Pie Traditions

I was asked to head up a small-interest group for our ward on cooking. Over the period of a year, we are having a nightly cooking night and a theme for that night. The premise is that each person attending will bring something under that topic for the month however they interpret that topic.

This month was pie.

I have many fond memories of pies. I remember staying up late the night before Thanksgiving with my mom making pies and having them set on the dining room table all waiting to be devoured the next day. We spent time trying to figure out how many of each pie to make and who was doing what. We made real chocolate cream pies and banana cream pies. NEVER that packaged stuff. I am a cream pie snob to this day. My mom made me. I totally blame her (and if you have never had a REAL cream pie, you should. You will become a snob too). One Thanksgiving my aunt Lisa and I took an entire pumpkin pie and sneaked into a closet and ate the entire thing, just the two of us. The first Thanksgiving Jeremy and I were married and I had not yet learned how to juggle, I was making pumpkin pie and dinner all at the same time. I splashed Raspberry Ice Crystal Light into my pumpkin mixture...and then green bean juice. Our eyes got all big and I almost cried. My husband tasted it with his finger and said it tasted fine. We cooked it up anyways and took it to dinner. Neither of us ate that pie. Sorry family. All of my secrets are out. Each summer we would pick rhubarb from our back garden and watch as my mom sugared it and mixed it with strawberries and we had fresh pie for Sunday dinners.

I have a history with pies.

I swear that I was meant to be in another time and place. I have a love for Southern cooking. Pecan pie is my ultimate favorite dessert. I love that crusty, salty top and the caramel custard goodness underneath. I will have you know, I even baked this while wearing a skirt...on a Tuesday. I love skirts. I remember in high school I would wear a skirt just because I felt like it and all day I was being asked why I dressed up. I slowly stopped wearing skirts to school. Sad, huh? Life is different now. I wear skirts 2-3 times a week and I simply don't care. But I digress.

I rounded up my always-wanting-to-help-in-the-kitchen helper. We washed up and away we went.

I, ah-hem, MADE my pie crust (giggle). Okay, maybe I am not THAT domestic. I chose to believe that pie crust and chicken and roast all come packaged in nice little containers at the grocery store. Not from real chickens, cows or from scratch.

I may not be able to make my own pie crust, but I can flute the edge.

I flute a mean edge, if I do say so myself.

When I make pecan pie, I have to toast the pecans. I am not a fan of the raw taste of nuts. To me this gives it a deeper flavor.

While the pecans are toasting, let the helper do her job and stir. There is a lot of stirring involved in pecan pie.

What you shouldn't do however, is talk to Hilary on the phone about some random guy and his comment on a television program that you rarely watch. You may start laughing and gabbing and you may burn your first batch of pecans.


Start again and then dump the pecans in the bottom of the crust. Then that concoction that your helper was making? Dump that in as well. Purists would say to "gently place the pecan halves on the bottom and being careful not to disturb the pecans, pour the custard in." Phooey! I use chopped pecans because I like pecans in every bite and I am the opposite of fussy so I just dump the pecans in the bottom, spread them out and then dump the custard in a swirl around the pan. They float up and are nice and even that way.

I am SO not a purist.

Like so.

Mmmm. I think I shall go have a slice...or a pie.

Pecan Pie

1 9-inch unbaked pie crust
3 eggs
1 cup dark corn syrup
½ cup sugar
¼ cup butter or margarine, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup pecan halves (I use chopped)

Prepare your pie crust with your choice of decorative edge, then preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl with a wire whisk or hand beater, beat eggs well. Beat in corn syrup, sugar, butter or margarine and vanilla until well blended. Arrange pecan halves in a single layer in the bottom of the pie crust. Pour egg mixture over the pecans in the pie crust being careful not to disturb the nuts if using pecan halves, it does not matter if you are using chopped. Bake pie one hour or until knife inserted about one inch from the edge comes out clean. Cool.


Anonymous said...

Oh man!! That looks YUMMY!! I am a southern girl through and through and I LOVE pecan pie!! But I wouldn't touch pumpkin pie with a ten foot pole.

Bilary said...

That was the most adorable post. I think you just shared something else with me that I didn't know about you. I had no idea you snuck into a closet with your aunt and ate a whole pumpkin pie with her. How fun is that!?

And what the heck were we talking about when your pecans burned? I'm sorry. I didn't mean to distract you. Woops.

And just for your imformation, I would eat a piece of your pecan pie. Pat yourself on the back. You made a pecan pie that not only doesn't make me want to barf looking at it, but it actually looks GOOD!

mammagena said...

I am so craving pecan pie now! Thanks a lot! :D I was hoping you would give the recipe as I was drooling- er- reading your post. I also love little helpers in my kitchen. T looks so cute in her apron! Pecan pie- MMMMMmmm

mammagena said...

P.S. I don't think I have ever had a REAL cream pie. Will you share a recipe for Chocolate Cream??? My mom was a Jell-O Chocolate Pie maker.... Poor poor pitiful me! :(

Ryley said...

Seriously.. I have NEVER had even a bite of pecan pie. It's my dad's favorite.. but for some reason I always thought I hated nuts..come to find out I really don't. I should try some sometime.. it loooks so good!

OHHH.. and I second the motion for a "real" cream pie recipe.. pretty pretty please!


Chris, Deb and the Ava Jayne said...

i'm so stoked that you shared the recipe. my MIL favorite pie is pecan. we make our own cream pies too, and yes, they are ridiculously better than store bought.

The Rookie said...

Mmmm. And Tess is just too stinkin' cute.

daiseymae said...

Oh man, I'm so sad I missed that class!

I am glad you shared your pecan recepie and tips though. I'v never toasted the nuts before. I am going to try it though, maybe today. It's a nice cool day. Perfect for pie making.

I'm not a huge fan of cream pies (but Mike is). I do love the taste of the warm homemade filling. It has to be warm the flavor changes when it gets cold. I once ate a piece of warm cream pie and it was pretty good, but nobody else likes it that way

daiseymae said...

P.S. I need a lesson on fluting the edges. My mom never did that. we always just pressed a fork around the edge. yours looks much better.

Anonymous said...

Yum pie....I am drooling.

Picture Perfect said...

Maybe I'll make a pie today...Yum!

Chel said...

oh Tess looks so cute in her apron! So funny about the burnt pecans. You do do a great job with the crust. As to be expected! You are good at all you touch!

Jeremy said...

Those pies were seriously the best Pecan Pies I have ever tasted. Thanks for baking me such good stuff!