Today is National Pie Day. Not to be confused with National Pi Day, March 14th (3/14, it’s a math thing). I’m not a huge pie fan. Give me a choice between pie or cake, and cake wins hands down every time.
My grandmother was a fantastic pie baker. Holidays were loaded with every kind you could imagine. Her sour cream raisin pie was absolutely the best! My mom, on the other hand, did not inherit the pie making gene, if there is such a thing. I think I must have convinced myself that it was a difficult process that only a highly skilled person could do. And to be fair, as a teenager I wasn’t the least bit interested in cooking.
When I was 20 years old, I was alone on Christmas for the first time and had to make dinner for myself. I pulled out a cookbook that belonged to my roommate and managed to make a very scaled down version of a traditional Christmas dinner completely from scratch. No boxes, no mixes, and no microwaved dishes. It was one of the best meals of my life, probably because it was such a huge accomplishment. The thing I remember most was the apple pie I made. It didn’t look restaurant perfect but pretty good for a my first try. And it was delicious!
I still prefer cakes over pies, but I learned that pie making isn’t the scary task I thought it was. One of my favorite quotes by Julia Child is “If you can read, you can cook.” Just read the recipe, relax, take your time in making it, and most importantly, have fun! It’s easy as pie 😉
Here are 2 of my favorite pies. Key Lime Pie and Pecan Pie. There are plenty of variations out there but these are my go-to recipes. Hope you enjoy them. Happy National Pie Day!
Key Lime Pie
1 – 9 inch graham cracker pie crust
4 eggs, room temperature, separated
1 – 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup key lime juice
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 cup superfine sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Set aside egg whites for later use in meringue. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk, and lime juice. Pour into pie shell and bake for 10 minutes. While pie is baking, prepare the meringue. On high speed, whisk egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. While still whisking, gradually add sugar one tablespoon at a time until all sugar is incorporated and stiff peaks have developed. Remove pie from oven after baking 10 minutes and very carefully spread meringue over the top being sure to cover the entire surface to the crust. This will prevent it from weeping after it has cooled. Bake 10 more minutes or until meringue has a lightly toasted appearance. Remove from oven and cool completely before refrigerating.
Traditional Pecan Pie
1 – 9 inch unbaked pastry shell
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
2 Tbsp melted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups pecans (6oz)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl mix eggs, sugar, corn syrup, butter, and vanilla together. Once blended, stir in pecans. Pour into pie shell. Bake 60-70 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely. Refrigerate until ready to serve.