Pi Day falls on March 14, or 3.14, which — as we all learned in primary school — is the number for pi. The figure is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, though you’d be forgiven for forgetting that. Pi Day is a great opportunity to marvel at the mathematical constants that appear throughout this big, weird, wonderful world we live in — but it’s an even better day to marvel instead at the kind of pie that comes out of an oven. To celebrate Pi Day, here’s a look at four of the most unusual pies in the world, and where you can travel to find them.
1. Stargazy pie
The traditionally British pastry gets its name from the gape-mouthed sardines that poke up from its top crust: they’re literally gazing at the stars. According to legend, the pie was invented in Mousehole, Cornwall, after the town fisherman set out onto a stormy sea, and came back bearing seven fish, all of which were baked into one large pie for the townspeople to share. These days, the pie typically contains sardines, as well as eggs, potatoes, and bacon, plus English mustard.
Want to up your chances of encountering — and maybe even trying — a stargazy pie? G Adventures offers a number of itineraries to the United Kingdom. Check them out here.
2. Funeral pie
This one tastes way better than it sounds — unless you hate dried fruit. Funeral Pie is a traditionally American Amish dish, often given to a grieving family — but not always. In some Amish communities, it’s also served at weddings. The pie’s origins date back to a time when refrigeration wasn’t readily available, which helps explain its filling: raisins, which spoil much more slowly than fresh fruit.
G Adventures has a number of itineraries in the eastern United States that include visits to Amish communities. Take a look at them here.
3. Avocado pie
The food blog Midcentury Menu has a recipe for Avocado Pie that dates to 1966, and was featured in a recipe booklet published by California avocado growers Calavo. Should you find yourself turned off by the idea of taking a mouthful of guacamole and graham cracker crust, take heed: the pie is sweetened with condensed milk, and flavoured with lime juice and lime rind, making it more like key lime pie than avocado.
Our Camping America’s West tour travels down California’s coast, from Napa Valley to San Diego. Have a look at it — and the rest of our United States itineraries — here.
4. Nesselrode pie
This obscure pie (so obscure we couldn't find a photo of it) has its roots in in the 19th century. According to a 1988 New York Times article, the pie was named after a series of desserts — mainly puddings — created for Count Karl Nesselrode, “the 19th-century Russian diplomat who negotiated the Treaty of Paris after the Crimean War.” The pie — whose filling is made of custard, chestnut cream, candied fruit, currants, and whipped cream, and is sometimes frozen — was an adaptation of those desserts invented in New York by a restaurateur named Hortense Spier; her version, which includes gelatin, makes an appearance in the Larousse Gastronomique. It was a popular dessert in the early half of the 20th century, but fell out of favour until last year, when New York City bakery Peetee’s Pies began serving a limited-time-only version in late autumn.
Thinking of a trip to Russia, the homeland of Nesselrode pie’s namesake? Take a look at our itineraries in the region.