Happy Half-Tau (π) Day Chocolate Pudding Pie

Most people know today as  ‘pi’ day, celebrated by baking pies.  3.14(and so on) turned into 3-14 (March 14)– clever, right? I’m all about nerdy holidays that involve baked goods. However (and it’s about to get real geeky right here) π isn’t necessarily the best constant to use and while important, is overstated in importance by high school math teachers. In his Tau Manifesto , Michael Hartl (who just happens to be my super smart physicist cousin) lays out why Tau (τ) should be celebrated/used over π.  I happen to agree, and not because he’s my cousin, but because the math makes sense even to me. I promise he’s legit- see? Also, I’ll just take any excuse to throw the Greek alphabet around a bit.

But really, I wanted a break from writing my thesis and decided to make a pie. I didn’t make the dough from scratch (my grandma Dee is shaking her head at me right now, I’m sure) because of said thesis writing, but it’s pretty simple to do in a regular flaky pie crust. If you’re feeling like you love lots of chocolate, get crazy and make an Oreo one. It’s really a simple equation: pudding+crust=pi(e). You can even use Jell-o pudding for the pie and I promise I won’t tell. I will say that this home made pudding is like a jillion times better than any box. It so is.

Chocolate Pudding Pie

From Smitten Kitchen


  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (not more than 60% cacao), finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chilled heavy cream
  • Bittersweet chocolate shavings, sprinkles, whatever for garnish (optional)

Pre-bake a pie crust in a 9in. pan.

Whisk together cornstarch, 1/3 cup sugar, cocoa powder, and salt in a 2-quart heavy saucepan, then gradually whisk in milk.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly, then boil, whisking, two minutes or until mixture thickens. This will take longer than you think- Do not despair.  Remove from heat and whisk in chocolate and vanilla until smooth.

Pour filling into cooled shell and chill until cold, at least two hours. If you want to keep a skin from forming on the top of the filling, press some waxed paper on top.

Just before serving, beat cream with remaining two tablespoons sugar until it just holds soft peaks. Spoon onto pie. Top with sprinkles or some chocolate shavings. Hoard from roommates.


About Wish

A graduate student with two cats and a passion for good food and good conversation, both preferably shared with friends.
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One Response to Happy Half-Tau (π) Day Chocolate Pudding Pie

  1. Jess says:

    Congrats to your cousin on his book! That’s an interesting article. I learned something new today 🙂

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