Saturday, January 30, 2010

On the 'Origin of Pies and the Making of Pie Plates'

Thanks to Shannon (pictured in the post below) for this fascinating New York Times article from August 7, 1904, which discusses the first American pies, pie for breakfast, and colonial pie plates.
Click to enlarge.

Monday, January 25, 2010

North Carolina Peanut Pie

I had some peanuts left over from a camping trip, and got to thinkin'...peanut pie?! A quick google search produced this recipe, from Scratch Bakery in next-door Durham. I didn't have Lyle's Golden Syrup, so I substituted molasses and corn syrup, but here's the recipe...

North Carolina Peanut Pie

Nothing-in-the-House crust recipe (at right)
1/3 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 large eggs
1/2 cup golden syrup (such as Lyle's)
1/2 cup sorghum syrup or 1/2 cup golden syrup (such as Lyle's) mixed with 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted, cooled slightly
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped salted North Carolina peanuts or coarsely chopped salted cocktail peanuts

Make crust.Wrap in plastic; chill at least 1 hour. Preheat oven to 375°F. Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to 12-inch round. Transfer to 9-inch-diameter pie dish. Fold edges under and crimp decoratively. Freeze crust 15 minutes. Line crust with foil; fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake until crust is set, about 20 minutes. Remove foil and beans. Continue to bake until edges begin to color, piercing with fork if crust bubbles, about 13 minutes. Cool crust on rack while making filling. Maintain oven temperature.

Whisk brown sugar, flour, 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, cinnamon, and cayenne in medium bowl. Whisk eggs in another medium bowl to blend. Add golden syrup, sorghum, melted butter, and vanilla to eggs and whisk to blend. Add brown sugar mixture and whisk until smooth. Mix in peanuts. Pour filling into cooled crust.

Bake pie 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F; continue to bake until crust is golden and filling is set (center of filling may move slightly when pie dish is gently shaken), covering crust edges with foil if browning too quickly, about 40 minutes. Cool pie on rack. Can be made 1 day ahead. Cut pie into wedges and serve with vanilla ice cream.

I brought this to share with the Grad. Student Section of my Foodways class in the UNC Folklore Dept. Note the Amish double-decker pie carrying basket, given to me by my parents for Christmas!

This got my friend Lora and I wondering... Is there a pie for every state?!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Hoosier Mama Pie Company

As stated below, on New Year's Day, Heather and I braved the Chicago cold to make a pilgrimage to Hoosier Mama Pie Company, in West Town. Hoosier Mama is an adorably tiny pie shop, with a whole lotta pie, and a pie philosophy that really resonates with my own-- local culture, tradition, history, whole foods, women's domestic arts (see video below for more on this), as well as Hoosier pride.
The pie-makers there were all incredibly friendly (especially when we told them we were friends with Abra, who works there occasionally) and let me ogle and photograph their tin top tables and pie paraphernalia...

We even got to meet the Hoosier Mama herself (stirring on the left).

It took Heather and me a long time to figure out which 2 pies to try--Hoosier Sugar Cream & Pear Apple Cranberry? Maple Pecan & Lemon Chess?

We settled on Banana Cream & Key Lime...
via the "$5 sweet slice + coffee for here!", and took our treats to the built-in booth in the bay window.

The key lime was our favorite--zesty and delicious with an excellent graham-cracker crust. The banana cream, which was topped with white chocolate shavings, was good, albeit extremely rich. This slice had their standard crust, which was decent, though a little tough and not as flaky as it could be. Before seeing the video below, I would have guessed that they used at least 1/2 shortening and 1/2 butter. Nonetheless, we firmly entered the Pie Enjoyment Zone...
and browsed their awesome collection of old pie cookbooks, The Farm Journal's Complete Pie Cookbook, being my favorite.

And though I'm not necessarily the type of girl to fantasize about my wedding day, this framed photo did get my mind a-reeling...

As you can see, Hoosier Mama is basically THE Pie Enjoyment Zone, and hopefully our New Year's visit will bring us in good pie for 2010.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Pie As A (Midwestern) Lifestyle

Over New Year's weekend, Heather and I paid a visit to Hoosier Mama, Paula Haney's great little pie shop in Chicago (where our good friend Abra occasionally works!). I'll post pictures and a review of our visit shortly, but in the meantime, check out this great video about it by Sky Full Of Bacon... "Just pie!...very simple and unpretentious."

Sky Full of Bacon 13: Pie As a Lifestyle from Michael Gebert on Vimeo.

"Some of the best french food--it's poor food...all the cassoulet...all of that stuff is stuff people made to survive. And it just shows how resilient and ingenius they are and they made it taste WONDERFUL. So I start looking around, well that's the same thing all of my relatives, who I thought were so boring, were doing with their pies. They were feeding their family, they were coming up with things that tasted good."

Old cookbooks, desperation pies, and a crust of ALL-BUTTER and VINEGAR! A Hoosier girl after my own Hoosier heart!

Monday, January 04, 2010

Holiday Pies by Stacy

This post comes from Southern Belle Stacy, reporting from Dallas, Texas and Brooklyn, New York...

This pecan pie was my third pecan pie to bake in a week. The first, I used Emily's mini pecan pie recipe but did not roast the pecans, the second I made Elvis's pecan pie, boy was it buttery, the third (pictured) I used Alice Water's crust and Homesick Texas blog filling,YUM! I think this was a perfect pecan pie! I topped it with a hammer and saw in reference to my favorite old time band. We carted the pie to Thanksgiving dinner at some new pals brownstone here in Brooklyn. The plate was licked clean.

Here is a photograph of my impromptu apple pie. Sadly, I did not make the crust however, I glazed it with egg and sprinkled it with sugar. I used Emily's apple pie recipe and it was a hit. Served with some yummy blue bell homestyle vanilla ice cream. A perfect addition to a community puzzle jam new years eve party in blustery Dallas, Texas.

Cranberry Chess Pie

Fig Pistachio Tarte Tatin

Peppermint Pattie Tart

Whiskey & Dark Chocolate Bundt Cake

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