February is Great American Pie Month and in honor of such a special occasion, I asked Facebook and Twitter friends to share their favorite pies. There were a variety of answers from apple to rhubarb to tomato.
One of our favorite Sunday Lunch desserts at the Sisson House is cherry pie. Personally, I love any dessert that has cherry pie filling – cheesecake, turnovers, cherry-filled doughnuts, or just cherry pie filling right out of the jar! Love, Love, Love!
An easy-breezy treat I make for church potlucks is mini cherry cheesecake bites, using mini muffin cupcake tins to set the mixture from the Jell-O No Bake Cheesecake mix. My nieces, Georgia and Maggie, love this easy dessert! I always set a few aside for them to take home. And my husband, Pepper, is the “clean-up crew” – the leftovers are his! But you never use a whole can of cherry pie filling, so the next morning, I will buy Pillsbury crescent rolls and stuff cherry pie filling and a dot of butter and fold the dough over and seal the edges. I bake them for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. I think Pepper would eat them every morning!
While others may make their own cherry pie filling, I am not a purist. Canned pie filling is wonderful inside a prepared pie crust. Who cares when it is served hot with a scoop of vanilla ice cream?! Lots of friends love cherry pie, including Bryan Carrubba, Beth Crawford, Kristina Perry, Nancy Latham and Carolyn Swanson. Cheryl Wells said she likes a creamy cherry pie.
A few people like a good blackberry pie, but as a girl who has picked blackberries, it is not worth the briar thorns, scratches and blood loss. Lisa Vaughan is willing to suffer!
Pepper Sisson (and half the world, apparently) love chess pie. According to his mom, when Pep was little, he would always ask for “chest pie!”
Sandra Sisson’s Chess Pie
3 eggs, slightly beaten (and she means slightly or it will form a hard crust)
1 ½ cup of sugar
1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon of cornmeal
½ cup melted butter
1 Tablespoon vinegar
½ tablespoon of vanilla
Wisk all ingredients and pour into an 8’ prepared pie crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.
Lydia Chassaniol’s favorite is Lemon chess pie.
“I dropped one off at the press room at the Capitol last Monday afternoon,” Chassaniol said. “So far no feedback, but I hope they ate it.”
Apparently, the only difference between a chess pie and a buttermilk pie is the buttermilk. Everything else is exactly the same. Debbie Farmer, Angie McGinnis and Becky Johnson said they loved Buttermilk pie.
“My grandson, Cliff Jernigan, loves it,” said Becky Johnson.
Vickie Leach said their favorite pie is fudge.
“It’s become our household favorite at holidays,” Leach said. “Secondly, chess pie with fig preserves!”
Emily Lollar loves buttermilk pie or egg pie. Egg custard pie is also pretty close to chess pie.
Jay Reed said he loves caramel pie, followed closely by egg custard.
Jay is not alone. Others who love a big slice of caramel pie include: Paula Shaw, Kay Emmons and Mary Lynn McCully. Mary Anne Byrne loves caramel pies made by Jamie Pittman and Betty Jeffcoats loves her mama’s homemade caramel pie!
Homemade Caramel Pie
Crust (or use a 9-inch prepared and baked pie shell):
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, 5 1/2 ounces
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled, cut in small pieces
3 to 5 tablespoons of ice water
3 eggs, separated
1 1/2 cups milk
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
For the Crust: Combine the 1 1/4 cups of flour, the granulated sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times to blend thoroughly. Scatter about half of the chilled butter pieces over the flour mixture. Pulse about 6 times. Add the remaining chilled butter pieces and pulse about 7 times. You should have a coarse mixture with some of the butter the size of peas. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of the ice water over the mixture and pulse twice. Add more ice water, a few teaspoons at a time, pulsing a few times after each addition. When the dough just begins clumping, remove it to a floured surface. Lightly knead the dough just enough to shape it into a disk. Wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for about 30 minutes. Roll the chilled dough out to a circle about 12 inches in diameter, keeping the surface and the dough lightly floured to keep it from sticking. Fit the dough into the pie plate and flute the edges as desired. Refrigerate the crust until you are ready to bake.
To prebake the crust, heat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C/Gas 4). Line the bottom and sides of the pastry with parchment paper or foil. Fill the pie about 2/3 to 3/4 full with dried beans or pie weights. Bake the pie crust for 20 minutes. Remove it from the oven and remove the pie weights and foil or paper. Prick the crust all over with a fork and return it to the oven to bake for about 10 minutes, or until the pastry is nicely browned. Cool completely on a rack and then fill with the caramel filling (below).
Heat the oven to 400 degrees
For the Filling: Put about 1 1/2 inches of water in the bottom pan of a double boiler and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks; add milk and stir until well blended. In the top pan of the double boiler, combine the flour and brown sugar; mix well. Add the 2 tablespoons of butter and the vanilla, along with the egg and milk mixture. Place the pan over the bottom pan of simmering water and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened. Pour the filling into the prepared pie shell.
For the Meringue: Beat egg whites and cream of tartar until frothy. Gradually add 1/3 cup of confectioners’ sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Spread meringue over the hot filling, spreading right to the crust. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, or nicely until the meringue is golden brown.
For Shirley Johnson, Barbara Todd, Etty Brown and Lorene Hawkins, sweet potato pie is not just a fall food or a holiday treat. They love it and would have it as often as possible.
Easy Sweet Potato Pie
11⁄2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 (5 ounce) can evaporated milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups mashed cooked sweet potatoes
1 (9 inch) unbaked pie shells
In a bowl, combine sugar, flour, milk, egg and vanilla. Stir in the sweet potatoes. Pour into pie shell. Cover edges of pastry loosely with foil. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. Remove foil; bake 15 minutes longer or until crust is golden brown and a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.
A few other Facebook and Twitter friends weighed in on their favorite pies, including:
- Charity Gwaltney likes pumpkin pie.
- Joe Embry likes tomato pie.
- Felicia Woods’ favorite is Millionaire Pie.
- Joey Daniel likes pecan and peach pie.
- Becky Carlisle loves peach cobbler.
- Patti Drapala like Rhubarb pie.
- Coleen McKenzie likes coconut cream pie.
- Lindsey Wiseman likes Key Lime Pie (and so does my niece, Georgia!)
- Donna Pearson likes sweet cream pie (and makes a great one at The Tracks!)
- Tracy Davis Green said she loves her mom’s Koolaide Pie. “And yes, I would fight my sister Charla Davis Tubbs for it! Hahahaha!”
And what would be a column for Great American Pie Month, without an apple pie recipe? Monica West, Roseann Hamby Walker, Marilyn Tinnin, Johnnie Abbott, Betty Trice, Lisa Vaughan and Vickie Baskin would probably protest that it would be un-American. Apple pie is their favorite. I have shared my apple pie recipe in a previous column, but here we go again:
Porch Swing Apple Pie
3-4 cups of Granny Smith apples, peeled and thinly sliced (approx. 5 apples)
¾ cup sugar
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¾ stick of real butter
2-9” unbaked pie shells
Put apples in pie shells. Sprinkle sugar, flour and cinnamon on apples. Place pats of butter on top. Use second pie shell to cover the apples. Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. Use a fork to put holes in the top of pie shell. Place pie on cookie sheet while cooking for overflow.
Angela Avent-White likes her apple pie with sharp cheddar cheese melted on top. I have never had cheese on top of my apple pie. I am a little more of an ice cream kinda girl with my apple pie, but I may have to try it!
Do you have a favorite pie recipe you would like to share? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
See this column in the February 23, 2017 edition of The Winona Times.