Sunday, April 3, 2011

Pies, Pedals & a Picture Show... Slice 1: Pies

Pies have long been a tradition of my family, with fond memories of my grandmother Vera Aileen's graham cracker pie. I fell in love with her sugary graham cracker crust and rich cream filling when I was knee-high and never turned back. Her special graham cracker pie was nothing more than a vanilla cream, but in my opinion, it was the crust that took center stage and made the pie worth naming, not the filling. In fact, every time she'd whip up one of her pies, she'd leave me a bowlful of crushed graham crackers and sugar to devour with a spoon.

About five years ago, I got the biggest craving for pie - both to savor it, myself, and to share it with friends (what pie is best for). I baked up five in one day, and we had what became our first annual Pie Day. Every year, it's gotten a little bigger, and finally this year I took my head out of the oven and let everyone else do some baking. As of this weekend's event, we've now gone from five homemade pies in our first year to... brace your sweet tooth, friends... eighteen!! 

This year, we co-hosted the daylong party with another friend-couple, Sarah and Nat, who held the pie-eating portion in their own kitchen. I brought a Shaker Lemon Pie (pictured with the striped kitchen towel, below), a new recipe with thin slices of whole lemons and a flaky double crust. But the winner of the day (yes, we vote - pie chart coming): Laura's Spinach-Proscuitto Pie. Mmmmm, savory pies are delicious!

Here are both my and Laura's recipes, and later this week, I'll share more of the party activities that spanned two houses and the whole neighborhood in between: Pedals and a Picture Show!

Spinach Prosciutto Pie

2 Tbsp. olive oil
8 oz. prosciutto chopped
4 whole green onions chopped
4 garlic cloves chopped
1½ tsp. dried oregano
40 oz. frozen spinach
2 eggs beaten
¼ c. whipping cream
3 oz. parmesan cheese grated
1 or two pie crusts

Thaw spinach in fridge overnight. Press all moisture out of spinach. In a large pan, heat olive oil and saut̩ prosciutto, onions, garlic, oregano & a little salt and pepper. Add spinach to pan and heat through another 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Preheat oven to 375. Combine eggs and whipping cream. When reasonably cool, press spinach mixture into a pie plate. Pour & spread egg mixture on top and then sprinkle the cheese on top. Spread a crust over the top and add air vents for steam. Bake for 25 Р30 min. Cool for 10 min. and enjoy!

Notes: A crust below the pie is optional. This pie freezes well, so make 2 at a time, bake them both, allow to cool, eat one, saran wrap the other and freeze.

2 large lemons, preferably Meyers (I used 3 regular ones.)
2 c. sugar
1/4 t. salt
4 eggs
4 T. butter, melted
3 T. all-purpose flour
1 egg white
Coarse sugar, for sprinkling
Dough for one double-crust pie
Click Smitten Kitchen link above for full recipe with instructions.

Note: I've tried a lot of recipes, and this is the best pie crust I've ever made or possibly eaten! Butter makes everything better!

Makes enough dough for one double-, or two single-crust pies.
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (8 ounces, 16 tablespoons or 1 cup) unsalted butter, very cold
Click Smitten Kitchen link above for full recipe with instructions.


  1. I am still upset that I was out of town! Sunday I scoured Charlotte looking for a birthday pie for myself, and nary a pie to be found. Next time I will be there!

  2. I hate you didn't get a birthday pie this year, but I do hope you had a very happy birthday! I know you're big on crust, so you should try out that crust recipe I posted. It was absolutely amazing - the flakiest, best tasting one I've ever made! I had some scraps that I baked up with a little bit of jam - that'd be perfect for a crust-lover like you!