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Bicentennial Pie for Pi Day

Jerry Stratton, March 9, 2022

A pie and crust from 1976 for Pi Day. The crust is a coconut crust, and the pie is a whipped orange-gelatin filling. Top it all off with chopped macadamia nuts and you’ve got a pie fit for any holiday.

Servings: 8
Preparation Time: 45 minutes
Review: Bicentennial Cook Book (Jerry@Goodreads)
Review: Garvin County Extension Home-Makers Bicentennial Recipe Book 1976 (Jerry@Goodreads)

Ingredients

  • 1 gelatin packet
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • zest and juice of two oranges
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 2 cups coconut
  • ⅓ cup butter
  • ½ cup chopped macadamia nuts.

Steps

  1. Mix the gelatin and sugar together.
  2. Dissolve in boiling water.
  3. Mix in the juice, zest, and cold water.
  4. Add cream cheese and beat until smooth.
  5. Refrigerate until partially set.
  6. Meanwhile, melt the butter over low heat.
  7. Stir-fry the coconut until lightly browned.
  8. Press the coconut into a pie dish and chill.
  9. Whip the cream and fold into the partially set gelatin.
  10. Pour into the chilled coconut crust.
  11. Chill until firm.
  12. Sprinkle macadamia nuts over top.
Pi Day 2022 banner

Are you ready for Pi Day? If not, here’s a great idea for a gelatin-whipped cream pie in a coconut crust. I’m calling it “bicentennial pie” because I pulled both parts from separate bicentennial cookbooks. It might more appropriately but less imaginatively be called creamy orange pie with macadamia nuts, or Hawaiian pie.

I picked up a couple of neat community cookbooks last year, dedicated to the bicentennial in 1976. The first is the Fruitport (Michigan) Bicentennial Cook Book from the Ladies Auxiliary of the Fruitport, Michigan, VFW and the second is the Garvin County (Oklahoma) Extension Homemakers Bicentennial Recipe Book. They’re both really nice cookbooks. I’m especially fond of the bread-and-butter pickles from the Fruitport book and the herb crackers from the Garvin County book.

Pickles, however, despite the first two letters of their name, are not the subject of Pi Day. Pie is the subject, and I combined two very simple recipes in these books to make a great orange-coconut-macadamia pie. It takes a coconut pie crust from Garvin County, a fluffy orange “salad” from Fruitport, with macadamia nuts sprinkled over the top. I featured this pie in my 2021 Year in Food. It was one of the highlights—food-wise—of the year. I’m a sucker for light, whipped pie fillings.

Creamy Orange Salad

“Creamy Orange” describes this dish very well. “Salad” not so much, but I’m not complaining.

The crust is from Mrs. Ray Duncan of Erin Springs, Oklahoma. The creamy orange filling is from Jean Anderson of Coopersville, Michigan. It’s not meant as a filling, but as a “creamy orange salad”. My guess is that the salad is meant to be eaten with other fresh fruit. It’s certainly wonderful with strawberries, but it’s also wonderful, if decadent, on its own.

It was very much a recipe I wanted to make again, and soon. When I saw the very simple recipe for making a coconut pie crust in the Garvin County book, that was my excuse for making the recipe a second time. It seemed to me that a fluffy orange filling inside a coconut crust would make a great pie. That I had an opened bag of chopped macadamia nuts lying around was the literal topping on the idea.

There’s no baking involved in this pie. Both the filling and the crust are made on the stovetop and then chilled. As you can see in the photos, I did not use food coloring to make it orange. What color it has comes from the fruit. If I’d been making it for a party instead of my own greedy self I might have spruced it up a bit.

If you need to reduce the work involved, you can use a package of orange gelatin in place of the unflavored gelatin, sugar, and orange. Or any flavor you prefer. And you can use whipped topping in place of the whipping cream. The original recipe calls for both of those, but I enjoy whipped cream’s texture and fresh fruit’s flavor more.

Slice of bicentennial pie

I’ve put both of these cookbooks on my shelf next to the community cookbooks from the church group where I grew up. Fruitport actually is near where I grew up, Garvin County is apparently just as rural. Both books have a similar sensibility to them. They’re filled with practical ideas, fun ideas, new ideas, and old standards. And some of the old standards are new to me.

Fruitport Bicentennial Cookbook

I love this cover—it’s what drew my attention to this cookbook in the first place. From what I’ve been able to tell, it’s a stock cover that was used on several community cookbooks.

Garvin County Bicentennial Cookbook

Another great cover. These two cookbooks are “two great tastes that taste great together.”

You can, of course, make this pie in any flavor. Lemon or lime are both obvious variations, of course, but puréed berries or mashed bananas would also work, as should any canned fruit. Or any flavoring extract. Make three pies: one with red berry, one with blue berry, and one with vanilla!

In response to Lemon icebox pie for Pi Day: Are you ready for Pi Day? If you trust your eggs, there is nothing like pies made from beaten egg yolks and egg whites.