BigDamnEats: Pie for Pi Day

Happy Pi Day Geeks!

In honor of this wonderfully geeky day, I bring you a delicious pie recipe inspired by Pushing Daisies. I hope you all enjoy it!

Spiced apple and pear pie with gruyere crust



  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 3 tablespoons granulated white sugar
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup of grated gruyere (depending on your preference)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening, cold
  • 12 tablespoons butter, cold and cubed
  • 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup ice water

In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, salt, sugar and gruyere. Add the shortening and break it up with your hands as you start to coat it with the flour. Add the cold butter cubes and work it into the flour with your hands or a pastry cutter. Work quickly, so the butter doesn’t get too soft, until the mixture is crumbly. Add the ice water, a little at a time, until the mixture comes together forming a dough. Bring the dough together into a ball.

When it comes together stop working it otherwise the dough will get over-worked and tough. Divide the dough in half and flatten it slightly to form a disk shape. Wrap each disk in plastic and chill in the refrigerator while you make the filling.



  • 1/2 lemon
  • 3 pounds baking apples, such as Golden Delicious (about 6 apples)
  • 1 1/2 pounds baking pears, such as Bosc (about 3 pears)
  • 2/3 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling on the pie
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • Generous pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • Homeopathic mood enhancers optional (aka “extra vanilla”)

Finely grate the lemon zest and set aside. Peel, core and slice both the apples and pears into 1/2-inch slices. Squeeze the lemon juice over the fruit, then toss fruit with the sugar, cinnamon, ginger, salt and nutmeg.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the fruit and cook, stirring until the sugar dissolves and juices simmer, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, and cook, uncovered, until the fruit softens and the juices evaporate some, about 10 minutes. Evenly mix the flour into the fruit; then cook about a minute more to thicken the juices slightly. Stir in the vanilla and lemon zest. Remove from the heat and cool completely.

To form the pie

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly dust the work surface with flour. Roll a disk of dough into an 11 to 12-inch circle. Transfer the dough to 9-inch glass pie pan, trimming so it hangs about 1/2-inch over the edge of the pan. Fill the crust with the prepared fruit so it mounds slightly in the center. Brush the rim of the crust with some of the egg.

Roll the remaining dough into a 12-inch circle. Transfer the dough onto the rolling pin and unroll it over the fruit so it hangs over the edge of the pie pan by about 1/2-inch. Trim crust if needed, reserving the scraps for decorations or for patching. Fold the top crust edge under the bottom one, then press the edges together to seal. Cut trimmed scraps into designs if desired and set aside. Flute the crust by pressing a finger into the crust against the other hand’s index finger and thumb to make an even impression. Repeat every 1/2 inch around the pie to create a ruffled edge. Refrigerate the pie for at least 20 minutes.

Brush pie with egg and place cut dough designs on top if desired. Brush again and sprinkle with sugar. Cut 6 to 8 small steam vents into the top of the dough. Place pie on a baking sheet and cook for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 375 degrees F. Bake until the crust is golden brown, about 40 to 50 minutes more depending on your oven. If the edges begin to brown too quickly, cover them with aluminum foil.

Enjoy the pie warm with vanilla ice cream on top while watching Pushing Daisies.

Recipe adapted from Paula Deen’s Perfect Pie Crust and Spiced Apple and Pear Pie, both from

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