The occasions of mid-March

The year has rolled around again to Four Days in March:

— 3/14, today, Pi Day, a holiday both mathematical and alimentary

— 3/15, the Ides of March, also (in my household) Higashi (Removal) Day, the day in the distant past when my man Jacques and I would set off from Palo Alto to drive east (higashi) across CA, AZ, NM, TX, OK, MO, IL, IN, and OH to Columbus, to trade universities

— 3/16, National Panda Day, a significant occasion for several of my ailuropodotropic friends

— 3/17, the culmination in St. Patrick’s Day

So this morning came a New York Times mailing for Pi Day with five pies — well, five things from the PIEESQUE category, embracing pies, tarts, flans, quiches, etc. — for us “to bake in the name of science”.


The Pi Pies.

Double Apple Pie (flavor “deepened by a dose of apple butter”)

Crème Brûlée Pie (“velvety custard in a shatteringly crisp” sugar shell)

Fresh Strawberry Pie (shortbread crust, topped with whipped cream)

Caramelized Onion Galette (a savory pie)

Key Lime Pie Bars (with vanilla wafer crust)

A photo of the last:

(#1) (photo by Mark Weinberg for The New York Times)

Of interest to scholars of categorization and labeling because it’s not a canonical pie — indeed, it’s called a (fruit) bar — but something in the pie x cookie zone.

The filling is made of condensed milk, egg yolks, (Key) lime juice, and lime zest. Very simple.

A savory galette. Just before the Key Lime Pie Bars above is a Caramelized Onion Galette, notable in two ways. First, it’s a savory pie rather than a sweet one, though sweet pies are the default (if I tell you I’m going to bring a pie, not further described, to the potluck, you will expect a sweet pie, not a savory one).

Second, it’s called a galette, a term usually used for a kind of flat cake or pancake, but now clearly used in foodie circles to refer also to flat pies (maybe specifically to savory ones, as here).

Savory pies. Of many types, with a long history: meat pies in general (try not to think of Sweeney Todd); shepherd’s pie; pot pies; hand pies and pasties; pizza; spanakopita; and no doubt more.

(From NOAD on the noun pasty: British a folded pastry case with a savoury filling, typically of seasoned meat and vegetables.)

bon appétit on-line on 7/27/17 had an entertaining piece on 29 savory pies (by Christina Chaey), covering a lot of this territory. Among these were a Swiss Chard and Mushroom Galette and a Leek and Potato Galette with Pistachio Crust — more flat pies, both savory, called galette — and a Caramelized Garlic, Spinach, and Cheddar Tart that I found tempting:

(#2) (photo: Gentl & Hyers) This could easily be varied, for instance by substituting chopped mushrooms for the spinach

I’m not sure why this is called a tart rather than a quiche — but then NOAD treats the category of quiches as a subcategory of flans / tarts:

noun quiche: a baked flan or tart with a savory filling thickened with eggs

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