29 January 2011

Brown Sugar Pie from the Attic

Our second pie from the venerable Mrs. Rowe: Brown Sugar Pie from the Attic. The name apparently refers to the location of the trove in which the recipe was found. Whose attic it was I do not know, but he or she will not see me stopping here to sample this amazingly delicious pie. (Sorry Mr. Frost!)

We just call it Brown Sugar Pie around here - a rose by any other name, and all that, you know. As I mentioned yesterday I could call it Shoe Leather Pie and Isaac would still scarf it down.
Cream together 1c brown sugar and 1 stick butter. Stir in 3T AP flour, a pinch of salt, ¼c sweetened condensed milk, 2 eggs, and 1t vanilla extract. Blend by hand until smooth, pour into a parbaked pie shell, then bake at 350° for 45 minutes. Cool ½ hour on a wire rack; serve immediately.

Upon reading this recipe, I was surprised at the first instruction. Cream butter and sugar? That's cookies, right?

In a word, yes. And the result of this step does look like cookie dough.

Add chocolate chips and stop here, if desired.
As a side note, I was out of unsalted butter. I used salted instead, left out the pinch of salt called for, and the results seemed fine.

Next, add in everything else and combine until smooth. Have patience, and add things one at a time - they incorporate better that way.

...although mixing the milk and vanilla doesn't hurt anything
Here's a quandary: the recipe calls for only a quarter-cup of condensed milk, but condensed milk comes in 14-ounce cans. I offer two options - either Vietnamese coffee (or a reasonable facsimile thereof- I wish I had a proper filter but my Keurig and a strong K-cup are passable) or make more Brown Sugar Pies to share!

Even with the relatively small amount of milk, the completed filling has a pronounced condensed milk flavor. The filling seemed scant for my 9" pie plate, and my crust was certainly taller than it needed to be. Next time, I'll build up the crust even with the walls of the plate and let it go at that.

While we're on the subject of crust, I'll confess that I used a boxed crust again this week. For last week, it didn't seem to matter much, but this time, the flavor was a bit flat. Next time I make Brown Sugar Pie (because there will be a next time), I'll also make the crust from scratch - perhaps with a nutty pastry crust.

This pie cooks up dark, but don't worry - it tastes wonderful! Test for doneness with a pick at the center: if it's clean, pull the pie out. The flavor is very like a nutless pecan pie; Tiffany even mentioned that a handful of crushed pecans added on top just before baking would be good. She's not a pecan pie fan, but the texture of this filling is firmer than your typical pecan pie.

It's hard to wait to serve this, but a half-hour on a wire rack will firm up the center and keep your palate from being scalded by molten sugar. I think the flavor is best while it's still a little warm. Refrigeration compressed the pie and muted the richness; 30 seconds in the microwave mostly revived a slice, but it still wasn't quite there.

This is post-fridge. Denser, but still worth eating.
I also recommend serving this in slightly smaller pieces - probably 10 or so from a 9" pie. Smaller pieces tend to lose structural integrity; larger pieces will completely wreck your diet.

Next time: "A monument to middle-American cuisine"

No comments:

Post a Comment