This is not an apology as in “I’m going to eat humble pie.” This is a blog about pies. According to wikiipedia.org, a form of pie was around as early as in the Egyptian Neolithic periods or the New Stone Age period. The term humble pie comes from medieval times. The filling between two crusts was minced livers, gizzards, hearts, etc., and considered a peasant’s dish. Pies similar to the photo above were good for travelers, easy to carry, and nutritious.
When I entered college ages ago, few opportunities were open to women—teaching, nursing, typing, and homemaking, for example. Of course there were some who entered other fields. I started out in music, but theory got me, and for one semester I was going to major in Spanish. I finally chose home economics (I think it is called human science now), because I wanted to be a homemaker. I received my BS and MRS degrees within a six week period.
In home economics I studied cooking, meal planning, sewing, tailoring, design, nutrition, art, child development, family, microbiology, and chemistry. I didn’t take education courses because I didn’t want to teach. Most people can learn how to cook and sew if they are inclined by reading and practice. I believe my courses made life easier for me although I still had a lot of on-the-job learning to do, which is probably the case for any field. One thing the courses did was help me understand reasons for doing certain things. For instance when using corn starch for thickening, it is necessary to cook it until you can no longer smell the cornstarch.
One early cooking flop was a strawberry pie–three ingredients which consisted of strawberries, Eagle Brand milk, and lemon juice. My pie was so soupy—either I cut the strawberries too small or didn’t put enough lemon juice in. Another mistake—I made a meat loaf for us and some friends, which was way too small for four people. We had a party the first fall we were married. I decided to have popcorn which I popped ahead. I kept it in the oven at a low heat—it burned. Burned popcorn is not a good smell! My husband has never been a big eater. When we were first married, I cut the recipe to 1/4th for a pie. I used the aluminum individual pot pie pan.
Now to pies. Pie crusts are one of my specialties. Over the years I have used several recipes—onemade with oil instead of shortening, one with egg and vinegar, and ones with varyingamounts of flour, butter or shortening, and water. I have tried several methods of rolling the crusts. I have used wax paper and recently I bought a pastry cloth and sleeve. I like a thin crust. When I do use a bought crust, I roll it thinner. I like pretty pies with the edges pinched nicely (sometimes they don’t turn out nice). When I was growing up, Mother brushed the crust with milk before baking to give it a nice color. My mother-in-law sprinkled sugar on her top crusts. I use both methods.
Mother made peach cobblers with a cake like topping, but she used pie crust for blackberry cobblers. I use pie crust for all cobblers.
Sometimes I make pies for special days, besides the traditional holiday pies—a cherry pie for Washington’s birthday, a blueberry pie for our wedding anniversary because we ate huckleberry pie on our honeymoon. We don’t have huckleberries here in East Texas.
Friends and family have shared recipes with me over the years—fudge pie, buttermilk pie, blueberry banana, lemon pie, my grandmother’s pineapple pie, praline pumpkin pie–all good pies.
One pie recipe I found several years ago was a French country apple pie recipe in a Jacques Pepin cookbook . In the last few years, I have seen similar recipes calling this type of pie rustic. I like a rustic pie because it is small enough for two people. I usually make apple and we enjoy it warm with ice cream for dessert and the next day or so enjoy it at breakfast.
French Country Apple Pie
My husband and I both like mincemeat pies. I like to buy the condensed mincemeat but it is hard to fine. I add diced apples, extra raisins, and brandy. The top photo shows mincemeat hand pies which I have started making instead of a large pie, since not many people like mince pies. On our trips to England at Christmas time, we have bought some little mincemeat pies, which were very good.
I hope you have enjoyed reading about humble pies. A lot of people say making a pie is hard. A simple, good cake can be made in an hour or so. For a pastry crust pie it does take time, but the results are so good. If it wasn’t so hot, I think an apple pie would be good!