Pie Therapy

Recipes and ruminations on pie.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Revisiting Raisin Pie - Working with the Master

My mom was in town. What an opportunity to learn from the PIE MASTER! The big question was what pie to make. We discussed our many possibilities - pecan, apple, something wacky. We decided to do sour cream raisin pie.

Why sour cream raisin? When I was about 5 we went to the Amana colonies in Iowa. We were on our way to visit Mark Twains house and we stopped off at an Amana colony restaurant. The Amana's are like the Amish, except a wee bit more liberal. They make, but do no use, the ranges and kitchen equipment of the same name.

I had a tremendous, almost famous, apetite when I was a kid. My parents always let me order from the adult menu. And, I always ordered a desert. At the restaurant and after my lunch, I ordered sour cream raisin pie. My mother commented, "You won't like it." Out of spite, or adventure, I ordered it anyway. I claimed it was a great pie. So, from that time on, my mom tried to make it. She probably tried about 5 versions, but we never hit it.

So, we decided to try it again. The first thing I wanted to make with her was the crust. She is a crust master. But she uses shortening. So we tried her way but with my fat - butter. She added the water all at once and added, 13 T. I couldn't believe it. But the crust came out smooth and rolled EASY. I was impressed.

And then we made the pie. We researched it a bit. And choose a recipe from the Farm Journal book.

Fresno Raisin-Nut Pie
  • Baked 8" pie shell
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 2 T cornstartch
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 t cloves
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1 c sour cream
  • 1 c raisins
  • 2 t lemon juice
  • 1/2 c chopped pecans
  • Meringue with 4 egg whites
Pre bake the pie crust. Roll it out and fork it completely. Bake for 15 minutes at 425. Combine sugar, cornstarch, salt and spices. Blend in 2 egg yolks. Add sour cream, raisins and lemon juice. Cook over moderate heat, stirring constonatly, until mixture thickens. Cool. Stir in pecans. Pour into pie shell. Beat 4 egg whites with 1/4 t cream of tartar and 4 t sugar. Top with meringue. Bake in 350 degree oven for 15 minutes until meringue is browned.

The pie looked beautiful. The inside was pretty good. I think it was pretty close to what I had originally had. It was a little too thick though. Maybe less cooking on the stove top, or more lemon juice. The crust unfortunately was really tough. Bummer, I thought I had found my solution. Water is really the key with butter. Arrrgh, I am still battling with the butter. The next morning the pie tasted better, as seems to be the case often.

The real fun though was making the pie with my mom. She is the pie master.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The 38th Pineapple

Shocking as it might sound, I made a pie for my husband's birthday. My almost two-year-old daughter now says birthday pie, not cake.

I felt kind of guilty because I hadn't really planned a party for him. I had planned a weekend away, but not a real party. And, intended or not, I had felt a little sadness coming from the soon to be 38-year-old. So, we ordered Thai food, and I made a pineapple pie.

I made the Fresh Pineapple Pie recipe, from the Farm Journal's Complete Pie Book. I substituted lime for lemon.

Fresh Pineapple Pie
  • Pastry for 2 crust pie
  • 1 medium pineapple
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 2 T flour
  • 2 T lime juice
  • 1/8 t salt
Cut peeled and cored pineapple in bite sized chunks; you should have 3 c of fruit. Place eggs in a bowl and beat sugar, flour, lime and salt. Turn into pastry lined 9" pan. I did a lattice with a cute little 38 on top.

Bake in hot oven at 425 degrees for 45 minutes or until crust is browned.

The pie turned out fine the first night. Hubby and M-I-L had it with ice cream. I thought that was too much. The ice cream was overwhelming. The next morning it was much better. But I still felt bad about the lack of birthday celebration. It did go well with Thai food.

The one consolation was our employee loved the pie; he is from Ecuador and said it reminded him of pies from there.