5 delicious pie recipes for Pi Day

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Pi Day, celebrated on March 14, honors both the mathematical constant and the dessert. Photo by MJ Tangonan/Unsplash

Let us toast the mathematicians and marketing wizards who have transformed March 14 into Pi Day. While they celebrate the neverending mathematical constant π (3.14), we celebrate the exquisite formula of butter, flour, shortening, and fruit (or chocolate and cream, or vegetables and herbs) that becomes pie. Because wherever there's Pi, there's pie. Or at least there should be. These pie recipes, featuring past winners of our Pie Contest and a couple other standouts, will get you ready for the holiday. 

For more inspo, check out Lauren Ko's stunning pies from her book, “Pieometry: Modern Tart Art and Pie Design for the Eye and the Palate.” 

Pssst… KCRW’s Good Food PieFest & Contest is happening once again! This contest features mostly amateur bakers competing to see who can make the best pie. It happens on Sunday, April 28, 2024 at UCLA. Click here to submit a pie. Not baking but want to nosh? RSVP to attend.

1. Evan Kleiman's Apple Pie

It all starts and ends with the apple pie. Photo by Priscilla Du Preez/Unsplash.

Let's start with a classic: Evan Kleiman's fantastic apple pie. It's so good, it was immortalized in an episode of "The Simpsons" a few years ago (Episode #636, to be precise). The episode features Homer Simpson's memories of his mother's apple pie and the recipe belongs to none other than Evan.


  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 10 oz butter
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 egg splash of cream
  • 3 Golden Delicious apples
  • 3 Granny Smith or Pippin apples
  • 3 whatever apples (except Macintosh) 


  1. Combine dry ingredients: Mix flour, salt, sugar, and cinnamon together in a box. This will be your flour mixture. 
  2. Begin the crust: Cut 10 oz of cold butter into 16 pieces. Toss w/flour to coat. Rub butter into the flour mixture with your fingertips or with a pastry cutter. When mixture looks like crumble of different sizes from peas to almonds it is ready for water. 
  3. Add moisture to the crust: Add 1 tbsp vinegar to 6 oz ice cold water and drizzle over the butter/flour mixture. Toss like a salad. Bring the wet mess together, kneading it twice, into a puck (flat ball) and cut in half. Wrap each half in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight (if possible).
  4. Prepare the apples: Peel the apples and cut the flesh off the cores. Cut the apple into 3/8″ slices. Put in bowl. Add brown sugar to taste, cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Toss to mix. Add 3 tbsp flour to thicken the filling and toss to coat the apple slices.
  5. Build your pie: Roll 1 piece of dough out and line 9″ glass pie pan. Fill it with the apples. Roll out the other piece of dough and top the apples with it. Trim the top and bottom crusts together so you can have 1″ overhang. Roll the overhang under so it sits on the lip of the pie pan. Crimp the edge into a pretty design by pinching the dough. Cut 4 symmetrical slits into the top crust. Brush it with beaten egg with a splash of cream.
  6. Bake: Allow pie to bake in a preheated 425-degree oven for 20 minutes. Turn down heat to 375 degrees and bake another 40 minutes or until the apples are tender when poked with a fork.

2. Chicken Pot Pie Galette (aka La Poule au Pot Galette)

Don't forget about savory pies, which are a great way to use leftovers. 
Photo by Jessica Kantak Bailey/Unsplash

Pie doesn't have to be sweet — some of our favorite pies are savory. This recipe, from Allison Brooker, is so good that it won Good Food's 2014 Pie Contest.


(This butter and shortening dough comes from Evan Kleiman's Perfecting the Pie Crust online class)

  • 12 ounces (340 g) all-purpose flour (I used King Arthur)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt 
  • 7 tsp sugar 
  • 7 ounces (200 g) chilled butter, cut into six pieces 
  • 1 ounce shortening (30 g)  (I used Earth Balance vegan shortening sticks)
  • 4 ounces (115 g) very cold water 
  • 1 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar, very cold


  1. Cube shortening and butter and place in freezer for a few minutes
  2. Add vinegar to the water and put in freezer for a few minutes
  3. In a bowl, mix together the flour, salt and sugar. 
  4. Add the shortening, and toss it with the flour mixture. 
  5. Using your fingers, smear the shortening between your thumbs and fingers until almost dissolved. 
  6. Add the butter pieces and toss them with the butter, separating the pieces if they're stuck together. 
  7. Flake the butter into the flour, then smear with your fingers until there is a mixture of almond/walnut-size pieces and pea-size pieces. 
  8. Drizzle the water & vinegar over the butter-flour mixture. Mix with fork.
  9. Dump the mixture on the counter. Use a bench scraper to gather the crumbs into the mass of dough. Use the heel of your hand to smear the mixture away from you one-third at a time.
  10. If the mixture is still dry rather than crumbly, add more water a tablespoonful at a time, sprinkling it over the dough. Gather the dough together with the bench scraper. Repeat again and then again if necessary.
  11. Gather the dough with the bench scraper and form into a puck. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour. Refrigerating overnight is best.


For poaching the chicken

  • 2 pounds of bone-in chicken thighs
  • diced carrots
  • diced celery
  • diced onion
  • diced mushrooms
  • fresh thyme 
  • fresh sage


  • 3 ounces/85 g butter (I used Kerrygold, unsalted)
  • 2 - 3 leeks, white and light green parts only, cut into thin rounds (1 cup/115 g)
  • 10 ounces/330 g fresh crimini & button mushrooms, brushed clean and thinly sliced 
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves + more for garnish
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • Black pepper
  • Fleur de Sel
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten for egg wash


  1. Poach 2 pounds of bone-in chicken thighs with carrots, celery, onions, mushrooms, thyme and sage until cooked through.
  2. Shred the chicken and save the stock for the sauce. Set both aside. You can do these first two steps ahead.
  3. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a medium sauté pan over medium-low heat.
  4. Add the leeks and cook, stirring frequently, until softened but not browned. 
  5. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  6. Add 1 more tablespoon butter to the same pan, add the mushrooms, and raise the heat to high. 
  7. Sprinkle in the salt and cook for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the mushrooms release some of their liquid and begin to dry out in the pan. They should be partially browned and very fragrant. 
  8. Transfer them to another plate and set aside.


  • 2 tbsp butter (2 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (1.1 ounces)
  • 1 cups hot chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup whole milk, warmed
  • 4 tsp dry sherry
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. In the same sauté pan you've been using, melt the butter over medium heat. 
  2. Add the flour and cook until a thick paste forms. Continue stirring for a minute or so.
  3. Add the chicken stock and milk and cook, whisking constantly until thickened, about 3-5 minutes.
  4. Stir in the sherry, sugar, and salt and pepper to taste. Season generously with salt and pepper. (Don't go light on the salt, but taste as you go.).
  5. Keep warm over a very low flame.


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Remove dough from refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature, 10 - 20 minutes.
  3. Roll out the dough into a larger puck. Fold in half and then in half again. Roughly roll 14-inch diameter circle-ish shape, about 1/8-inch thick.
  4. Place dough on parchment paper. Fold in half, and then half again being careful not to crease. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.
  5. Remove dough from refrigerator and unfold. Place dough and parchment onto cookie sheet.
  6. Build the pie filling in layers, placing the filling in the center of the dough and leaving a 3-inch border. 
  7. Place chicken in the middle of the dough forming an even layer. Scatter the thyme and shallot on top. 
  8. Next, add the leeks.
  9. Finally, add the mushrooms.
  10. Using a small measuring cup, pour 2/3 cups of the sauce over the pie filling in a circular motion. Add a healthy grind of pepper over the filling.
  11. Brush the surrounding edges of the dough with egg wash. Fold the outer edges of the dough towards the center, starting at the back and pulling the dough towards you. Continue to form pleats all the way around, turning the dough as you go, forming a lovely galette shape. Leave the center open a bit.
  12. Place pie in freezer for 15 minute. 
  13. Prior to baking, brush the entire outside of the galette with egg wash. Sprinkle center with thyme garnish. Sprinkle the dough lightly with Fleur de Sel.
  14. Bake for 20 minutes and then turn the pie. Bake for 20 minutes more and turn the pie again. Bake for 10-15 minutes more, keeping your eye on the pie.
  15. Typically the pies are done at 50-55 minutes, when the top is beautifully browned and puffy. Do not be concerned if it seems like the bottom of the pie is overcooking.
  16. Cool on the parchment on a baking rack for 10 minutes.
  17. Loosen from parchment paper and slide onto a cutting board. 
  18. Slice and serve or place galette on a plate and bring to the table to slice.

3. Nicole Rucker's Pork & Peas Pie 

Win dinner — not just dessert — with a sumptuous pork and peas pie. Image via photographyfirm/Shutterstock.

In 2012, Pie Contest contestant Nicole Rucker stunned the judges when she won not one, not two, but four ribbons at the event. Her Pork and Peas Pie landed her the ribbon for Best in Show. It helps that Nicole had a lot of time to practice as the former baker and general manager at Gjelina Take Away in Venice. She describes this combination of slow-roasted pork shoulder, pork belly, carrots, chopped apples, and peas as a "scavenged pie." Rucker is now a James Beard-nominated chef, the owner of Fat + Flour in DTLA, and author of the 2019 cookbook "Dappled: Baking Recipes for Fruit Lovers." 


Gjelina's Pie Crust (developed by Nicole Mournian) 

  • 400g cold unsalted butter. I prefer Strauss European Style. 
  • 665g all purpose flour. King Arthur is my choice. 
  • 5g fine sea salt 5 oz cold water 
  • 100g granulated sugar 
  • 1/2 oz white vinegar


  1. First, make sure everything is cold. Mix the water, vinegar and sugar into a syrup and chill. 
  2. Then, pulse the flour, salt and butter in a food processor until it is the size of medium peas. 
  3. Dump this fatty flour out on a work surface, and gather it into a pile. 
  4. Pour in half of the sugar syrup, and start mixing it all together gently. This is messy work. 
  5. Squeeze the dough together and lightly rub the butter peas into the flour. Use the palm of your hand and press against the table gently and smear/rub the dough together. Sprinkle on more of the syrup, keep squeezing and rubbing. Try to work quickly so that the butter does not melt. This is the key to flakiness. 
  6. When the dough comes together in a shaggy ball, I wrap the whole thing in plastic and let it chill in the fridge for an hour. This relaxes the gluten and brings the dough together. 
  7. After that hour, I portion the dough into 14oz balls and roll them out. Usually very thick, depending on the pie. Roughly an 1/4 of an inch. 
  8. Lay the dough into your desired pie plate. I trim only about an ounce of it off once it's in the pie plate. It's a very thick crust.
  9. Chill it for half an hour while you mix your filling.


  • 1/2 lb of roasted pork shoulder, pork butt also works (This is seasoned meat, we season ours with paprika, coriander and black pepper before roasting it.) 
  • 4 oz of cooked pork belly (Ours is braised in stock and aromatics.) 
  • 2 medium carrots, cut into medium sized chunks 
  • 1 cup frozen peas 
  • 1 fuji or Gravenstein apple, cut into medium sized chunks 
  • 1.5 cups of very rich pork stock (The one at Gjelina is literally pork jello. This makes for a nice ingredient because it was a binder in its jelly form and then melted into a gravy.)
  • 2 tbsp flour 
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard 
  • Salt and black pepper to taste 
  • 2 tsp chopped rosemary 
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream (reserve this for the crust) 


  1. Mix everything except the pork belly in a bowl, taste it for salt and pepper. 
  2. Fill the chilled pie crust and dot the top of the filling with 1 inch chunks of pork belly. (I think of the pork belly as butter in this recipe. Mmmm. Pork butter.)
  3. Paint the rim of the crust with heavy cream and put the top crust on. 
  4. Crimp the edges as you like. I prefer to fold mine under the press it into the edge of the plate to seal it. 
  5. Paint the top with heavy cream, sprinkle with some nice flaky salt and a little rosemary. 
  6. Cut a few slits up there for a vent. At this point I put my pies in the freezer for 15 minutes. 
  7. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes and then turn the oven down to 325 degrees for the remainder of the time. It takes about 45 minutes in a convection oven or 1 hour and change in a standing oven. 

4. Austin's Neshoba County Fair Peanut Pie

From "I Am From Here: Stories and Recipes from a Southern Chef"

This peanut and cola pie served at chef Vishwest Bhatt's Mississippi restaurant, Snackbar, is reminiscent of Famers’ Coke, whereby a farmer would add a snack to his beverage to free up a hand to steer the tractor. 
Photo by Angie Mosier

In October 2022, we talked to Vishwesh Bhatt, who was born in Gujarat, India, but has lived and cooked for a long time in Mississippi. Although Bhatt, who won the James Beard Award for Best Chef: South in 2019, defines himself as a Southern chef, he points to the overlaps between Indian and Southern fare. Peanuts are a big one.

"When we went to the movies in India, here you would buy popcorn, there you would buy roasted peanuts," he says. "I have a deep, almost dangerous love of peanuts." This recipe was developed by Austin Agent, the former pastry chef at Snackbar, Bhatt's restaurant in Oxford, Mississippi.

Serves 8


  • 2 (12-​ounce) cans cola
  • 1 (9-​inch) pie crust (store-​bought or homemade, page 101)
  • 1 1/2 cups lightly salted roasted peanuts
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp melted unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper 
  • Salt 
  • Vanilla ice cream, for serving 


  1. Pour the cola into a saucepan on the stove. Wait for the bubbles to subside, then turn the heat to low. Slowly reduce the cola to a syrup, stirring occasionally, 30 - 40 minutes. You want to end up with about 1/2 cup thick syrup. 
  2. Remove the pan from the heat. If you have more than 1/2 cup syrup, reserve the excess for drizzling on top of the finished pie. 
  3. Preheat the oven to 350°F. 
  4. If using homemade pie crust, roll the dough between two sheets of parchment or waxed paper to a 10-​inch circle about 1/8 inch thick. 
  5. Fit the circle into a 9-​inch pie pan. 
  6. Spread the peanuts in an even layer in the bottom of the pie shell. 
  7. In a large mixing bowl, lightly beat the eggs. 
  8. Add the corn syrup, cola syrup, sugar, butter, vanilla, cayenne, and a pinch of salt in a large mixing bowl. Stir well to combine. 
  9. Spoon or gently pour the filling mixture into the pie shell. You want the peanut layer to remain intact at the bottom.
  10. Bake on the center rack of the oven for 60 - 70 minutes, until the top is just set. 
  11. Allow to rest for 20 to 25 minutes. 
  12. To serve, cut the pie in eight slices. 
  13. Drizzle each slice with reserved cola syrup, if you have it, and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

5. Sour Cream Pumpkin Pie (or Tart)

Adapted from "Baking: From My Home to Yours"

You don't have to wait until Thanksgiving to enjoy a pumpkin pie. 
Photo by Kelsey Weinkauf/Unsplash

When pastry chef and cookbook author Dorie Greenspan shared this recipe with us in 2009, she said: "Pumpkin pie and whipped cream are naturals and, if you've tested the pie's doneness with a knife, you might want to serve the whipped cream as a cover-up. I like this pie chilled, but others are fans of it at room temperature. Decide for yourself. Like most pies, this one is best served the day it is made. However, you can make the pie early in the day and keep it refrigerated until needed."

Serves 6-8


  • 1 9-inch single crust made with Good for Almost Everything Pie Dough (see recipe below), partially baked and cooled, or one 9-inch tart shell made with Sweet Tart Dough, partially baked and cooled
  • 2 cups (canned) unsweetened pumpkin puree
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 tbsp dark rum
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Lightly sweetened lightly whipped cream, for topping


  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone baking mat and put the pie plate (or tart pan) on it.
  2. Put all of the filling ingredients in a food processor and process for 2 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice. Alternatively, you can whisk the ingredients together vigorously in a mixing bowl. 
  3. Rap either the work bowl or mixing bowl against the counter to burst any surface bubbles, and pour the filling into the crust.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 300°F and continue to bake for 35 to 45 minutes longer (20 to 25 minutes for a tart), or until a knife inserted close to the center comes out clean. (If you don't want to create a slash in your masterpiece, tap the pan gently—if the custard doesn't jiggle, or only jiggles a teensy bit in the very center, it's done.) 
  5. Transfer the pie (or tart) to a rack and cool to room temperature.