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National Pie Day

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Written by Heather Jones   
Saturday, 23 January 2010

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Photo by Jennifer Martiné © 2009
When it comes to food everyone has their favorites, some people are wine people others prefer beer.  Your best friend may like a runny, soft, ripe goat cheese and you a hard nutty one like Grana Padano.

When it comes to desserts most people fall into two categories they are either cake people or pie people.  I fall into the latter one, I'm a pie and tart girl all the way.  Don't get me wrong, I can fully appreciate a buttery pound cake or seven-layer coconut cake, but given a choice between one of those and a cool lemony pie with mile high meringue? The pie will win out every time. 

So join me and all the other pie lovers out there as we celebrate National Pie Day. If you've never tried your hand at making a pie from scratch today would be a great day to start.  To get you started I've picked out a few of my favorite pie recipes below.  You may also want to check out the American Pie Council website for all sorts of interesting information on all things pie.

And, if you really get into pies, a pie focused cookbook is the way to go.  A great pie cookbook  that published last year is "Mrs. Rowe's Little Book of Southern Pies" by Mollie Cox Bryan.  You'll find a collection of classic Southern (and American) pies from Mrs. Rowe's Restaurant, a 60-year-old roadside café in Staunton, Virginia.  The French Apple Pie (see recipe below) is a great example of why Mrs. Rowe was called "the Pie Lady" by her customers.

Some of my favorite pie recipes:


Lemon Lime Meringue Pie

(Fine Cooking, April/May, 2000)

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Chocolate Cream Pie

(Gourmet, April, 1994)

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Autumn Fruit Pie

(Fine Cooking, October/November, 2006)

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Butter Coconut Pie

(Southern Living, November, 2001)

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Rhubarb Lattice Pie with Cardamom and Orange

(Bon Appétit, April, 2005)

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Butter Pie Dough

(Fine Cooking, December, 2002)

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French Apple Pie

Reprinted with permission from Mrs. Rowe's Little Book of Southern Pies by Mollie Cox Bryan & Mrs. Rowe's Restaurant and Bakery, copyright © 2009. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Ten Speed Press.

Makes one 9-inch pie

This pie offers a perfect blend of apples and raisins. You can add the sweet icing, which is a surprising and delightful touch-or a scoop of vanilla ice cream on a blisteringly hot, Southern summer day.

1 recipe Plain Pie Pastry

Raisin Filling

  • 2/3 cup raisins
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • ½ teaspoon lemon juice
  • ¼ cup light corn syrup
  • 1½ teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons sugar

 

  • 2 apples (preferably a tart variety)
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1½ teaspoons cornstarch


Icing

  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened


To make the raisin filling, combine the raisins, water, and lemon juice in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally until the raisins are plump, about 15 minutes.

Separately, combine the corn syrup, flour, and sugar and mix well, then add to the raisins and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until thick and syrupy, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool until the mixture is just warm, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a 9-inch pie plate with 1 rolled-out crust.

Peel the apples, cut them into thin wedges, and put them in a large bowl. Separately, combine the sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cornstarch, then add to the apples and gently stir until evenly mixed.

Spread the apple mixture in the crust in an even layer, then spread the raisin filling evenly over the apples. Brush the rim of the crust with water, cover with the second rolled-out crust, seal and flute or crimp the edges, and cut a steam vent in the center.

Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack for 1 to 2 hours, until completely cool.

To make the icing, combine the sugar and water and mix well. Add the butter and mix until smooth. Brush over the top of the cooled pie before serving.

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