Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Four and Twenty Black Birds

Did you know that 2011 has been named the year of the pie?  My little world makes sense now, even as 2011 is coming to a close, because in the past couple months I've experimented with a new pie crust recipe, been invited to a pie party, made 9 pies for a dear friend's wedding and have been seeing pictures of pies and recipes for pies everywhere.  Did I mention I've eaten pie, too?

Fall is pie time, what with all the apples and squashes and sweet potatoes.  And, if you're squirrel-ly like me, you keep blueberries and concord grapes and red raspberries and pie crusts tucked in your freezer just in case.  In case you need a pie, of course.

This past Friday my mom and I spent most of the day baking 12 pies for the above mentioned wedding.  My mom made three pecan pies and I made four grape and five pumpkin.  We had our crusts made ahead of time (frozen in their pie plates) so between oven loads only the mixing of the fillings needed to be done.  There was a lot of peering-into-the-oven-window throughout the day and just as much discussion about if the pies were done.  If recorded, I'm sure our conversations would have sounded hilarious, but such is pie baking, particularly when it's for a special occasion.  And it's not your usual oven.  And you've got three or four in there instead of one.

But the following day, seeing all our pies lined up amidst warm apple cobblers, mini creme brulees, pumpkin cheesecakes and spiced cookies was so rewarding.  I wish I had a picture to show of that, but on the joyous day when my friend became a wife, the power had gone off due to a winter storm and my camera cannot handle dim, albeit beautiful candle-lit, lighting.

So, here's to the year of the pie!  And, just in case you don't have a pumpkin recipe that you love, this one should do nicely.

Pumpkin Pie
Makes two nine-inch pies.

1 1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
4 large eggs
3 cups cooked and pureed pumpkin or squash (we use butternut squash)
18 ounces evaporated milk

Sift dry ingredients together.  Stir in eggs, pumpkin and evaporated milk until blended well.  Pour into two nine-inch pie crusts until 2/3 of the way full.  Pour remaining pumpkin filling into a glass measuring pitcher.  Place the pies onto the center oven rack and pour remaining filling into pies until very full.  Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes then decrease the heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 40-50 minutes.  I know they're done when the center puffs up level with the edges and the custard begins to brown.  Let cool completely or refrigerate before serving. Pin It


  1. No power for a wedding?! Oh my goodness! That makes for a memorable day! The pies look delicious, probably my favorite dessert.

  2. Well, dang. Here the year is almost over and I didn't know it was the year of the pie! 'Course, in my house any year is the year of the pie. We had pie for breakfast this morning. (Custard and it was goooood!)

    This is the second wedding I've heard of recently that served pie instead of the traditional cake. I can't imagine guests oohing and aahing (and salivating!) over a commercially made wedding cake in the same way they would over the wonderful spread of homemade goodness you described at the wedding you made the pies for.

  3. after you took them out of the freezer how long did you let the crusts sit before using? Just wondering about breaking a pie plate? Thank you.

  4. I cannot believe I have never tried grape pie. I almost wonder if it is an East coast thing?

  5. MMmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm! Guess I'd better get some pie made! Yours look SO good!

  6. I was just studying Pioneer Woman's perfect pie crust and thinking I really need to jump on this bandwagon. Did you get the crazy early snow?

  7. My husband and I did pies at our wedding back in 2005. Who wants cake anyway when you can have pie??!!!! Pecan, Apple, Berry, Pumpkin.......mmmmmmm

  8. Anonymous,
    I routinely freeze pie crusts in glass plates and have used them at all different stages of thawing and never had one break. It would make the most sense to thaw them first, though, which we did for the pie we made for the wedding. Those were thawed overnight, but more often I just wait until the dough feels cold but is no longer frozen.

    I didn't know about grape pie until my mom heard I had access to concord grapes and she told me about it. I never had them growing up because we didn't have grapes. SO, I think it's more whether or not you have access to them (or eat at someone's house who does) that determines your knowledge of them. I hope I just made sense.

    We got hit by the storm in PA this past weekend, yes! It was beautiful but made for some precarious travel and spotty electricity:-).

  9. I have never heard of grape pie . . . but I am certain it is DELICIOUS!!!! Yours pies look absolutely beautiful, and I know they were gobbled right up!

  10. but they look so professional-mine look home made-no difference-pie is PIE

  11. How do you store your pie crusts in the freezer? In the pie pans, covered in plastic/foil?

    I have a pie recipe book that contains 365 pie recipes.. yep one for every day of the year and it has concord grape pie in it. When I did some research I discovered it is an old recipe. My first time eating it was at a potluck in Ohio and I fell in love with it!!

  12. Peggy,
    I freeze my pie crusts in their pans (I use glass and metal) and stack them on top of each other with a piece of wax paper in between them all. I usually only let my stacks get five high. Then, I slide the stack into a plastic grocery bag, press out the air and use a twisty tie to close it.

    I'm curious how your grape pie recipe compares (in ingredients) to the one in the Mennonite Community Cookbook that we use (found here...http://www.thyhandhathprovided.com/2008/09/concord-grapes-part-3-of-3.html). Let me know if you have time:-).

  13. And here I was thinking that I need some kind of treat, but not wanting cookies... I think I'll make a pie!

  14. I have two different recipes but the one I normally make is the same except for two things... it is baked as double crust pie and there is the addition of 1 tsp of lemon zest. I have to admit I usually just do a latticework top but think I will have to switch over to your topping now. My husband loves a crumb topping so I know he will be ecstatic next fall when we are able to get concord grapes again.

    Thank you for the information on how you freeze your pie crusts. I have started to collect pie tins so that I can make up a pie at a moments notice as I know they are one of my husband's favorite desserts!! Just out of curiosity... do you ever freeze assembled pies?

  15. Peggy,
    No, I haven't froze whole pies before- just never had to occasion to.


Just a friendly reminder, if you know me personally please try to refrain from using my name. There are those who may try to locate me, break into my pantry and steal my pickled beets. Thanks:-).

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