A table with a slice of chocolate midnight pie on a plate.

Best Pi Day Recipe

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Pair Your Pi Day With Chocolate Midnight Pie—and Death Wish Coffee

Why should you never talk to pi? Because she’ll just go on and on forever. 

All pi joking aside, it’s seriously time to celebrate this famous irrational number again! Every year Pi Day falls on March 14 (3/14). To recognize the mathematical constant of 3.14, teachers around the country encourage pie eating contests, pie making contests, pie drawing contests—anything pie—to bring a pi party to the math classroom.  

The idea actually got its start for the first time in San Francisco’s Exploratorium. Since then, it’s been recognized by the US House of Representatives and the United Nations, officially making it a day of celebration around the world!  

A slice of chocolate midnight pie topped with coffee and whipped cream.[Photo Credit: Dex Ezekiel via Unsplash]

Chocolate Midnight Pie Recipe 

Since pi AND pie both share a relationship to the circle—and we’re well beyond sitting in a math classroom, there’s nothing more rational than celebrating Pi Day in our own way. This Chocolate Midnight Pie, with a rich chocolate and coffee filling and topped with a chocolate-infused whipped cream, will pair perfectly with a steaming, hot cup of Death Wish Coffee. Your taste buds will thank you—and you'll have the energy to go back for a second piece. 

  • Prep: 20 minutes  
  • Bake: 45 minutes  
  • Yield: 9” pie, 8 to 12 servings  

Crust Ingredients:  

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour  
  • 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar  
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, heaping 
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into pats  
  • 1/4 teaspoon espresso powder or Instant Coffee, optional but good  
  • 3 to 5 tablespoons milk or cream, half and half, light, heavy or whipping  

Pie Filling Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature  
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar  
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt  
  • 4 large eggs  
  • 1/4 cup cocoa  
  • 2 tablespoons strong brewed coffee or coffee liqueur (i.e., Kahlua)  
  • 1 tablespoon cold milk or cream, half and half, light, heavy or whipping 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract  
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder or instant coffee, optional for depth of flavor  
  • 2 tablespoons yellow or white cornmeal  
  • 2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips or bittersweet chocolate chips  

*Frangelico (hazelnut), Amaretto (almond), Grand Marnier (orange) or Framboise (raspberry) are all tasty substitutes for the coffee liqueur.  

Crust Instructions: 

  1. Stir together the flour, sugar and salt.  
  2. Work the butter into the dry ingredients (using your fingers, a pastry blender, fork or a mixer) until the dough is unevenly crumbly.  
  3. Dissolve the espresso powder or instant coffee in 1 tablespoon of the milk. Beginning with the tablespoon of espresso milk, sprinkle up to 5 tablespoons (or more, if necessary) of milk into the dry ingredients, continuing to mix until the dough is cohesive. Grab a handful; if it holds together and doesn't seem at all dry or crumbly, you’ve added enough liquid.  
  4. Shape the dough into a disk (like a wheel). Roll its edges along a floured work surface to smooth them out. Pat the disk until it's about 1" thick, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (or overnight).  
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Allow it to warm a bit and become flexible for about 15 to 30 minutes.  
  6. Flour your work surface and roll the dough into a 12" circle. Transfer the dough to a regular (not deep-dish) 9" pie pan that's at least 1 1/4" deep. Trim and crimp the edges. Place the crust in the refrigerator to chill while preparing the filling.   

Pie Filling Instructions:   

  1. Beat together the butter, sugar and salt until smooth.  
  2. Add the eggs one at a time, beating slowly but thoroughly after each addition; combine them with the butter and sugar, but don’t beat in a lot of air.  
  3. Stir in the cocoa, coffee (or liqueur), milk and vanilla.  
  4. Use a food processor (mini, if you have one) to grind together the espresso powder or instant coffee, cornmeal and chocolate chips. Add to the batter and pour into the crust.  
  5. Bake the pie for 45 minutes, adding a crust shield after 20 minutes. The middle may look soft, but if the temperature has reached 165 F right in the center, the pie is done. Note: If you're baking in a stoneware or glass pan, the baking time will likely be a bit longer. Go by how the pie looks, not by your timer.  
  6. Remove the pie from the oven, cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate overnight before serving.  
  7. Serve each slice topped with a layer of whipped cream and a sprinkle of chocolate curls, if desired.  

 Grim Reaper Pro Tips

  • Don’t panic when the pie looks more like a liquid when you pull it out of the oven; an overnight rest in the refrigerator solidifies it and gives all the flavors a chance to blend.  
  • Plain whipped cream will complement the pie just fine, but if you believe more chocolate is better, try this: Whisk together 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder or instant coffee, 2 tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa, 1 tablespoon black cocoa and 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar in a medium heatproof bowl. Bring 1 1/4 cups heavy cream to a simmer and pour over the mixture, whisking until smooth. Stir 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and chill thoroughly before whipping. (If you don't have black cocoa, simply substitute additional Dutch-process.)  

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