05 January 2012

Back in the Saddle

Ah! A new year and a new attempt to maintain a blog. Let's see if we get past May this time...

We're off to a good start, with two pies at once (and our first savory "pie"). Friends of ours at church recently had their first child and we volunteered to bring them dinner during the first week their daughter was home. This couple was the grateful recipient of a number of our pies last year (including the disastrous Grimace Pie), so I figured we'd take them a "pie" supper as a little wink-wink chuckle.

03 January 2012

2012 Pie Resolution

cross-posted from my personal blog Tro Creideamh - one in a series of posts about 2012 resolutions

Last year, I started a project intended to bake at least one pie a week for the year. I got through about April or so, when a month-long illness knocked my plans awry. After I got back into it, I decided that I liked baking pies better than I liked blogging about baking pies, so the blog posts stopped. I didn't make my goal of a pie a week, but I certainly did learn how to make a pie and I've discovered some winner recipes.

I still want to explore pies, but I think a more relaxed goal is in order. In 2012, I will bake a new pie every month and hopefully blog about the experience. I've put together a list, primarily based on pies I didn't get to last year.
  • January - Nutmeg Pie
  • February - Oatmeal Butterscotch Pie
  • March - Maple Pecan Pie
  • April - All-Rhubarb Pie (perhaps May based on availability)
  • May - Shoofly Pie
  • June - Sweet-Tart Lemon Pie
  • July - Ultimate Four-Cherry Pie
  • August - Creamsicle Pie
  • September - Black Bottom Ricotta Pie
  • October - Dried Cranberry Walnut Pie
  • November - Spiced Pumpkin Indian Pudding Pie
  • December - Eggnog Chiffon Pie
Here's to more pie in 2012!

14 May 2011

Pine Nut Pie

This will be a brief post. While this week's pie is amazingly good--and amazingly, not that bad for you, relatively speaking--I have a Mississippi River bargeful of other things to get done tonight. And to top it all off, I'm nodding off at the keyboard.

Pine nut pie. It's nuts on top of a sweet, slightly gooey filling, so kinda like pecan pie, but totally different. My wife strongly dislikes pecan pie. I had to sacrifice and eat the last piece of Pine Nut Pie because her self-control (and mine too, truthfully) was stretched to the limit.

The nuts come out soft and don't carry much flavor (not that pine nuts often do, in my experience), but the texture is appealing. The filling includes brown sugar, corn syrup, eggs, and flour so it comes off more solid than your standard pecan pie. "Nougat-y" was the wife's comment on the filling.

The recipe for Pine Nut Pie comes from Ken Haedrich's book Pie and I strongly suggest you go and look it up. Depending on your current household economy, you may want to hold off the baking, though, unless you find pine nuts for a decent price. A cup of pine nuts set me back about $11, but admittedly I didn't go hunting for a better price very diligently. I will, however, remember the recipe for the filling and I am looking forward to trying it with other nuts (walnuts, sunflower seeds?, pepitas?) in the future. Maybe even pecans.

07 May 2011

Tar Heel Pie

I'm told that, this weekend, there's some type of equine event down in the Bluegrass State. And that said event has inspired a range of tasty concoctions and confections. While I'm all for mint juleps, this is a pie blog, after all.

When I started this journey, one of the things I wanted to do was to try out some of the pies I had heard of before, but which I had never seen or tasted - Chess Pie, Derby Pie, etc. Going through recipe books, though, I didn't come across any directions for Derby Pie. This week's Tar Heel Pie is apparently the North Carolina cousin of Derby Pie, however, so I'll count that as close enough.

The web abounds with recipes for this pie, which are all pretty much the same. I cribbed my recipe from Mrs. Rowe's Little Book of Southern Pies, but just search for "Tar Heel Pie" and you'll find the right thing. Make sure to include the pecans!

The pie is effectively a chewy brownie in a pie shell. Don't overcook it or you'll lose the delicious not-quite-cooked gooeyness that is the hallmark of an excellent brownie. This is a very rich pie - skinny slices are the order of the day. The pecans can screw up your neat slices if you're trying too hard, but just go with it - the taste doesn't change. I would recommend serving a small slice of pie, warm, with a large scoop of vanilla ice cream and a cup of coffee.

On a side note, I will try my best to get back on the blogging horse. The month of April threw me a bit - allergies moved in for about three and a half weeks and took over my life. I knew I was getting better when I started getting the piemaking itch back!

09 April 2011

Like Virginia Diner's Peanut Pie

Yes, you read that right. Peanut pie. Not peanut butter pie. Peanut pie. As described in Ken Haedrich's account of the owner of Virginia Diner, "like a pecan pie, only better." I'm not entirely sure I agree with the 'better' part, but Peanut Pie is certainly like a pecan pie made with groundnuts instead.

The story behind the name for this pie derives from that age-old practice of never revealing the secret recipe. Haedrich wanted to get the recipe for Virginia Diner's peanut pie, but was stonewalled and instead referred to a peanut promoter's website, where he found this recipe. Hence, this pie being "like" the Diner's version.

When putting this all together, it looks like nothing so much as liquid peanut brittle - not a bad thing at all! Chopped peanuts float in a sea of dark corn syrup, eggs, and melted butter, which all gets upended into a pie shell. I had problems with my blind-baking foil sticking to the crust, and I ended up with the filling leaking through and cementing the pie to the plate. That's why the slices are so messy, but it all tastes the same!

A la fin du jour, sign me up for a piece of pecan pie over peanut pie. I am certainly a fan of a good Virginia peanut, but in a pie, the peanutty flavor is a bit too bold for me. If you really <3 peanuts, I encourage you to try this pie. Haedrich suggests serving with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and Warm Mocha Sauce (scroll to the end for recipe), which might just tip the scales in favor of the Peanut Pie, but then again, the mocha sauce would make file folders taste good.