Wednesday, March 28, 2012

D.C. Pi(e) Day 2012!

Berry pie and Niva & Patrick's pumpeapple!

This was my fourth year in a row celebrating Pi(e) Day. The past two years we've had celebrations on the Pie-dmont of North Carolina-- last year it was at Johnny's in Carrboro and the year before it was a loverly spring celebration at Celebrity Dairy in Siler City, complete with adorable baby goats.

I knew I wanted to have an event again this year, as a benefit for a D.C. organization, so I pitched it to the diverse and vibrant community-powered radio station, Radio CPR (where, full disclosure, I host a bi-weekly traditional/experimental show), and all the DJs and volunteers were down to bake, DJ, promote, and most importantly, eat.

Amy with her "crack" pie

Front: my pecan sorghum pie & Athena's chocolate-chestnut torte, Back: pecan pie & berry pie

We got a TON of press about the event. It was posted on various pages of the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, DCist, fashion site Refinery29, superb lifestyle blog Panda Head, and ReadySetDC even came over and did a little pre-Pi(e) Day interview with me while I baked. There was, in fact, so much press I started to get worried about having enough pie.

Selina's avocado pie and my pear frangipane tart

Niva and Patrick--proud parents of the pumpeapple!

In the end we had over 25 pies, both sweet and savory, ranging from a grapefruit-ginger meringue to bacon-onion, "crack" pie to vegan tamale, and classic key lime to pineapple-madadamia-coconut. The pie spread even boasted a pumpeapple--a spin-off on the cherpumple, which is a pumpkin pie baked inside of a yellow cake, peach pie baked inside of a white cake, and an apple pie inside of a spice cake, all stacked and frosted together as one giant dessert. Woah! I made a banana cream pie with a peanut crust and salty bourbon caramel (recipe, and it's a damn fine one, coming soon), a pear frangipane tart, two gorgonzola-pear and balsamic honey galettes, and a last-minute pecan sorghum pie.

Pie eaters!

As it turned out, my suspicions were somewhat correct-- in about an hour or so, we had welcomed over 125 people and, despite attempts at a one-slice-at-a-time rule, pretty much every pie plate had been essentially licked clean. More like a Pi(e) Power Hour than a Pi(e) Day. Most everyone I saw was smiling though, if not full of pie, then at least tempted by a bite or two.

After the pie had all but disappeared, we struck up some fiddle tunes for the Pi(e) Walk (walked in circumference 2pi(r), with the prize of a homemade "crack" pie to take home. When the winner was announced, though, she generously announced to the other participants and remaining attendees that she would slice it up and share with everyone.

Malaka selling copies of The Runcible Spoon, a rad D.C. food zine

Fellow Tart Kari with her ginger-grapefruit meringue tart

By the end of the evening, we had raised almost 700 (yes, 700!!) much needed dollars for Radio CPR! It was a lovely community gathering with friendly faces familiar and new on a beauuutiful spring day. We were also part of a network of Pi(e) Day celebrations across the country, in Greensboro, Alabama; Durham, Chapel Hill & Burnsville, North Carolina; and Austin, Texas, who all were celebrating pie, community, and nerdy mathematics for good causes, even if it was just getting together with friends and making some new ones.

You can see more pictures from the event via our rad photographer Jen Mizgata here, and also from TBD, who photographed the event here. They have some great ones of our Pi(e) Walk, a cross section of the pumpeapple, and a hilarious snapshot of folks entering the PEZ.

Me cutting my pecan sorghum pie

Jenn with her bacon onion tart

I'd like to extend a very special thanks to our Pi(e) Day 2012 Baking Team of Kari, Layne, Athena, Peter, Brenda, Selina, Jenn, Yael, Luna, Bent, Bradley, Amy, Betsy, Niva & Patrick. Special thanks also to photographer Jen, DJs Layne, Peter, Selina & Bent, musician Brent, other volunteers Bobbie, Don, Darby, St. Stephen's church for generously providing us with a space, and Amanda for being an amazing co-organizer. And thanks to everyone who came and ate (or tried to) and supported community radio in our nation's capital. Only 351 days until Pi(e) Day 2013!

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