Sunday, September 25, 2022

On Cooking Southern: Eye on Pie

threepiesgroup-DSCN7260

By Laurie Triplette

ldtriplette@aol.com

Southernism of the Week

There you go: A common Southern expression of affirmation of the obvious, usually stated after conclusion of an event, or after revelation of circumstances that led to the event. For example, “There you go. All those Blue Dog Mississippi Democrats voted in the Republican primary runoff.”  Or “There you go. Vandy took the Collegiate Baseball World Series after trouncing our playoffs nemesis, Virginia.” 

I’VE GOT MY EYE ON PIE

“Pie. Pie. I like pie.” 

Those are the first words of a silly ditty sung by Andie McDowell in the feel-good movie about a frowsy angel named Michael played by John Travolta. 

I like pie, too. Pie, after all, is the perfect food-combo platform. Think about it. You can wrap up just about any comestible in a bit of crust made of flour and fat and salt and an occasional smidge of sugar, and end up with a tasty treat. Fruits, cream, nuts, sugar and molasses, vegetables… savory meats…  They all taste better in a pie.

To quote Kat Kinsman, speaking on behalf of PIE in last fall’s Southern Foodways Alliance cake-versus-pie debate between Kinsman and Kim Severson, “Pie, no matter the baker or eater, is a gift… when it’s the height of the season and you want to embrace and honor the fruits of the season … pie is for affirmation … “

This week I’m featuring three pies that are easy (as pie) to make, and that use what’s currently in season. 

There you go!

BLUEBERRY BUTTERMILK PIE

blueberrybuttermilkpie-DSCN7268Take my grandmother’s classic buttermilk pie and add a couple of cups of blueberries for a delicious crossover.

2 c fresh blueberries, sugared and slightly crushed

3 T butter

1-1/2 c white granulated sugar

3 egg yolks, beaten

3-1/2 T buttermilk

3 egg whites, beaten to soft peaks

1/2 tsp lemon juice

Cream butter and sugar well. Add beaten egg yolks and then buttermilk. Fold in beaten egg whites.  Flavor with lemon juice, nutmeg or vanilla. (I use lemon juice.)

Pour into an unbaked regular 9-inch pie shell — homemade or packaged work equally well. Bake at 350˚F in preheated oven until center is firm, from 30 minutes to 1 hour.  NOTE: This pie usually requires closer to an hour.  During last 15 minutes, if requiring an hour, to prevent crust from burning, loosely tent foil over the pie, not touching. 

When center of pie is firm (toothpick comes out clean), remove to a rack to cool completely for several hours. Refrigerate before slicing so pie will be easier to slice without running. Top slices with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. Refrigerate leftovers.

FROZEN STRAWBERRY CREAM COCONUT PIE

strawberrycreamcoconut-DSCN7289The crust for this pie is an old-fashioned cookie piecrust, made from coconut macaroons that are once again available in the grocery stores. The pie itself is a variation of the cherry cheesecake pie that was popular 30 years ago.

32 coconut macaroons, divided and crumbled (2 boxes of Archway macaroons)

16 oz cream cheese

1/3 c sweetened condensed milk (low-fat version will not set)

1/2 tsp lemon juice

1 T vanilla extract

8 oz ricotta cheese

2 c sugared and sliced strawberries, drained

2 kiwi, sliced thin

16 blueberries

8-10 large strawberries, sliced vertically

Crumble 16 macaroons and press into a 9-inch pie pan. Make sure the thickness is even on the bottom and up the sides. Repeat for second pie shell.

In a large mixing bowl, blend the cream cheese, milk, lemon juice and vanilla with mixer on low speed. Add the ricotta and the strawberries in sequence just to blend. Do not over-mix, or the filling will become too liquefied.

Pour the filling into the macaroon pie shells, loosely cover, and freeze until ready to serve.

A half hour before serving, remove pie(s) from freezer to thaw enough for slicing. Embellish top with sliced strawberries, blueberries and kiwi. Refrigerate any leftovers.

VARIATION: Reverse the cream cheese and ricotta amounts — 8 oz of cream cheese and 16 oz of ricotta; the result will be softer.

SWEET SUMMER SQUASH PIE

sweetsquashpie-DSCN7269Sweet squash pie is all the rage in the Carolinas. It’s like a combination of summer AND autumn, and would work well as a Thanksgiving dessert. My family adapted this recipe from Tammy Grubb’s version printed last year in OUR STATE magazine.

5 c yellow summer squash, peeled and sliced thin

1 cup white granulated sugar 

2 T light brown sugar or coconut sugar

2 T all-purpose flour 

1 c evaporated milk

2 large eggs

Pinch of salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

Dash of cinnamon and/or dash of pumpkin pie spice

1 deep dish pie crust  or  2 regular size pie crusts 

Whipped cream or whipped topping

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and puree finely — about 30 seconds to a minute Pour into pie shells, allowing room at top for whipped topping. 

Bake in preheated oven at 350˚F for 45 to 50 minutes, until center quits jiggling.

Cool at least an hour to allow pie to set up before slicing. Cover entire top of pie with whipped cream or whipped topping. Serve with fresh blackberries.  Refrigerate leftovers.

Laurie Triplette is a writer, historian, and accredited appraiser of fine arts, dedicated to preserving Southern culture and foodways. Author of the award-winning community family cookbook GIMME SOME SUGAR, DARLIN’, and editor of ZEBRA TALES (Tailgating Recipes from the Ladies of the NFLRA), Triplette is a member of the Association of Food Journalists (AFJ),Southern Foodways Alliance (SFA)  and the Southern Food and Beverage Museum (SOFAB). Check out the GIMME SOME SUGAR, DARLIN’ web site: www.tripleheartpress.com and follow Laurie’s food adventures on Facebook and Twitter (@LaurieTriplette).

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