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Eyes on the Pies – 3.14 Pies from Around the World

25 July 2018

It's everyone's favourite mathematical symbol, a genuine mathematical constant and the number the fits as the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter. Whatever you think of it, everyone loves a slice of π, so much so that the constant even has its own day!

Pi Day is actually globally celebrated on the 14th of March, but on Sunday the 22nd, Pi Approximation Day was celebrated since 22/7 is the common fraction approximation of π.

While our mathematical chops are not quite up to scratch, we do love our travel, and so in celebration of Pi Approximation Day, here is a comprehensive selection of our favourite pies from around the globe. Since it's π Approximation Day we're celebrating, we've only include 3.14 choices, so enjoy our mouth-watering selection.

Shepherd's Pie

Spent a day out with the family in the great British countryside at an idyllic village? Enjoyed some sublime weather until the heavens opened and you are sent in a mad scatter over the fields? Taken refuge in a friendly pub, damp but laughing as the petrichor lingers in the doorway? You can be sure that somewhere deep in the kitchens, there's a shepherd's pie being warmed up for you, crowned with a wreath of mashed potato and a tipple of gravy. As the rain scatters a merry dance across the stained glass windows of the pub, you tuck in. Breaking the potato crust, the smell of minced lamb, mushrooms, tomatoes and herbs rise up with the steam and hot air, drawing you into a classic British feast which conjures childhood memories of days out in the summer holidays.

This humble pie is a national favourite, one that has seduced locals and visitors alike over hundreds of years. The potato's impressive ability to grow just about anywhere resulted in its availability to all classes of society, making it exceptionally popular among the poorer people of the 18th and 19th centuries. The friendly cousin of the Shepherd's pie is the equally delightful cottage pie which makes use of beef instead of lamb as its meat of choice.

Tiropita

Now this little number is a real personal favourite. Hailing from the olive tree shores of Greece, tiropita are wonderful cheese pies, which are essentially just Greek cheese mixed with milk, hidden in a phyllo-style pastry. The lighter tasting cheese is a classic Greek choice, and these pies can be served either piping hot or gently chilled depending on the season. Tiropita actually are far older than the other entrants on this list, tracing its first mentions as far back as the Byzantine occupation of Greece as far back as 600BC, and possibly even further back to the Roman era in 300BC.

If you ever spend time in Greece, do yourself a favour and head to the nearest marketplace. There, among the calls of the shopkeepers, manning fruit and crockery stalls, find yourself a baker and buy a couple of these pies. If you're by the coast, take them down to the seafront and enjoy sublime views across the crisp white buildings and gentle blue ocean.

Apple Pie

'Well you know that Uncle Sam, don'tcha? That guy is about as American as apple pie!'. Well, perhaps not, since this absolute delight of a pudding traces its origins back to 14th century western and northern Europe, specifically Britain, the Netherlands and Sweden. Regardless, the apple pie is an American treasure after it was brought over by colonists, found in motel canteens and drive-ins up and down the good ol' USA. The American version is often seen with criss-cross pastry patterns cut out of the top, and combined with cream or ice cream. It's is widely regard as the comfort food of America, a dish which conjures up a heart-warming image of home, baseball, hot-dogs and an awfully tasty American Dream - one that everyone can get their teeth into.

What can we say about apple pie that hasn't already been said? A pastry covering, sits on top off apples and sugar, occasionally mixed with spices and other ingredients such as cinnamon and figs. Elegant, beautiful and classy in its simplicity and humble in its appearance, the apple pie can be served hot or cold and remains a classic of the pie world.

Moroccan Bisteeya

And now for our mini 0.14 entry on this list, it's the Morrocan Bisteeya! A small sphere of various meats cooked in broths, combined with sweet ingredients like almonds and sugar, the Bisteeya is then all wrapped up in a brittle pastry and served as an appetiser. It's a fascinating pie for sure, and one that mixes a variety of rather confusing textures and tastes into a very distinct and interesting dish.

Naturally, there are thousands of different pie varieties out there, many which are more interesting or tasty than those I have in this 3.14-entry list. Sound off in the comments below if there are any other pies out there which tantalise your taste buds!

And of course, Happy π Approximation Day folks!

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