Nowadays, pie is the huge slab pie of our Cape Cod beach week or the hand pies of my dreams. (Portable pie?!? That is fantastic.)
But the first pie I ever tasted, and, therefore, the pie I thought of when I realized today was PI Day, was the Entenmann’s coconut custard pie. On sale days, Mom would buy one raspberry danish twist and one pie. I’ve never been a raspberry fan (I ate it anyway, but not with joy) but I loved that pie. Dad loved it too and I watched him cut himself a fat slice first. A smaller one for me. Altogether two mornings worth of pie. He’d have sweet espresso, two cigarettes and the slab of pie while I hunched over the comics with my slice. I ate the crust first. And left the custard part for a last cold, eggy bite.
Today was PI Day and snowing in NYC so I decided on a whim to look for a copycat recipe. I actually had exactly three eggs and a can of condensed milk that had expired in December. (Nothing canned ever really expires.) Also, (small voice) frozen pie dough. Trader Joe’s. It’s good.
The Eagle Brand Coconut Custard Pie recipe was straightforward but I made a few changes. First, I decided to portion control with 8 little pies. Also, I substituted coffee syrup for the vanilla extract. Coffee syrup is a reduction of black coffee and cane sugar and I’m always looking for reasons to use it. I was worried that I couldn’t control the sugar in the pie and it would be tooth achingly sweet, but, I went with it anyway.
I had half as much leftover custard because 8 small pies need less filling than one 9-inch pie. But, overall it was tasty. Sweet but not cloying.
Dad doesn’t smoke anymore but he did gobble up two pies. I made him smile so I did too.
Happy PI Day. Love is irrational too.