Thursday, March 10, 2011

Mini-Muffin Tin Pudding Pies for Pi Day- Pie in the Sky - Read Along with Me

Pi Day is almost here!  How will you be celebrating?

One of my hesitations with doing a month long Read-Along is that Pi Day falls smack dab in the middle of it. You'll have to bare with me as I include a couple Pi Day posts leading up to the big case you want to celebrate too. Don't worry, though, I'll include a book for the Read-Along...this time though, the book will come at the end of the post.
For those of you who are not part of a family of math/science nerds...Pi Day is March 14th or 3-14...which is as close as a date can get to 3.14 which is the decimal approximation of the number pi.

If your head is already swimming with all this...don't worry...these directions will work to make a non-mathematical and equally delicious version too.

I used to celebrate Pi Day with my students in my former life as a math teacher as a way to have an extra fun day in math, and now we celebrate it at home most years.  Fortunately, even though our friends usually think we're a little weird for celebrating Pi Day, they're more than happy to come over and share a little pie with us.

This year, since Firecracker is in school, I'll be going in to celebrate it with her class.  (I'm sure her teacher either rolled her eyes or laughed when she got my email offering to help them celebrate Pi-Day.)  As part of the celebration, I wanted to come up with a special snack that would be easy to serve and settled on mini pudding pies.  Yesterday was the test run to make sure they would work the way I was hoping.  You're probably not shocked to hear that I'm not the first person to think of making mini-pies in muffin tins, but I didn't find any guidance for making mini-baked pie shells online, so I used the regular directions from my cookbook and I'll share with you how it went.

My recipe for a double crust pie was enough for about 15 mini-pies.  Use whatever recipe you like...mine isn't anything special, so I didn't include the recipe itself.

You want to roll the crust out pretty thin.  I let the kids roll it out, and then I rolled it out more.  I thought I had it thin, but will do it even thinner next time because the crust expands as it bakes.

We used a large, washed out mayonaisse jar to cut out circles.

Then we pressed it into the muffin tins.  (You do NOT need to grease the muffin tin.)

It may be helpful to remove a small triangle of dough like this so that there is less overlapping dough.

Poke the bottom and sides of the crust well with a fork.  This will prevent bubbles from forming in the crust.

When I bake larger pie shells, I cover them with aluminum foil for the first half of the cooking time, but I skipped that with the small ones and they turned out fine.

Bake in an oven that's been preheated to 450 degrees for 10-15 minutes, depending on the thickness of your crust.

Then we mixed up two kinds of pudding.  After the crusts had cooled, we filled them pudding.  I put some of the extra pudding into sandwich sized ziploc bags and cut the corner off. 

Then I used the bags to pipe a different color of pudding on to make the pi symbol.  I have also done this with cool-whip and had success.

As an alternate way to decorate them, you can use a knife to cut a pi symbol out of extra crust, bake them on a cookie sheet, and then add them on top.  (This pie was a bit larger, but still mini...the kids have a "real" mini pie pan with their play kitchen toys.)

And it was driving the kids NUTS to have to wait for them to be decorated.  They didn't care what they looked like; they just wanted to EAT them.

They passed the taste test with flying colors.
And the easy to make test (especially if I make the next batch without the extra sets of helping hands.)  They would be SUPER easy to make if you used store-bought crust...but I'm too cheap.

If you were here, we'd share one.

And a book as promised.  I really should have planned ahead more and had some math books to share, but we already had Pie in the Sky by Lois Ehlert borrowed from the library. 

If you're not familiar with Lois Ehlert's books, you need to be.  We've loved nearly all of her books that we've managed to get our hands on.  (You might recall when we read Leaf Man last fall.)  Her illustrations are bold and unique, and many of her books have directions for accompanying activities.  (This one has a cherry pie recipe.)  They are also fairly easy to read, so that Firecracker can read many of them without help.

In this book, the family as moved into a new house.  The child's father has told her they'll get pie from their tree, and they watch the tree through the winter, spring, and summer until they're finally able to make a cherry it's a great spring-time book to read too.

***Stayed tuned tomorrow in the late afternoon Click here for some kindergarten appropriate ways to celebrate Pi-Day (meaning fun circle activities since the number pi is a bit advanced for kindergarten.)

For another great seasons book that involves pie, you can see my post about The Apple Pie Tree here.

And you can find my favorite coconut cream pie recipe here.

And finally, if you love math enough that you might actually celebrate Pi Day with your kids...then you've got to check out Boutique Academia.  She has a Pi necklace that's beautiful.

If you're just now joining us, be sure to visit our Read-Along Archives to see the books we've already read.

Please show my sponsors some love...

Hedwig Necklace from Pieces by Polly
Anatomical Heart Pendant from Boutique Academia
Mockingjay Necklace from Boutique Academia
Modern Black and Gold Hexies Baby Quilt from Pieces by Polly


  1. I *used* to be a science teacher so I'm a fan of Pi day and Mole Day.....= )

  2. Hooray for Pie Day! I mean Pi Day!

  3. pi day is a non-negotiable. i'm planning a complete math-fiction book day for the 14th, with... naturally... pi(e)! excellent post, and how awesome are you for having it up early, so people can plan. :)

  4. We're celebrating this year with bleach tshirts, PInapple, pizza Pi(e), a pi song and more! So glad I'm not the only one! Looking forward to next post!

  5. I LOVE Pi Day! I've been trying to find a fun little treat that I could bring into the office, and I think these will be a big hit! (Even with those who think I'm nuts for being so excited about Pi Day...)

  6. Ahhh, how cute! My kids are so into math...they'd love this.

  7. I am a high school math teacher and we are celebrating Pi Day! I had the kids sign up and I can't wait to see what they end up bringing on Monday! Glad to hear other people celebrate it too! I like the idea of having friends over also! Happy Pi Day!

  8. Perfect way to celebrate Pi Day!

  9. I don't think you could have done better - to link your "mini pie" to Pie in the Sky book! Love the idea, can't wait to make some mini pies of our own.

  10. LOVE the mini pie! Happy Pi Day! You can never start too young :)
    thanks so much for linking up to handmade tuesdays @ ladybug blessings

  11. Thank you for the fabulous idea! (OK several I gather from here on a regular basis) You do such fun things with your cute kids. If you would like to check out our Pi Day activity inspired by this post you can find it here:

  12. So cute, my kids love the Pi symbol! I invite you to link up any & all of your delightful creations to The Homespun Bake Shop @ The Tattered Tag. It's a great new place for delicious inspiration. I also host a fun blog bash K.I.S.S. Happy to be a new follower :)

    Drop by The Tattered Tag

  13. haha me and my husband celebrated pi day!

  14. Those look so yummy! I've done mini apple pies and mini cherry pies, but hadn't thought about using pudding!

  15. Visiting from Sugar Bee's linky party.

    LOVE the idea for mini pies! And also, happy pi day (a day late). :)

  16. Thank you for sharing this at the K.I.S.S. blog bash. Hope you don't mind, I am linking this up to my new page The Homespun Bake Shop @ The Tattered Tag. Please link up more of your yummy creations, it is a great place to share & find delicious inspiration.

    Drop by The Tattered Tag

  17. Great idea! My son is a senior in high school and has to take a Pi treat next week. This is perfect!!


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