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Eugenia Cheng Makes Math a Piece of Cake. "It can also be a piece of pie, or custard" — so says a professor and author who spreads the magic of numbers through dessert recipes.

Dr. Cheng pulled from the oven a perfectly baked specimen of what she calls Bach pie, named for the great composer beloved by mathematicians everywhere: an oblong rectangle of creamy dark chocolate studded with banana slices and topped by an Escher-like braid of four glazed pastry plaits that followed divergent trajectories, never quite crisscrossing where you expected them to.

The filling was a clever concatenation — “BAnana added to CHocolate gives you Bach,” Dr. Cheng said. The braiding illustrated the structure of a Bach prelude and the sorts of patterns that knot theorists study “to see how looped up the braids are,” Dr. Cheng said, “and whether you can transform one braid into another by wiggling the different strings.”

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