Don’t Judge A Pie By It’s Name

Oatmeal pie?  That was the question in my head the first time I was offered a piece of oatmeal pie.   The only oatmeal pie I knew about came in a cellophane wrapper inside a Little Debbie’s box.  Who makes an actual pie out of oatmeal?

I had my first taste of this yummy dessert many years ago.  We were just finishing up a delicious meal at my husband’s family home, and his mother was standing at the end of the table, slicing into a dark crusty pie.  If there had been another choice available as well, I might never have eaten oatmeal pie.  But rather than go without dessert (who does that?), I graciously accepted this odd concoction of oats and coconut.

I had grown up on “traditional” desserts, like boxed chocolate cake.  And boxed brownies.  Or Red jello with a strained can of fruit cocktail dumped in — always floating to the top.  On some occasions, my mother switched it up, and added sliced bananas to the red jello.  And if it was a special day, both fruit cocktail and bananas were floating in the red wiggly bowl.

Any homemade pie was worth trying in my book.

The pie resembles a pecan pie with toasty coconut adorning the top rather than pecan halves.   I personally have always thought we could get a lot more people to try oatmeal pie if we just renamed it, Toasted Coconut Pie.  Because, truly, that is what it is.


And it is yumm-my.  The common first reaction after one’s first bite is, “mmm mmm”.

Now years later (never you-mind how many), this oatmeal pie is on every holiday table in my home.  It is often made in tandem with a cherry pie because there is always crust left over after assembling the cherry pie. With that extra dough, I am able to make a one-crust pie, and oatmeal pie has been the most requested pie by my husband and children.

This pie is so simple to make, and it uses common ingredients that most of us keep in
our pantry all the time, like eggs, milk, oatmeal, and coconut.   The recipe does include corn syrup. If you dislike that ingredient, you could possibly try a substitution, like additional sugar, honey or molasses.  I have not tried any substitutions, so if you do, please let me know how your pie turns out.  I’d love to hear about it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After you whip of these few staples, the pie bakes for about 50 minutes.  During baking, the yooey-gooey ingredients all go to the bottom, and the coconut and oats rise to the top and turn into a divine toasted topping.    The trick is to wait for the toasty part, but take the pie out before it gets overdone.  The pie is ready when it is brown and bubbly yet still a bit jiggly in the center.   It will continue to bake and set while it cools out of the oven.

I am delighted to add this recipe to my legacy collection.   A recipe card with Oatmeal Pie written across the top could easily be tossed and forgotten.

Who makes a pie out of oatmeal?  

However, I don’t think that will happen with this pie.  Not only do my kids have the memory of eating it at our house as well as Gramma’s, but one look at this messy card, and they will know it’s a keeper.

 

 

 

 

Jon’s Mom’s Oatmeal Pie

3/4 cup Quick Oats

3/4 cup Corn syrup

3/4 cup Milk

1/3 cup Sugar

1/3 cup Brown Sugar

1/2 cup Butter, melted

1 cup Coconut Flakes

3 Eggs, beaten

1 teaspoon Vanilla

1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon

1 unbaked pie shell

Simply mix all ingredients together, and pour into an unbaked pie shell.  

Bam!  You’re done.  

Bake at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes.  Everyone’s oven temp is different; adjust accordingly.  Pie is done when brown and toasty yet still has just a bit of a slight jiggle in center.

 

Making Pie — The Secret is not in the recipe

Eating well is certainly a part of my days well lived so I decided to share some of my favorite recipes and how they became my favorites.  I can hear my husband saying, ‘but you don’t really like to cook’.    The truth is I do like to cook, but I don’t like to plan my menus.   Due to poor planning, cooking often becomes a chore (maybe that will be the topic of another post).  Once I have the ingredients and recipe in hand, I rather enjoy being in the kitchen.  And most things I cook are tasty.  But I’ll admit, there is a good percentage of the population that IS a better cook than I am.  That said, I do have a few specialties in my recipe box.

20121106_112239I am a good pie baker.  I love to bake pies.   When someone tells me they are not too fond of pie, I think possibly they have never really tasted pie as it was meant to be.  I have yet to eat any pie at a restaurant that compares to a pie baked to perfection by a good pie baker.  And I live in the heart of an Amish community.  There are about a dozen pies on the menu of every restaurant in town.  And I don’t care for any of them.   Like some people are picky about their coffee, I’m picky about my pie.

Pies are easy to bake.  The recipes are usually simple enough.  However, one of the secrets to pie baking is having a tutor in the kitchen the first time you bake one.   Pastry crust is hard to learn from a cookbook.  Even though the recipes are pretty straight forward, it is hard to convey on paper how the dough is suppose feel in your hands before its ready to go into the pan.  Having someone stand over your shoulder and coach you step by step ensures that you have the right “feel” for the crust.  With a thin flaky crust, you are well on your way to a fabulous dessert.

My pastry tutor was an 18-year-old friend from work.   We were both newly married women, and I challenged her when she told me she could bake good pies.  Heaven knows I was struggling to put anything edible on the table at that point.  My husb20130712_135743and still turns his nose up at Tuna Noodle Casserole almost 40 years later (I guess one cannot live on tuna alone).  At the challenge, my friend extended an invitation to a Saturday baking day at her home.   She let me do the mixing, rolling and pinching, but she guided me through every step.  After the dishes were done, and the pies had cooled, we sat down to the most delicious dessert I had ever eaten — and I had baked it!  The rest is history.  It’s like the age-old lesson, ‘give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime’.  Yep, I learned to “fish” that day. 

If you have never attempted pie baking, I wish someone could be there in your kitchen with you .  They could help pick through the fresh cherries to “get all the pits”.  They could watch as you cut a signature design into the top crust to allow thcherriese filling to vent.  You could take turns watching through the oven door as the crust browns and the filling begins to bubble (that’s how you know its done).

As you will see, there is nothing special about the recipe I use for cherry pie.  It’s the one found in your Gramma’s cookbook.  I am grateful for that dear friend who passed along her knowledge of pie baking.  I have since taught my daughters.  The secret is in the lesson.

Pastry Crust for a two crust pie
3 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup butter
1/2 cup ice water (scant)

Sift flour and salt together in a large bowl.  With a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour until the size of peas.  Then work the mixture between your fingers until all the butter is worked into the flour.  Add the ice water, and with a fork, quickly mix into the flour until a dough is formed.  The less you work with the dough at this point, the better the crust will be.  Divide the dough into two pieces.  On a floured surface, roll the dough into a disk the size of your hand.  Pick up the dough and turn it over, dusting it again with flour.  Continue to roll until thin.  Place in bottom of 9 inch pie plate.  Roll out the other dough in the same manner.  After filling the pie with your fruit and glaze, place the other piece of pastry on top.  Trim the edge and pinch edges together.  Cut a pretty design in top crust to allow filling to allow steam to escape.  You may brush the crust with an egg wash if you desire a darker, crustier top crust.

Cherry Filling
3 cups fresh sour cherries;  you can use frozen, thawed and drained very well
1 1/2 cups sugar – divided
3-4 Tablespoons Cornstarch
3/4 cup cherry juice
2 Tablespoons butter

Pick through cherries to remove all pits.  Put 3/4 cup of the sugar into a medium sauce pan.  Add the cornstarch and mix well.  Pour the cherry juice over sugar and stir; heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally.  Bring to boil and then cook for one additional minute.  The cornstarch will lose it’s milky look and become a “clear” glaze.  It will be very thick at this point.  Add the butter and the remaining 3/4 cup sugar.  Combine cherries and glaze.   Fill pastry shell and bake at 375 degrees for 50 minutes or until crust is golden and filling is hot and bubbly.  Makes one 9 inch pie.cherry pie

“You should be able to pick up a good piece of pie and eat it with your fingers” — my dad (he loved a good a pie too)