If I say the word "pie", what image springs to mind?
For most people, it's a double crusted round pie with a little steam vent in the top crust or a latticed fruit pie. The crust is made of flaky pastry which has a fluted edge, perhaps dusted with sugar. One serving is cut into a wedge-shape that fits nicely onto a silver cake server, and it's eaten either hot or cold with a scoop of ice-cream or a dollop of whipped cream.
If you said the word "pai" to me, the image that immediately pops into my head is a deep rectangular roasting dish half-filled with square pieces of pie, that are quickly disappearing as they are being lifted with an egg spatula onto saucers standing nearby. The bottom layer is like a thick crumbly buttery cookie. Above that is a moist fat layer of fruit and custard. This is topped off with light and fluffy meringue or chantilly cream. Three layers of yumminess. One square of heaven.
When this pai is put in front of me, the custard barely has time to stop jiggling before I've finished it off and taken my saucer back for more. If we've brought some pai home from some event and it's sitting in the refrigerator, then late that same evening, I'll creep into the kitchen, make sure no-one's about, and then eat that pie straight out of the roasting dish with the biggest spoon I can find. I don't even bother turning the kitchen lights on. Just use the light from the refrigerator.
Yes, this is one of those foods that makes a glutton out of me.