22 January 2011

Cinnamon Sugar Pie

Sunday is National Pie Day (as proclaimed by the American Pie Council, "the only organization committed to preserving America's pie heritage and promoting American's love affair with pies"). In honor of this heritage-rich, tradition-laden holiday, I'll be making next week's pie and perhaps experimenting with crust recipes. It's my civic duty, after all.

This week's pie is a bit different from the others I've made so far. Cinnamon Sugar Pie comes from a cookbook that I stumbled across whilst on Christmas holiday in Virginia. Mrs. Rowe's Little Book of Southern Pies catalogs some of the traditional pie recipes from a little restaurant in western Virginia. My uncle Butch, who owns the cookbook and recommends the Margarita Pie (or was it the Strawberry Daiquiri Pie?), suggested stopping by the place on our way through, but alas, schedules did not permit an in-person research session.

The recipe looks similar to the Sugar Cream Pie from last week, which is the current reigning champ in our household. The major differences are the addition of eggs and a boatload of spices - our first impression of the filling was 'pumpkin pie without the pumpkin'. It set up rather firm and custard-like, as one would expect from the eggs.

My first meringue! I decided to tackle it by hand rather than break out the KitchenAid. I don't have a copper bowl, but it seemed to go pretty easily anyhow. My arm only ached slightly upon achieving 'stiff peaks'. Further research/experimentation is needed though - the meringue pulled away slightly from the crust upon baking (maybe spread too thin at the edge?) and was very sticky to slice through (too much sugar?).

Anyone else thinking of Ghostbusters right about now?
Twenty minutes later, and I have suntanned Peeps on my pie.

My sous chefs approved of the meringue. And to all those grandparents following along at home, the children suffered no ill effects from consuming raw egg whites.

Animal prints + flowers + polka dots = chic
As noted above, the meringue made for messy slicing - as did the unexpectedly light texture of the filling. It firmed up somewhat upon refrigeration, but the whole thing was more chiffon-y than I expected. It will be interesting to compare this pie to the chiffon pies that I have planned for the summer. The taste was good - nice and spicey from the cinnamon, allspice, and cloves - but the texture was off-putting (I'm not a big fan of chiffon pies). We only got through half the pie, then I ate the meringue off the top and pitched the rest.

Happy National Pie Day! Go make a pie, eat a pie, or stop by my place and have a piece of pie - I need to get rid of it!

Next up: Cookie confusion.

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