baker: Emily Hilliard

Chocolate and Raspberry Tart
Baker: Emily Hilliard

Blueberry Pie 
Baker: Emily Hilliard 
*This pie was one of two given away during our Pi(e) Walk.

Mini Blueberry Pies
Baker: Emily Hilliard

Key Lime Pie
Baker: Ashley Melzer

Coconut Pie 
Baker: Ashley Melzer 

Pork Pie/Tourtierre
Baker: Chris Fowler

Allen 'n Sons North Carolina Bar-B-Q Pie with Slaw Dressing 
Baker: Chris Fowler

Sweet Potato-Muscadine Pie
Baker: April McGregor of Carrboro's Farmer's Daughter

Chocolate Meringue
Baker: April McGregor

Chess Pie with warm Strawberry & Lavender Preserves 
Baker: April McGregor   
*One of my favorites of the dessert pies! But I'm always a sucker for April's Strawberry & Lavender Preserves.  If you haven't checked them out you should at the Carrboro Farmer's Market where April has a stand or at 3 Cups in Chapel Hill where Farmer's Daughter preserves and seasonal pickles are sold.

Fried Pies! 
Baker: April McGregor

Jamaican Veggie Patties (hand pies) with Curried Greens
Baker: Phil Blank

Blackberry & Blueberry Ginger Pie
Baker: Lora Smith

Mocha & Molasses Shoofly Pie 
Baker: Lora Smith 

Kentucky Pie
Baker: Lora Smith

Pimento Cheese-Tomato Pie 
Baker: Emily Wallace  
*I have to say that this one won best in show for me of all the pies.  I can't believe how good it was and it was one of the first ones to disappear.

Buttermilk Pie 
Baker: Emily Wallace

Chicken Pot Pie 
Baker: Zans & Molly Mclachlan
*Molly was our youngest pie baker at age 10.

Deep Dish Pizza Pie
Baker: Mary Turner, Celebrity Dairy's Head Cheese Maker

2 Apple-pear Pies with Gruyere Crust
Baker: Shannon Barry 
*One of these was given away during our Pi(e) Walk.

Potato and Pheta with Preserved Lemon Pie
Baker: Phoebe Lawless of Scratch Bakery
*Brought by Whitney Brown who is now working for Scratch as a baker.  
Walnut Cream Pie
Baker: Phoebe Lawless

Whitney Brown and Ashley Melzer, proud members of the Pie Bakers Union, Local 919.

In addition to our pies we whipped up some goat milk's ice cream as a compliment to cut the sugar buzz.  I'm not sure it helped as the ice cream was so rich and custardy it was a rich meal unto itself!

 We took $5 donations to help cover our ingredient costs- No one made any money, that wasn't the point, we just tried to recoup some ingredient money for many of the bakers who are students.

 The pies await!

I had to bake this one twice- I was working from an old Shaker Cookbook and failed at my first attempt. The top was made with crushed walnuts and I added my own little galloping horse cookies.

Can you believe this was Joe's first pie ever?!

One of the sweetest parts of the day was watching our neighbor Zans cook with his 10-year-old daughter, Molly. Watching Zans gently give his daughter direction on how to put together the pie made me all tenderhearted and reminded us why these home-based events are more than just about having fun, they can serve as important points of connection, memory, and continuity among communities and families.

Our neighbor Zans, a former baker at Whole Foods, with daughter Molly.

Somewhere between 30-40 people came out to the farm to enjoy the pies.  We also had a pie walk with live music performed by some very fine old-time musicians in the bunch.

My favorite of the day- Pimento Cheese & Tomato.

Thanks to everyone who came out for the love of pie!  And be sure to check out Emily's blog post about pi(e) day too.

But a big THANK YOU to our bakers: Emily W, Emily H, Chris, Ashley, Whitney, Brooke, Shannon, Mary, Zans, Molly, Joe, and April.

 Mary recovering from a pie hangover.

See you next year...


  1. Wish we knew this stuff was going on since we live right down the road...

  2. Oh, pie is the best. Much better than cake. This looks so good. Lemon goat cheese, pimento cheese tomato, mocha and molasses. I wish I had been there. Whew!