• July 24, 2014

Serve pie by the stack

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Posted: Wednesday, October 16, 2013 4:30 am

A recent article in The New York Times generated some buzz about this old-fashioned dessert. Times food writer Melissa Clark wrote about stack pies in a July issue, then the story was picked up by NBC’s “Today” show, and now it’s getting attention from other food reporters and bloggers.

Clark interviewed Karen Thornton, who was researching her family’s genealogy, and Thornton told Clark about a recipe for stack pies she found in a book from the ’30s about western North Carolina, where her family is from. In the book, given to her by an aunt, there was “one paragraph that describes people bringing fruit pies to church functions. Each family’s pie would get stacked on top of one another, and when it was dessert time, the whole thing was sliced like a layer cake.”

Thornton and her husband, Chris, who have their own blog, Thepeche.com, were intrigued and began to bake dozens of stack pies in different flavors.

The Thorntons’ pies were stacked two or three pies high, so we decided to make ours only two pies high, although tradition calls for many stacks.

PUMPKIN-PECAN STACK PIE

Pumpkin pie:

  • 2 cups cooked pumpkin, or 1 can
  • (15 ounces) pure pumpkin
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 3 whole eggs
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 9-inch unbaked pie shell

Pecan pie:

  • 1 cup dark corn syrup
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1½ cups (6 ounces) pecans
  • 1 9-inch unbaked pie shell

To make pumpkin pie: In medium bowl, beat together all ingredients and pour into unbaked pie shell that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees (do not remove pie from oven); bake an additional 50 minutes or until almost set. Cool completely on wire rack.

To make pecan pie: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, mix corn syrup, eggs, sugar, butter, and vanilla using a spoon. Stir in pecans. Pour filling into pie shell that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Bake on center rack of oven for 60 to 70 minutes. Cool completely on wire rack.

To assemble: When pies are completely cool, very gently remove pecan pie from pie pan, using two spatulas, and place on a cake plate. Remove pumpkin pie from pie pan with spatulas, and place atop pecan pie. Slice into thin wedges and serve.

VIRGINIA NOEL’S STACK PIE

  • 1 stick melted margarine
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 heaping tablespoons flour
  • 4 whole eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ pint whipping cream
  • 3 unbaked pie shells
  • Caramel icing (recipe follows)

In a large mixing bowl, combine margarine, sugar, flour, eggs, vanilla and whipping cream. Mix well. Divide mixture equally among pie shells. Bake pies at 350 degrees for 30 to 45 minutes, or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely.

Remove pies from pans and gently layer with caramel icing between layers.

CARAMEL ICING

  • 1½ cups brown sugar
  • ½ cup milk
  • Dash of salt
  • 1 stick butter or margarine
  • 1½ cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

In a saucepan, combine brown sugar, milk, salt, and butter. Bring to a boil and boil for two minutes. Remove from heat and cool. Add powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat until thick enough to spread.

MOM’S STACK PIE

Filling:

  • 12 egg yolks
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 3 cups white sugar
  • 2 sticks melted butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup cream
  • 4 pie shells, partially baked

Icing:

  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons white corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup cream

To make filling: In a mixing bowl, beat egg yolks and whole eggs on low speed. Add white sugar, melted butter, vanilla and cream. Mix well. Pour into prebaked pie shells and bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes. When pies have cooled completely, remove from pie pans, and stack.

To make icing: Combine ingredients in a saucepan. Bring mixture to a soft boil stage. Pour over stacked pies.

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