Fill your kitchen with the sweet aromas of homemade pie

features@beaufortgazette.comApril 29, 2014 

FOOD THANKSGIVING-PIECRUST AK

Frozen pie crusts are great, but there's nothing like making one from scratch.

KAREN SCHIELY — McClatchy-Tribune News Service

I like to bake early in the morning, when it's cooler outside. It's just me, the radio and the oven in those wee hours, my house filled with the sweet aromas of my creations.

Right now, I'm making pies, which is an art of its own. The secret to a really good pie is to have a really good crust -- and the secret to that is to have the right equipment. Oh, frozen pie crusts are just fine -- and they sure do save time -- but there's nothing like a homemade crust with the tell-tales signs of uneven pinches and forkmarks. That's how you know your pie was truly made with love.

I like to cover my kitchen table with a cloth, where I can then roll out the dough. One third cup of shortening to 1 cup of flour is the standard proportion. If all-purpose flour is used, a small amount of salt and a little baking powder can be added. The exact amount of water depends on the amount of flour. One should use just enough water to mix the dough so as to roll it, too much liquid makes for a hard crust. Mix only enough to blend thoroughly. Oh, and mix with your hands -- do not knead. The dough should be rolled in a circular manner, large enough to cover the pie pan with enough overlaying to be trimmed and fluted by hand or pressed with a fork.

Here I share with you some of my favorite ways to fill my pie crusts.

MISSISSIPPI MUD PIE

Makes: 6-8 servings

1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell

4 ounces semisweet chocolate

1/3 cup butter

3 eggs

3 tablespoons light corn syrup

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract

pinch of salt (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 9-inch pie plate with rolled out dough. Melt chocolate and butter in heavy saucepan over moderate heat. Beat eggs and stir in corn syrup, sugar, vanilla and salt. Stir into chocolate mixture slowly, stirring constantly, and pour into pastry-lined pie plate. Bake about 35 minutes or until set but soft inside. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream.

Source: "Southern Cookbook," by Barbara Bloch (1991)

COCONUT PIE

1 stick oleomargarine

1 cup sugar

3 beaten eggs

1 teaspoon cornmeal

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon vinegar

7 ounces coconut

1 pie crust, already baked

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Melt oleomargarine and sugar. Add eggs, cornmeal, vanilla, vinegar and coconut. Mix and pour into pie shell. Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees, and cook until set.

Source: First Lady Cookbook, by Mrs. J. B. Napier Jr. of Abbeville (1976)

CARROT CUSTARD PIE

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup butter, softened

2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3 eggs

1 1/2 cups evaporated milk

1 1/2 cups carrots, grated

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine sugar, butter and cream until light and fluffy. Stir in flour. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add milk, carrots and cinnamon, stirring well. Spoon batter into pastry shell. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees, and bake 30 minutes or until firm.

Source: "Sharing Family and Friendship, Generation to Generation," by Tonya F. Smith (1995)

Columnist Ervena Faulkner is a Port Royal resident and a retired educator who has always had an interest in food and nutrition. Email her at features@beaufortgazette.com.

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