The Pies are Piling Up

As the deadline for the 2010 Pi Day Pie Bake-Off approaches, the entries are stacking up. In addition to the pies we’ve already posted here on Page 3.14, three of our own ScienceBloggers have thrown their hats in the ring. It’s a good thing we don’t actually have the pies here at ScienceBlogs headquarters to judge, because we’d be running out of counter space for them.

Wait a second, what are we saying? We can definitely find space for them if you want to send them to us…

In this next batch we have a One-Hundred-Digit berry pie from Claudette, a Banana Cream pie from Brendan Jinnohara, and an Ordered Pear pie from Deena Prichep. So much fruit pie in one post! Let’s have a look, shall we?

Claudette’s amazing One-Hundred-Digit pie is made with cherries and four different kinds of berries: raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries. The filling and dough are both pretty standard, but Claudette’s pie becomes a standout with the addition at the end of one hundred digits of pi cut out of pie crust! This might have to become part of next year’s bake-off campaign.


Brendan Jinnohara’s Banana Cream pie entry is a serious contender in the Most Photogenic prize category. It’s so pretty we can’t really imagine eating it. Though, we would still like to. He calls his crust a “No Fear Pie Crust,” which sounds encouraging, like we could actually make it. The banana filling contains cinnamon…okay, Brendan, we’re intrigued.


Mostly Foodstuffs blogger Deena Prichep’s Ordered Pear pie features a fractal pattern of pears atop a custardy frangipane filling. Deepa will be the first to point out this might actually be more of a tart than a pie, but as she says, “Pi Day is not about divisions — its about bringing us together around a love of math. And pie.” Well said.

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The 2010 Pi Day Pie Bake-Off Heats Up

Either we set our oven temperature too high or the competition is heating up here in the 2010 Pi Day Pie Bake-Off.

Yesterday we posted Annie Wang’s Archi-meaty pie, Leigh’s Rabbiteye Blueberry Pie, and Stephanie’s “Grown-Up” S’mores Pie with Guinness, and ScienceBloggers James Hrynyshyn and Pamela Ronald posted their own Strawbarb and Swiss chard-Gruyere pies, respectively.

Today we bring you three more: Mareena Wright’s Cauchy’s Coconut Cream Condensation Test Pie, Zinjanthropus’s USO and Banana Pie with Anthropoid Bread Crust, and Nathan Lau’s Chocolate Haupia Pie. We’re starting to wish Pi Day came around more than once a year.

Mareena Wright, an avid reader of Casaubon’s Book, made a coconut cream pie inspired by the Cauchy condensation test. Growing up, coconut cream pies were the standard unit of currency for bet-placing in my house, so all I have to say is, YUM.


Next up is Zinjanthropus’s USO and Banana Pie with Anthropoid Bread Crust. Zinjanthropus studies (and blogs about) human and primate evolution, so it is fitting that this pie takes its inspiration from the foraging habits of early hominids. Zinjanthropus’s post is seriously worth a read, but basically, the pie combines sweet potato and banana in an “anthropoid bread” crust (anthropoid bread is, obviously, a relative of monkey bread). Speaking as an extant primate, I think those foragers were onto something.


And last we have Nathan Lau’s Chocolate Haupia pie. Haupia is a Hawaiian coconut-based dessert, somewhat like pudding. The haupia in this pie is combined with chocolate, which seems like a pretty reasonable way to make something even more delicious than it already sounds. It all gets poured into a macadamia-nut crust, as Nathan helpfully demonstrates with photos on his blog House of Annie.
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Don’t mind if we do…

I Pie, You Pie, We All Pie for Pi Day

The first entries in the ScienceBlogs/Serious Eats 2010 Pi Day Pie Bake-Off are starting to roll in, and it already looks like its going to be difficult to choose come voting day. We probably shouldn’t be writing this post at lunchtime, but here we go anyway with the first three pies:

First, from Annie Wang at frites & fries, the ingeniously titled Archi-meaty pie. Because Archimedes was Greek, the pie itself had to be Greek too, made with lamb, feta, honey, apples and raisins.


Next up is Leigh’s Rabbiteye Blueberry Pie, originally posted on her blog 5 Acres & A Dream. Freshly picked blueberries don’t need much dressing up, and Leigh’s no-fail pie crust recipe makes them shine (or she claims…you be the judge).


And last but not least, Stephanie from 52 Kitchen Adventures sent us her “Grown-Up” S’mores Pie with Guiness. Just like the fireside version, the pie is made with graham crackers, marshmallows and chocolate—plus the beer that puts it squarely in the “for adults” category.


If you think you can beat any (or all) of these pies, check out the 20210 Pi Day Pie Bake-Off page for more details about the contest, and make sure send us your pie by the end of Sunday, March 14! And check back here after that to vote for your favorite pie.


i-8c5ffba9613e0aa1284e396b1c906ff9-piebuzz.jpgTime to preheat your ovens…the second annual Pi Day Pie Bakeoff wants your best creations to celebrate March 14. This year food mecca Serious Eats is our co-sponsor, meaning the prizes have gotten bigger and badder. The Grand Prize winner will receive $314 in warm, flaky cash—irrational change not included. You can also win a Simple as 3.141592 t-shirt from magazine mental_floss. Not bad for a few cups of flour and a sack of apples! But if you really want to win, it’s time to get creative. Last year’s champion Spicy Brittle Bacon Chocolate Pie (or Spicy Pi Bacon Squared) made the most of the fact that “pi and bacon are both miraculous.” And pie-machine Janet Stemwedel incorporated a gingersnap crust and lemon curd filling into one of her eight delicious-looking creations. This year’s contest is open to readers as well as bloggers, so the competition should be fierce! Visit the Pi Day Page for complete rules, categories, prize listings, and how to vote and enter, then check out The Quantum Pontiff and Adventures in Ethics and Science to get your creative juices baking.

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The Bright Side of the Blues

i-58dd0e11c26815241d6f451a39005412-moodbuzz.jpgOn The Frontal Cortex, Jonah Lehrer explores the cognitive consequences of depression and happiness, explaining that the way we feel has a huge impact on the way we think. First, Jonah shares an article he wrote for the New York Times Magazine, in which he says the blues can be “a clarifying force, focusing the mind on its most essential problems.” For the notoriously down-in-the-dumps Charles Darwin, depression “may actually have accelerated the pace of his research, allowing him to withdraw from the world and concentrate entirely on his work.” Jonah answers critiques of his article, writing that “since 1980, the diagnosis of depression has been rapidly increasing across every segment of the population.” Jonah also weighs studies which show depressed people are prone to cognitive deficits, explaining that it’s hard to concentrate on “some artificial lab task” when the mind is wracked with painful thoughts. Finally, Jonah looks at the bright side, writing “while negative moods might promote focused attention and rigorous analysis, there’s good evidence that happiness promotes a more freewheeling kind of information processing.” So chin up, or chin down, keep the wheels turning.

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All About Antibodies

i-486b8126c029ffcb3dfb6a0ae70bda35-bodybuzz.jpgERV familiarizes us with the different “layers” of the immune system, including intrinsic, innate, and adaptive immunity. The last layer makes specific antibodies to recognize pathogens, but in the case of HIV, capable antibodies aren’t enough to stave off the progression of disease. ERV writes, “HIV-1 evolves to escape these antibodies…and your body can’t catch up.” The high mutability of HIV-1 makes for a very plastic envelope, meaning the virus continually shifts shape and evades the watchful eye of the immune system. In another post, ERV explains that antibodies make diseases like Dengue fever more deadly, as “non-neutralizing antibodies attached to viruses cause them to ‘stick’ to cells they normally couldn’t infect.” This phenomenon leads ERV to warn “anything but a ‘perfect’ vaccine could cause more severe disease after exposure.” On Neurotopia, Scicurious tells how inventive researchers made a “cocaine vaccine,” allowing antibodies to bind to chemical agents and keep them from passing into the brain. And on Effect Measure, Revere considers the possibility “abortive rabies” in the case of a girl who had antibodies for the deadly virus but no trace of infection.

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2nd Annual Pi Day Pie Bakeoff!

March 14 is fast approaching…3/14/10. Personally, I can’t wait till 3/14/15, just so we can get a couple more digits in the mix. That will be the Pi Day of the century.

In the meantime, ScienceBlog Overlord Erin Johnson has thrown down the potholder, challenging all our bloggers to concoct the most delicious-sounding and radiant pie in celebration of this irrational day. See last year’s best entries and brush up on the new rules—only 10 days remain!