Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Pi or PIE?

That's me with Grandmother,
Christmas 1963ish
I don't think I've ever written a post about Pi Day. But, since I love PIE and I'd rather write than organize, purge, clean ANYTHING, I thought I'd share a couple of my favorite PIE recipes.

I think one of the things I love most about PIE is the fact there is nothing healthy about any of them. And why should there be? It's PIE and it's DESSERT and there should be some things we can enjoy knowing full well it's not the healthiest option.

I have never been able to decide which of my mother's PIE recipes is my favorite. As soon as I think it's the lemon meringue, I decide it's the chocolate. As soon as I think it's the chocolate, it's the pecan. As soon as...well, y'all see where this is going.

And then there's Grandmother's egg custard or coconut custard PIES. To. Die. For. She was famous for her cakes (BEST. CAKES. EVER.) but her custard pies were up to her standard which fell under the category of, my-grandmother-cooks-better-than-yours, in my book. I remember the first time she brought over a new PIE for us to try. It was delicious! And then she told us it was pinto bean pie. We kind of look at each other wondering whether or not we should be grossed out but that darn thing was so good we decided to eat the rest of it instead.

Pecan Pie
In all honesty, I've never met a pecan pie I didn't love but this is the recipe I use.

4 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups light corn syrup
1 TBS butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup pecan halves

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare pie shells (make your own if you want but not me because the frozen ones taste better than mine). Beat eggs lightly and add the sugar, salt, corn syrup, cooled butter, and vanilla. Stir until well blended. Spread the pecan halves on the bottom crust and cover with the filling. Place in oven and immediately reduce heat to 350 degrees. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until the mixture is firm in the center. Cool before serving.

Mother only made pecan pie at Christmas. 

The memory I have about pecan pie is it was made by Mother and only at Christmas. And that I used to eat the filling and leave the pecans. These days, because I'm all adulty and stuff, I will eat the pecans. Off the top so they don't interfere with the filling.

Chocolate Pie
BEST chocolate pie EVER! Anything else is a chocolate pie wannabe.

1/3 cup flour
1 cup sugar
2 cups scalded milk
3 egg yolks
2 TBS butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 baked 9" pastry shell
3 stiff egg whites
6 TBS sugar
3 TBS cocoa

Scald milk ( I still have to call Mother and ask her what this means since this is the only time I have to do it). Mix flour with 1 cup sugar, gradually add milk. Cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and boils. Cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Add small amount to egg yolks. Stir into remaining hot mixture. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add butter and vanilla. Cool slightly. Pour into baked shell. Cool. Cover and meringue. Bake at 350 degrees 12 to 15 minutes.

Dad called Mother's chocolate pie, frog pie. 

I remember Dad calling this pie, FROG pie. I was not a fan of things like frogs and I remember not wanting to eat Mother's chocolate pie once I heard Dad say we were having frog pie and I was CERTAIN that Mother had put frogs in that PIE. And THAT, friends, is why I think Dad called it, frog pie- to keep us out of it. And he called it that my entire childhood.

Lemon Pie 
I don't care what recipe you try to give me, this will always be my favorite lemon pie. I've tried MANY over the years and none come close.

9" graham cracker crust
1 can condensed milk
3 eggs, separated
1/2 cup lemon juice (you can add more if you want)
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/3 cup sugar

Blend sweetened condensed milk and egg yolks together. Gradually add lemon juice, stirring until mixture thickens and is well blended. Pour filling into crust.

In another bowl, beat room temperature egg whites with cream of tartar until foamy. Gradually add sugar and continue beating until egg whites are stiff. Carefully spread meringue over filling, sealing the edges.

Bake at 400 degrees until meringue browns, about 6 minutes. Cool. Refrigerate uneaten portions (not that there would be any at my house).

At that time, Belk had a cafeteria in the basement...

One of my favorite things to do during the holidays when I was growing up was going with my family downtown Charlotte, NC to look at the Christmas window displays at Belk and Ivey's. At that time, Belk had a cafeteria in the basement and we would always go down there to have lunch. They made their lemon pie just like Mother did and I never got any other dessert in all those years. I also remember having to stare at that pie longingly until I ate my lunch. That was one of the most difficult things to do other than wait on the grown-ups to finish their coffee. I mean, once the pie is gone, why bother sitting there anymore?

Coconut Custard
Don't even try to get me to taste any other coconut custard pie. Here's the deal with this recipe, Aunt Betty looked through Grandmother's composition books for the recipe (that's where Grandmother wrote down 'recipes') and landed on this one, so far. We're not sure this is THE ONE but we know she wrote it because there are very few directions. LOL I'll update if Aunt Betty finds another recipe.

2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 cups coconut
2 cups milk
1/2 cup self-rising flour
1 stick of butter, softened

Beat in blender.

Cook at 350 degrees.

Her kitchen was the heart of Grandmother's home.

There are no fonder memories from my childhood than those surrounding my grandparents. No matter the time of year, the memories are vivid and ALWAYS HAPPY. Among all those happy memories, some of my favorites are being in the kitchen with Grandmother. There is no doubt the kitchen was the heart of her home and I believe one of the reasons we cannot replicate her recipes is because she added such an overabundance of love. And the fact that even when there was a recipe written down, she did her own thing or did not write the directions (see the coconut custard recipe above.) Everything she made from her everyday meals to her baked goods was from scratch. She wore one of Granddaddy's old plaid shirts over her clothes instead of an apron and there would be flour all over her and that shirt and the kitchen as she hit those creations with no regard to appearances. Creating in the kitchen was her art and she was one of the great masters.

And now, I shall spend the rest of PI Day wanting PIE.

Have a great Tuesday, y'all!

There's a GIVEAWAY, y'all! Click HERE to enter!


  1. Oh me oh my now I wanna eat pie! Lucky for me I'm still not able to bake alone! Going to try these as soon as I m able! Your memories of your Grandmother's kitchen resemble many of my memories with my Grams! Happy times, dearly missed.

    1. Me too! I've been dying all day for pie! Aren't grandmas the best? I hope I can come at least a little close for Baby M. :)

  2. I have a pecan pie related post coming up soon. It is one of my favorite pies. Of course as a number pi is very special in science and engineering. Today is the day to think of a number and a dessert.

    1. And, if you write 314 backward, it spells PIE! LOL

  3. Oh my goodness!! Of all those, coconut custard is my favorite but chocolate and pecan follow closely. My mom made great pies. I buy pie crust and open a can of filling. I can't make a good pie to save my soul. I will print out your recipes, however, and MAY attempt to make one of them one of these days. I want pie now!!!

    1. I can't either, Terri. But Reni (Baby M's mommy) makes a crust that is so light and flaky and her pies are fantastic! I guess that gene skipped a generation. LOL I've been wanting pie all day long. Let me know if you try any of them. :)

  4. I love lemon pie, chocolate pie but pecan pie -- my hubby's favorite. Your recipes look fabulous!

    1. Most of the time, lemon is my favorite. But I haven't really ever turned any flavor down. LOL Thanks! Let me know if you try them out. :)

  5. Never had pecan pie,my favourite dessert pie is apple followed by lemon meringue, I have had a cheese and bacon pie for lunch the last few days very nice also

  6. I, too, love pies! My mother-in-law makes pies ONLY for Thanksgiving dessert - no cakes, etc. ONLY pies! She has a tendency to make a pie per person . . .so that she gets everyone's favorite. She will be 92 in July and is still baking pies!! Just FYI - I eat my pecan pie the same way . . .pecans first . . .filling by itself!!

    1. Pies are great! I can't believe I now know someone who eats their pecan pie the same way I do! That's awesome! :) I bet your MIL's pies are amazing!

  7. Okay, you have my mouth watering with all these pie pics! Yummy, yummy, yummy!

    1. I'd like to have some, too. I may have to settle for cupcakes. LOL

  8. Never meant a pie I didn't like. All look delicious. Thanks for linking up with Blogging Grandmothers.

    1. I'm right there with you on that one! LOL Thank you!

  9. I'll take the chocolate :) Thank you Pam for sharing at #BloggingGrandmothersLinkParty #LinkUp #BlogParty. I shared on social media.

    1. It is so delicious! I enjoyed the link party! Thank you!

  10. Oh that pecan and coconut take me back to my grandma's and mama's kitchens. I make a pretty mean coconut myself. Don't you just love those memories you have? I do. Thank you for sharing with #blogginggrandmotherslinkparty. #linkparty, #party. I have shared on social media.

    1. I loved my grandmother's cooking. There is none better. :) I do love those memories. Thanks!


Thank you so much for taking the time to comment! It makes me feel connected to everyone even though we may live far apart! Have a wonderful day!

Design by Imagination Designs
Illustration by MerryLittleDoodle
Background by CinnamonDove