Sunday, March 29, 2015

Pi Day: Bayou Goo Pie

Saturdays in high school were spent on the battlefield. Legends were forged and Letterman Jackets were earned one equation at a time at Mu Alpha Theta math competitions across the state of Louisiana. The pressure was enough to snap your perfectly sharpened number two pencil and make you throw your TI-86 across the room (something I saw happen more than once).  The mathletes needed a leader, and as their president I was there to guide the way to glory.  I answered to only one person (aside from Pythagoras), and that was Mrs. Vedros. Whether putting up with a bunch of teenagers randomly serenading her with "You've Lost that Loving Feeling" at the Math State Convention Dance (yeah you wish you could have been there) or giving us moon pies to teach us about the importance of Pi Day, she was always there to make sure math won the day.

Some of the finest Mathletes the state of Louisiana has ever seen: (L to R) Eric, Thienan, Perry "P-Squared", and yours truly holding the massive trophy. I know it's hard to believe, but we were all single when this picture was taken.

Despite having the blog for over three years now, I had never properly celebrated Pi Day (aside from Kevin's write-up of Bumbleberry Pie). As this was the ultimate once in a century Pi Day extending all the way out to four decimal places (3.1415), I was not going to settle for another year of staring longingly at other people's pies on Facebook. I was going to recreate one of the greatest dessert concoctions from the pie Eden known as House of Pies that started it all and make my fellow mathletes proud.

Me in all my glory in high school (far left) receiving my outstanding math student award from Mrs. Vedros. Sadly my killer (and against the Catholic school dress code) side burns cannot be properly admired.

Bayou Goo Pie
Filling adapted from Real Cajun Recipes and Crust from All Recipes
Servings: 1 ~ 28.3" circumference Pie
Time: 20 minutes (plus setting in the fridge overnight or at least 2 hours)

1 1/2 cups finely ground graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup sugar
6 tbsp butter, melted
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Filling and Topping
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
8 oz Cool Whip (separated)
1 (4 oz) box chocolate instant pudding
1 (4 oz) box vanilla instant pudding
2 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup milk chocolate chips (separated)
Cocoa powder, sifted
Amazing graham cracker crust ready in under 15 minutes.  

Calculate the proper dish depth or be "forced" to eat the excess
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
  2. Make the easiest crust ever by mixing the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, butter, and cinnamon together in a bowl.  Press the mix into a 9" pie tin. Bake for 7-10 minutes until golden and crisp.
  3. Let cool to a level greater than or equal to how awesome you were in high school.
  4. Make the first layer by combining the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and half of the cool whip using the whisk attachment of an electric mixer. 
  5. Stir in half the chocolate chips and fill in the first layer of pie.
  6. In a separate bowl, whisk the puddings, milk, and vanilla together. Stir in the chocolate chips, and let set for 5 minutes.
  7. Create a pudding layer on top of the cream cheese layer. Cover and let set over night.
  8. Top with the remaining cool whip and dust on some cocoa powder.
  9. Relive your glory days in math club while enjoying a delightful slice.
The pie should be filled with peaks, like those that we fortunately did not reach in high school.
For being by far the easiest pie to make, this also just may have been the tastiest as it stacked up quite nicely to its House of Pies inspiration. The graham cracker crust was a departure from the standard pecan crust of a Bayou Goo pie, but it did invoke the childhood sensation of eating s'mores. Future attempts could involve using both graham cracker and pecan in the crust at 0.927 and 0.573 cups, respectively, for a beautiful golden ratio achieving the best of all worlds. Resting gloriously above that crust lies the amazing cream cheese and chocolate vanilla layers (reminiscent of Black and White Cupcakes). My only regret (other than not having a kiddie pool filled with it) was that my pie dish was not deep enough to allow for maximum enjoyment of all layers.

Attempts to calculate the rate of consumption were hindered by its exponentially growing nature due to optimal deliciousness.
While enjoying my Pi Day creation, I took some time to think back fondly on my Mu Alpha Theta days. Some of my best high school experiences were those weekends where my fellow square pegs and I got to forget about our lack of sports acumen at a school that best resembled Varsity Blues meets Friday Night Lights and come together to kick some scantron ass. From Thienan's and my attempts to see how many times we could karaoke Sk8er Boi on the bus before even our fellow geeks turned against us (the answer is about 3) to coming in second to what I am still convinced is the world's first sentient robot in FACTORIAL!, a Jeopardy like event at State, thanks to my encyclopedic movie knowledge to Perry and I pushing each other with our rivalry to be the smartest mathlete around driving us to new, mathier heights, I will never forget all the fun times we had just being ourselves. We were nerds, and we loved it. We even have the trophies to prove it.

Next up: Mole Day!

Two Mu Alpha Theta presidents partaking in some Quiz Bowl and most likely answering the question "Who is the most awesome mathlete of them all?".

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