Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Happy Pi Day!

My 11 year old informed me afterschool today that tomorrow, March 14, is International Pi Day!  (You know pi. . . . 3.14. . . like you learn about in math class. . . . )  In celebration of this grand event, I announced that we would be eating only round foods for dinner on Wednesday!  The kids decided we should have pizza, salad served in a bowl, and ice cream pie for dessert.  I'm sure we'll tie in a few measurement lessons before we dig in.  The kids are certainly excited about dinner, and I love any kind of dinner celebration!

I tried out the Pioneer Woman's Pizza Crust recipe last week with great success!  I made a few changes to her original recipe, namely I did not let it rest in the refrigerator as she describes.  I just made it a few hours ahead because we had a few last minute changes in our schedule and meal plan.  I let it rest on the counter similar to the artisan bread recipe.  The dough was sticky, but with a little flour on my hands, I was able to turn it into a pizza crust with no problem at all.  The crust was delicious with just the right amount of crunchiness and chewiness to suit our family's tastes.  I love that I did not have to knead the dough as I seem to lack kneading skills. 

Here's the recipe from Pioneer Woman:

Pizza Crust

1 teaspoon Active Dry Or Instant Yeast
4 cups All-purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1.  Sprinkle yeast over 1 1/2 cups warm (not lukewarm) water.
2.  In a mixer, combine flour and salt.

3.  With the mixer running on low speed (with paddle attachment), drizzle in olive oil until combined with flour.
4.  Next, pour in yeast/water mixture and mix until just combined.
5.  Coat a separate mixing bowl with a light drizzle of olive oil, and form the dough into a ball.

The Pioneer Woman states to put the dough into a greased bowl and cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours.  I did not.  I just let mine sit on the counter in a greased bowl covered with a towel.  It still worked.  Not sure if it tasted like Ree Drummond's, but it was still good.

We'll be having our pizzas topped with round pepperonis of course!  I wonder what other round things I can come up with to put on the pizza in honor of International Pi Day!

For dessert, we'll be having one of my easy desserts - ice cream pie.  This is one I have shared with many friends looking for a tasty easy dessert.  The trick to making this one look like something fancy is all in the presentation.  I just drizzle some sort of topping all over the plate artistically like they do at restaurants.  It fools my guests every time.  They think I spent hours and hours making some fancy dessert.  I never tell them this one takes less than 5 minutes to prepare!  

I have made endless variations on this easy ice cream pie.  Some of my favorites are mint chocolate chip in a chocolate crust drizzled with dark chocolate, black raspberry chip in a chocolate crust drizzled with marshmallow, butterfinger in a chocolate crust sprinkles with additional butterfinger candies, prailenes and cream in a graham cracker crust topped with caramel and Heath chips, strawberry cheesecake in a graham cracker crust topped with strawberry syrup. . . the possibilities are endless.

Easy Ice Cream Pie
Graham Cracker Pie Crust (chocolate, regular, low fat, shortbread, store brand, homemade)
1/2 gallon of your favorite ice cream, softened
Ice Cream topping (chocolate, caramel, marshmallow, butterscotch, etc)
whipped cream
cherries or chocolate shavings or sprinkles or something for garnish

1.  Pick your favorite ice cream and topping combination. 
2.  Soften ice cream on the counter for 10 minutes.  (Often I make this right when I come home from the store as the ice cream is just about perfect)
3.  Carefully spoon the softened ice cream into the graham cracker crust.  (Sometimes I add a layer of ice cream topping on the bottom before I put on the ice cream.  Hot fudge works great as a bottom layer)
4.  Cover the pie and freeze for several hours before serving.
5.  Remove from freezer about 10 minutes before you want to serve dessert.
6.  Cut a slice of pie and place on a plate.  Drizzle the top with additional topping and whipped cream and garnish so that it looks like something you'd get from a restaurant.
7.  Serve with a smile.

I'll be sure to post pictures of our Pi Day Celebration!

What round foods will you be serving on your table in celebration of International Pi Day?!

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