Pie is a constant in my life

For the 2010 Pi day bakeoff, I baked a Swiss chard-Gruyere pie.



Shown here is the backdrop to our garden:a mural on the side of our barn, painted with California poppies, rice plants, sunflowers and (look closely) a red double helix. Artist: Jim McCall, Elastic Media.


Here is the recipe:

First, gather as many ingredients as you can from your garden. In our garden, I found multi-colored swiss chard, Kale, chives, thyme and parsley.



Next, prepare the crust:

1 cup barley flour
2 cups white flour
1 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup unsalted margarine, frozen
grated rind of 1 lemon
1/2-3/4 c iced water


Measure flours and salt into a Cuisinart fitted with a steel blade. Mix briefly. Add in diced butter and margarine. Chop until mixture resembles consistency of cornmeal. Remove from cuisinart and mix in the water an lemon rind with a fork. Shape into one large ball and one small ball. Refrigerate for 20 minutes or so.

Roll out chilled dough on floured surface, in between 2 floured sheets of waxed paper. Place larger crust into a pie pan with a circumference of 28.3 inches (r=4.5 inches). Layer the rest of the cheese on the base. Trim away extra crust. Flute the edges.


Next prepare the filling:

2 TB olive oil
2 Tb butter
1/2 c onion, finely chopped
2 TB fresh chives, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, smashed and then finely chopped
 6 cups multi-colored swiss chard, chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

5 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup half and half
3 TB fresh parsley
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
pinch of thyme
1.5 cups grated gruyere



Melt butter and oil in skillet. Add in onion, chives and garlic. Cook over medium heat until browned. Add in chard and cook until tasty. Add salt and pepper to taste.

In a separate bowl, blend eggs together. Stir in milk, half and half, parsley, thyme and 1/2 of the gruyere. Mix in cooled vegetable mixture.

Add filling to prepared crust. Decorate the top with a strip of dough representing the radius and the symbol for pi.

Bake in a preheated oven (425 degree F) for 25 minutes. Then cover with foil, reduce heat to 350 and cook until filling is cooked through (another 30 minutes or so).

Remove from oven, cool slightly and serve up your pi.

Variation: use milk instead of Half and Half. use other vegetables from your garden instead of chard and kale. Broccoli is good, too!

This post is dedicated to the memory of my uncle Emil Grosswaldi-ae93d6b99f5734a576c2a3efc1dec3aa-225px-Emil_Grosswald_MFO.jpg, a Romanian-American mathematician who worked primarily in number theory. 


  1. #1 Chris
    March 17, 2010

    Kind of scary for someone who is gluten, lactose and egg intollerant, but nice presentation, and the garden is rewarding, I am sure. I really miss my garden! 🙂

  2. #2 Satomi
    March 16, 2010

    Hi, Pam! I miss you and your families so much!
    I just wonder..did your lovely ‘rice-eaters’ eat your pie?!
    Love from Japan.

  3. #3 Nate @ House of Annie
    March 16, 2010

    Hi, came over from the ScienceBlogs Pi Day roundups.

    I love that mural in your garden! Bet it makes the gardening work that much more enjoyable.

    Since you’re using ingredients from your garden, would you like to enter your post in our Grow Your Own recipe roundup this month? Full details at


  4. #4 Hinemoana
    March 15, 2010

    Oh, your recipe makes me wish I had an oven! Stupid student accommodations!

    Mmm… broccoli pie…

  5. #5 Pam Ronald
    March 13, 2010

    Blogging, of course, is a ridiculous activity. There are so many other things that need to be done. So when I receive a comment like this, I keep on blogging.


  6. #6 Michelle B
    March 13, 2010

    Fantastic recipe. You are one of my favorite bloggers. Like the others I enjoy so much, you weave science, art, and daily routines beautifully.

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