When you think about pie, do you think of round pies cut into triangular wedges? Not if you’re Dan Pashman. He’s the host of WNYC’s The Sporkful podcast and he is solidly in the square pie camp. Listen as he explains why in the first installment of our 2016 Piecast or watch his “Should Pie Be Square Instead of Round” video.
While most of the “Good Food” team is happy to eat any kind of pie, there are some square pie unbelievers in our crew. So Abbie and I decided to do a circular-square pie taste test to get to the bottom of the debate. (It goes without saying this was also a shameless excuse to eat pie.) I nudged Evan into the kitchen and she finally emerged with square and round versions of her show-stopping Cherry Tomato Pie.
When Evan brought the pies into KCRW, they looked and smelled delicious. The staff was drooling. But they were not allowed to dig in! Yet. As if this were a National Science Foundation research study, I took the pies outside into the bright light of day. As bystanders looked on, I whipped out a ruler and made quick measurements. Both pie pans Evan used for her baking were 8 inches at their widest points. One was glass, the other metal.
It was lunchtime though and I was starving. The golden all-butter crusts of both pies were seductive and the smells of melted gruyere and hot sweet cherry red and yellow tomatoes proved no match for my willpower and grumbling stomach. “Jackie, focus!” I said to myself. “Evan didn’t do all this hard work so you can throw it all away because you can’t control yourself.”
But after scribbling down a few notes, I lost my wits and dug into the square pie, bypassing the geometry I had learned in school and even forgetting Dan’s tic-tac-toe and Union Jack flag suggestions for ways to cut the pie. Instead, I quartered the pie into four equal pieces because I was insatiably greedy and wanted a huge portion. (The NSF would have taken away all my funding; I forgot this was supposed to be science!)
Both slices were rich, tangy and delicious. The crust truly shined in square form though, mainly because there are no corners in a circle. The #crispycrustcorner in the square pie concentrates the buttery and cheesy goodness of Evan’s pie crust while the sturdy walls of the square pie are the perfect vessel for delivering delicate chunks of tomato to your face. The square pie also shows off the diversity of the pie’s textures, from soft to densely flakey, and it’s an exponentially more exciting mouth adventure than a bite of uniform round pie.
That’s my two cents! If you do the taste test on your own, let me know how it pans out. Slab pies and handpies, I am coming for you next!
PS: If I want uniform textures in my desserts, I will just eat cake!
PPS: If you actually wanted math or science in this blog, the square of pi is 9.869