Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Easy as Pie

I love to make pie and EAT pie, but some pies are "easier" for me to make than others. Double-crust fruit pies (though I love them, especially cherry and peach) are not my forte. I do pretty good with custard, pumpkin, and old-fashioned cream pies. I can even make a shoo-fly pie. (Amish dessert.)

I have good memories of Mom making pie crust for pies, and using leftover scraps to snack on. She'd lay them on a pan, spread with butter, sprinkle with sugar and then some cinnamon, and bake. Yum! Simple, and the scraps didn't go to waste.

One thing though, that has simplified my pie making projects, is a "pat-in-pan" crust recipe, which I also found among Amish recipes. Since I haven't had hardly any room to roll anything out such as pie crusts and biscuits in these last couple of places we've lived (including now), this is a keeper for me, especially since I usually stick with single-crust pies. You can bake it for a shell, or put filling in and bake as usual. To me it's very good and reasonably flaky. Here's one of several I have, they have various measurements of ingredients, some are better for bigger or smaller pie pans. This one seems a good, basic one.


1 c. flour
dash salt
1/3 c. vegetable oil
3 Tbsp. milk
(sometimes I may add a dab of sugar, too.)

Place flour and salt (and sugar if you care to) in pie pan, mix lightly with fork. In a small bowl or glass measuring cup, measure oil and milk, stir well with fork. Pour all over the flour mixture. Start with fork and mix, then finish with fingers. The idea is not too dry so that it's crumbly, but not so wet it's TOO mushy. Just a nice piable dough. Even if it seems on the wetter side, that'll work. Use fingers, beginning at rim of pie pan, to "pat" the dough flat against the pie plate, finishing at the center. Shape edge as desired. Fill and bake as directed for pie, or prick with a fork and bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes to have a baked shell.

You can also find refrigerated pie crust dough at the store.

But if you REALLY want an easy route, and there's NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT, just get a ready-made graham cracker crust at the store! Yes, you can make your own from crushed graham crackers, sugar and butter. But I'm talking EASY. Then, more easy ... a box of instant pudding and a small tub of whipped topping. Our favorite seems to be chocolate. Now, you could have homemade dough crust, homemade chocolate filling, and either baked meringue or REAL WHIPPED CREAM topping. But this is easy, and it barely lasts any time at all at our house! In fact, Older Son tries to get me to make TWO at a time. "One for me ... " ha ha. It's so simple, but so good. Graham cracker crust, instant chocolate pudding, half a carton or so of whipped topping.

Well, that brings up another food memory. In years gone by (man do I sound old), my folks and I/us used to visit The Dutch Kitchen restaurant up by Hutchinson, Kansas. Then we also got to going to the Carriage Crossing restaurant in Yoder, Kansas when that opened up. Both places are located in the vicinity of Amish settlements, and both have a pie list a mile long. If you ask the waitress what kind of pie they have that day, they're prepared to rattle them all off, and you'd better be listening! But anyway, Mom's favorite was always chocolate, a regular crust with homemade filling and some kind of whipped cream topping. So I think of her when I do anything with chocolate pie!

So back to the present. Recently, Older Son made an improvement. For some reason we had some Reese's Pieces on hand. I had made the chocolate pudding part in the crust that evening and put it in the refrigerator to chill overnight, then I intended to finish it the next morning. I got up the next morning. The pie was done. Older Son had beat me to finishing it ... with crushed Reese's Pieces sprinkled on top. Oh, yumm-o! And it doesn't take a whole lot, just some sprinkled over the whipped cream adds that extra bit to it. I made another pie later and crushed quite a few Reese's Pices, and have them in a jar in the fridge. I've used them on several pies so far, and still have quite a bit left.

Incidentally, that happens a lot, that my nocturnal teenager will come downstairs in the night and cook things! And when Hubby is on a night schedule, he cooks things in the night, too! I hardly know what I'll wake up to. (A mess. Ha ha.)

So today I got with it and tried a different version. Graham cracker crust, BANANAS sliced into the bottom, instant French vanilla pudding, whipped topping, and the Reese's Pieces. Also very yummy and not bad. But I think I prefer the chocolate. But I think this pie won't last long despite that!

After working on the living room and enjoying two (count 'em TWO) naps today, I needed a snack.

Anybody wanna study fractions?

Ready to enjoy!


  1. That looks DELICIOUS!!! I'll have to try that sometime!!!

  2. Enjoy, Maria! :) I kind of still prefer the chocolate, but both boys declared this banana pie even better, and want me to make THAT one! And they want me to make TWO! Ha!