Plus, Google published Ansel’s recipe, so you can make a salted caramel apple pie at home.
If your Google searches feel a bit more culinary today, it’s not a coincidence. In honor of the 30th anniversary of Pi Day—celebrated on March 14 because the number “pi” is often rounded to 3.14—Google teamed up with famed pastry chef and Cronut™ mastermind Dominique Ansel to create a slightly less mathematical “pie” for the tech giant’s daily Google Doodle.
As Google explains, today’s Doodle—that constantly changing image found at the top of Google’s home search page—pays “homage to this well-rounded mathematical constant by representing the pi formula (circumference divided by diameter) using—what else—pie!” Individual apple pie ingredients constitute most of the image, but the “pi” itself is made from a salted caramel apple pie designed by Ansel. And, as an added bonus for pie lovers and bakers, Google has published the pie recipe in the Doodles section of its website.
In a video the shows the pie being made, Ansel says that the relationship between “pie” and “pi” goes beyond simple wordplay. “Baking is very scientific,” he says. “Everything is very precise. And you need to be able to multiply, of course, to do a lot of additions. You need to know about volume and density, as well. There are recipes in our kitchen that are measured to the gram, so it’s very important to follow the recipes.”
Although baking a dessert might sound like it undermines a holiday intended to celebrate the importance of mathematics, it’s pertinent to remember that Larry Shaw—the physicist credited with celebrating the first Pi Day in 1988 at San Francisco’s Exploratorium—had its staff bring in fruit pies as part of those first festivities.
Yes, “pi” might be a mathematical constant. But a social constant is this: if you want people to celebrate something, it helps to offer them a sweet treat.