A Slice of Pie….

by —9 February 2016

The tried and true sweet ending (or beginning) to a meal

There is probably no dessert more American than pie. After all, you’ve heard the saying, it’s “as American as apple pie.” It’s a treasure that’s been around for as long as flour has been milled from grain. Mix a little flour with some water to make dough and you have the basic and tasty foundation for a pie. It didn’t, however, start as a dessert. The first offerings, meat pies, provided an easy way to preserve food. That chicken pot pie that stocks many home freezers had its start with our forebears and their need to make provisions last without the assistance of modern day freezers.

When pies started to make an appearance as a dessert, their fillings were items that were readily available from the garden, the harvest or from the larder. Ingredients included buttermilk, sugar, and butter with some spices mixed in for good measure.

So give your family a taste of years gone by with a Savory Chicken Vegetable Pie, a Southern Buttermilk Pie (some think it tastes a bit like crème brûlée), Shaker Sugar Pie, the Pennsylvania Dutch Shoofly Pie (the sweet molasses attracts flies so the baker was probably swatting at them to keep them from the cooling pie) and even a Vinegar Pie.

As you slice up your next pie, serve up a little bit of a history lesson as well. You can share with your family how this American tradition found its way onto tables far and wide.

Enjoy!

 

 

SHAKER SUGAR PIE

~Recipe from Kay Erickson

1 c. firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/3 c. all-purpose flour
2 c. whipping cream
1 t. vanilla extract
2 T. unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
¼ t. grated nutmeg
1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell
DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the pan with the pie shell on a baking sheet. Mix together the sugar and flour in a small bowl. Sprinkle evenly over the bottom of the pie shell. With a whisk, blend together the cream and vanilla. Pour into the shell. Top with the butter pieces. Sprinkle with nutmeg. Cover the edges of the pie crust with strips of aluminum foil. Bake until the filling has thickened but still moves slightly when the pan is shaken, about 65 minutes. Remove the foil with about 20 minutes left of the baking time. Cool pie completely on a rack. Serve at room temperature.
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SOUTHERN BUTTERMILK PIE

~Recipe from Kay Erickson

½ c. unsalted butter, room temperature
2 c. sugar
3 T. all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
1 c. buttermilk
1 ½ t. vanilla extract
1 9-inch unbaked pie shell

DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cream the butter, sugar and flour until light. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the buttermilk and vanilla. Blend well. (The mixture will appear curdled.) Place the pan containing the pie shell on a baking sheet (for ease in handling). Pour the mixture into the unbaked pie shell. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 325 degrees and continue baking for 40 to 45 minutes, until the filling is set and the top is golden brown. Test with a wooden toothpick in the center. Cool on a rack. Serve at room temperature.
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SHOOFLY PIE

~Recipe from Kay Erickson


FILLING
1 egg yolk, beaten well
1/2 c. molasses
1 ½ t. baking soda
3/4 c. boiling water

CRUMB MIXTURE

¾ c. all-purpose flour
½ t. cinnamon
½ t. cloves
½ t. table salt
½ c. light brown sugar
2 T. softened unsalted butter
1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell
DIRECTIONS: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Mix together the baking soda and boiling water and allow to cool. Combine the beaten egg and molasses with the soda and water. Combine the crumb mixture ingredient except the butter. Mix well then stir in the butter, using a fork. Work until it looks like cornmeal. Put the unbaked pie shell on a baking sheet for ease in handling. Place half the crumbs in the bottom of the pie shell. Spoon the molasses mixture carefully over the crumbs, then top with the remaining crumbs. Bake at 400 degrees until the shell begins to brown. Reduce temperature to 325 degrees and bake until the center is set, about 30 minutes. Cook on a rack until room temperature.

 

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SAVORY CHICKEN VEGETABLE PIE

~Recipe from Kay Erickson

 

Pastry sheet for 9-inch 2 crust pie
2 T. unsalted butter
2 T. all-purpose flour
1 t. kosher salt
1/8 t. freshly ground pepper
¼ t. dried whole thyme, crushed
½ c. chicken broth (preferably low sodium)
½ c. half-and-half
2 c. cubed cooked chicken or turkey
1 can (15oz) peas and carrots
1 egg

DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Fit one of the pastry sheets in a 9-inch pie pan, leaving a generous lip of dough hanging over the edge (you may have to roll out the dough a little so it fits the pan and has the extra over the edge). Melt the butter in a large saucepan over low heat.  Blend in the flour, salt, pepper and thyme. Cook over low heat, stirring until the mixture is smooth and bubbly. Remove from heat. Stir in the chicken broth and half-and-half. Heat until boiling, stirring constantly, for one minute. Stir in the chicken (or turkey) and vegetables. Pour into the pastry-lined pie pan. Dampen the edge of the pastry with water and place the remaining crust on top. Trim and turn the edge of the top crust over the bottom one. Seal and flute. Beat the egg for a glaze and brush on the pie’s top. With the tip of a sharp knife cut 4 tiny crosses around the top crust. Cover the edge with 2 or 3 inch strips of aluminum foil to prevent excessive browning. Remove the foil for the last 15 minutes of baking. Place the pie pan on a baking sheet (it will catch any drips). Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown.

 

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