Miss Ina’s Fudge Pie

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One of my favorite things in the world is baking pies, especially pies with a rich history behind them. Miss Ina’s Fudge Pie is a recipe shared with me years ago by a precious, sweet lady named Ina Doster. I attended church with Miss Ina for many years growing up and she was always happy to share the recipe with anyone who asked. As my pie baking skills have grown, I have still not found an easier, simpler, or more consistently delicious pie recipe in all my baking forays.

Miss Ina told us that the recipe was passed down from her grandmother, Lula Carrol, from the late 1800s. Originally, Miss Ina says, the flour was pure and you had to add baking soda to the recipe. Today, you don’t need the baking soda, which brings the ingredient total down to a mere 6 ingredients, not including the pie shell.

You truly can’t go wrong with this sweet delight. I wholeheartedly encourage any first-time pie baker to try it, as it’s the easiest pie I know how to make. At the same time, experienced bakers will love its simplicity and comfort. Miss Ina, thank you for all the beautiful things I have learned from you. And thank you, for your trademark fudge pie.

 

Ingredients
1 stick melted margarine
1/4 cup cocoa
1/4 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
unbaked pie shell

Directions
1. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.
2. Prick holes in the pie shell using a fork.
3. Pour mixture into pie shell.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes, or until no longer jiggly in the middle.

Banny’s Famous Chocolate Pie

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What’s in a name? The name of this post might have drawn you to this recipe, wondering who someone named “Banny” was. Or maybe it was the pictures, worth a thousand words. Either way, you’re going to get the story, as every good recipe should have a story behind it. Banny was my great-grandmother, a tough, outspoken, petite woman of the South. You know, the type to fuss at the preacher man for not getting by to see her more often. Banny was also a dedicated woman, loyal to her faith and her family, even when it wasn’t easy. I have few things of hers today, a few jewelry pieces my mother gave me, a pair of fancy red gloves. I will probably inherit some of her old clothes my mom keeps in a cedar chest. And I still have her smell. Smells are easy memories. But perhaps the thing I have the most is her recipe for chocolate pie.

It was one of the first pies I made, and it is, at the same time, both one of the best and one of the most difficult. Perhaps that’s what family gives us: delight and joy in the midst of serious effort. Her chocolate pie takes time to cook – the pudding filling is real, not some jello-based faux pas. The pie shell must be baked ahead. The meringue must be whipped, perfectly, and remember, Banny would have made meringue with a true hand mixer, an old-timey metal contraption with a crank and two mix-hands that whirred into each other, slowly. And then it must be baked again to seal the meringue on top and finish the perfect, beautiful topping that is a chocolate meringue pie. I am proud of this pie, each time I make it, because it is a piece of my past, a piece of a strong woman who knew what it took to create something beautiful. I hope you do, too. Enjoy.

 

Ingredients

Pie filling:

2 1/2 tbsp. flour (all purpose)

2 egg yolks

3 tbsp. cocoa

2 cups milk

1 cup sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

1 deep dish pie shell

Topping:

2 egg whites

1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

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Directions:

1. Pre-cook pie shell at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes, or until golden.

2. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites, putting the whites into a small bowl, and the yolks into a nonstick pot (or the top of a double boiler; I find either works).

3. Add the rest of the pie ingredients to the pot (the flour, cocoa, milk, sugar and vanilla). Cook on medium heat until pudding “consists.” (These are the original directions; this word mainly means until the pudding starts to thicken.)

4. Pour the chocolate pudding into the cooked pie shell.

5. Prepare the topping by beating the egg whites until stiff, then adding the sugar and vanilla. Pour the meringue topping over the chocolate pudding layer and spread evenly.

6. Cook on 350 for about 10 minutes or until the meringue is golden brown.

7. Allow to cool, then refrigerate to make sure it solidifies well. Keep refrigerated. Best enjoyed either slightly warmed or cold.

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Matthew’s Take: The chocolate pudding portion of Banny’s pie is the best I’ve ever eaten. What makes it even better: This pie is part of our family history. When you combine the chocolate pudding with a golden crust and the creamy, slightly crunchy meringue, you get one of the best desserts you’ll put in your mouth. This recipe gets my highest marks for taste. I will warn you that it’s not the simplest of pies to make, but just take that as an opportunity to bake and enjoy something uniquely special.

Molly’s Take: Clearly, this pie is one of my favorites. The strategy of baking the pie shell first, as well as the limited amount of time the pie actually spends in the oven, ensures that the shell itself doesn’t burn as easily as it tends to do in many pies. So you end up with a perfectly done pie shell, a creamy, chocolate pudding center, and a toasted, sweet meringue topping. I like this pie warmed or cold. It’s truly a treat.

Creamy Peanut Butter Custard Pie

After receiving some extra peanut butter from a relative, I decided the obvious thing to do was find a new recipe to use it! In a First United Methodist of Stanley (N.C.) cookbook, I found the perfect one: Peanut Butter Custard. Even better, the recipe had been submitted by Matthew’s mom, Chris Tessnear! It is by far one of the easiest pies I’ve ever had the pleasure of baking, and it is unique and delicious in taste.

Ingredients

4 eggs

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup sugar

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

2 cups milk (lukewarm)

Deep dish pie shell

Whipped cream

Directions

1. Mix all ingredients in a blender (or use a hand mixer) and pour into the pie shell. Be careful to mix thoroughly, because the peanut butter will try to stick to the bottom of the bowl.

2. Bake at 400 for 40 minutes or until set. (I also suggest putting a pie crust shield on about halfway through to prevent crust burning. It worked fantastically for me!)


Molly’s take: Add a dollop of whipped cream to a warm slice of this peanut buttery pie and you have arrived in heaven. The pie is not too sweet and perfect with just a little garnishing. It baked easily and I had no trouble telling if it was done. The timing was perfect. The recipe is easy, requires only one bowl, and once you’ve mixed it together, it’s ready to bake. I do recommend pie crust shields, as my oven often burns pie crusts (on the edges) if I’m not careful. Try this pie if you like peanut butter, custard pies, or just want a different sweet treat for dessert. 🙂

Matthew’s take: Perhaps the most unique and pleasing part of this pie for me was its level of sweetness. It wasn’t rich like the chocolatey pies of the world, but it also wasn’t a sweetless, savory pie option. No, it baked perfectly right in between. The mixture of ingredients combine to keep you from being too heavy on the peanut butter taste, too. With this pie, you get less of the inside of a Reece’s Peanut Butter Cup and more of a smooth, slightly nutty custard. This is definitely one I would recommend to someone who likes desserts but isn’t a big fan of chocolate or heavy sweet treats.

Decadent Toll House Pie

When I first tried a Toll House Pie, at Pike’s Soda Shop in Charlotte, N.C., I knew this was a pie I had to try at home. After perusing some old cookbooks passed down to us, I found a recipe for one. The recipe is by Rene Leonard, and it is certainly one of the more unique pies I’ve made. It differs from the restaurant pie in that it is more gooey and less cookie-like. If you make it, let me know how you like it!

Ingredients

1 cup butter (melted and cooled to room temp.)

1 six-ounce package semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup walnuts (chopped)

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

2 eggs

Whipped cream or ice cream (for topping)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. In a large bowl, beat the eggs until foamy, then add the flour, sugar and brown sugar and beat until well blended.

3. Blend in the melted butter.

4. Stir in the chocolate morsels and walnuts.

5. Pour into the pie shell.

6. Bake for 1 hour.

7. Remove from oven and serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream. Enjoy!

Matthew’s take: Chocolate-and-nut combinations make for some of my favorite pies. This particular pie’s strength is its duo of walnuts and chocolate chips. It almost has a cake-like consistency within a pie shell. You get the gooey of the chocolate and the crunch of the nuts. A slice is tasty by itself, but it’s also delicious with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Molly’s take: This pie was very different from any pie I’ve ever made. The combination of pie filling, chocolate chips and walnuts made for a tasty concoction. The only thing I wish I could have done differently is find a way to keep the pie all mixed together as it bakes. This may be a typical thing, but my pie separated into chocolate chips on the bottom and walnuts on the top. If I figure out a solution, I’ll post an update! Overall, very good, but not one of my absolute favorites.

Heavenly Butterscotch Pie

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(By Molly)

For me, finding a new pie recipe is kind of like finding treasure. It’s never guarded by a dragon, unless you count the oven; it’s a fairly easy conquest; and the reward at the end is always worth the effort.

This time, I was entranced by a Butterscotch Pie recipe found in the First United Methodist Church of Stanley’s “Lilies of the Field” cookbook. You know the kind, one of those old-timey, spiral-bound cookbooks filled with tried and true delectable delights. This delight was no disappointment.

The pie is light and airy, with a whipped feel that doesn’t quite approach custard. This is due to the final step of folding in the whipped egg whites before baking. It certainly has a delicious buttery, butterscotch taste that I never would’ve believed was this easy to create. Without further ado, the Butterscotch Pie, which I have aptly delineated “Heavenly.”

Ingredients

1 cup brown sugar

3 tbsp. cornstarch

1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/2 cups milk, scalded

3 eggs, separated

3 tbsp. butter

1 tsp. vanilla

Directions

1. Pre-bake the pie shell at 375 degrees until golden brown.

2. Mix the dry ingredients together with a whisk, in the top of a non-stick pot.

3. Scald the milk in the microwave (I find this easier than scalding on the stove), by cooking for about 2-3 minutes. Keep an eye on it, because it will easily boil over in your microwave.

4. Gradually stir in the milk into the dry ingredients until the mixture is smooth.

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5. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook for 15 minutes or until thickened.

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6. Beat the 3 egg yolks until foamy. Add a few spoonfuls of the hot mixture into the egg yolks and stir. Then add the yolks to the pudding mixture. (This is very important so the mixture doesn’t cook the egg yolks.)

7. Cook for about 5 minutes, then remove from heat.

8. Add butter and vanilla.

9. Whip the egg whites until stiff, then fold into the pudding mix.

10. Pour into the already-baked pie shell and bake for 10 minutes (at the same temperature as you baked the pie shell, 375) until light, golden brown.

11. Enjoy!

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Molly’s Take: I don’t think I’ve ever had such a light, airy, sweet dessert as this Butterscotch Pie. It truly delights with its warm, brown sugar, butterscotch taste and the smooth texture created by the combination of the whipped egg whites and pudding. I’ll definitely keep this one on tap as one of my go-to sweet pie recipes. It truly is a praiseworthy pie!

Matthew’s Take: I’ve had all kinds of custard pies. And I’ve had a few butterscotch-filling desserts that my mom has made over the years. This Butterscotch Pie is different than all of them. It has a very tasty and unique texture that, as Molly said, isn’t quite custard. It’s not quite pudding either. The top also offers a different consistency than the tops of most pies. It has what appears to be an ever-so-thin crust on top. There’s an interesting combination of light and richness with this pie that I’m not sure I’ve ever experienced. It’s a nice choice for a different option for a simple, light and satisfying dessert.

Delightfully Simple Amish Oatmeal Pie

Some recipes are complicated. Others can fit entirely in an iPhone screenshot. My new favorite pie in the world is of the latter variety. An old-fashioned recipe from the Amish, it features oatmeal (the inexpensive type you buy in a round tube at the store) as its star player. The pie itself is reminiscent of pecan, but less gooey and sticky, perhaps because of the milk it includes. This makes the base of the pie a delicious mix between pecan-pie-gooey-goodness and custardy-smooth delight.

Without further ado, the Amish Oatmeal.

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Ingredients: 

3 eggs, beaten

2/3 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar

2 tbsp. butter, melted

2/3 cup oats

2/3 cup milk

1 tsp. vanilla

 

Directions:

  1. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl with a whisk until combined.
  2. Pour into an unbaked pie shell (be sure to prick holes in the shell with a fork for ventilation).
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until the pie is cooked through. (My oven usually requires 55 minutes. But surprisingly, it usually doesn’t over-brown the edges.)
  4. Enjoy thoroughly.

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Matthew’s take: My tastebuds recognize two kinds of pies: fruit pies and non-fruit pies. This pie is, hands down, my favorite non-fruit pie, even ahead of pecan pie, chocolate pies, pumpkin and sweet potato pies, and all other custard pies that I love. It has the sweet filling, and the crackle and texture on top, of a pecan pie…without the nuts! Buying pecans costs more, and it adds an element (the nuts) that some people don’t prefer or can’t ingest due to allergies. The other great thing about this pie: it’s sweet without being way too sweet, which caters to people (like my mom and dad) who don’t like their desserts to be too rich and indulgent. This pie’s wonder will surprise you, and as soon as the final slice is gone, you’ll want to bake another.

Molly’s take: This pie is my new absolute favorite to make. No fussy, annoying, sticky pecan pie mess. (I have a love-hate relationship with baking pecan pies. Sometimes they’re great; other times, they won’t set up for what seems like hours. Then, you get a crispy crust and too-hard pecans on the top. But enough complaining.) The Amish Oatmeal Pie is easy, darn easy, and it has a melt-in-your-mouth taste that will scrumptiously satisfy your sweet tooth. Everyone who tries it is bound to like it. If they don’t, there’s somethin’ wrong with ’em!

Light, Sweet & Creamy Egg Custard Pie

By Molly

If you search for an egg custard pie recipe on Pinterest, you’ll have a hard time finding a good, old-fashioned recipe that includes a crust. When I first searched for a recipe, years before Pinterest was a thing, online recipes were mostly just egg custards. There was no pie shell – you know, the part that makes it a pie. I had a hard time, but I finally found this recipe.

It’s one I’ve stuck with for years, because it turns out delicious every time. It won’t be cakey and it won’t look bubbly on top; it’ll be a smooth, creamy custard inside a perfectly baked pie shell. And! I’ll also share a few tricks to fix two problems that I’ve ran into with custard pies before. Those are: burnt pie crust on the top, and pie crust getting soggy on the bottom/not staying on the bottom where it should be. (I’ve had an egg custard once where the pie crust melded with the pie, floating up during baking. You don’t want that.) Here we go!

Ingredients:

1 deep dish pie crust

3 eggs, beaten

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla

2 1/2 cups milk

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1 egg white (for brushing the crust)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Beat the eggs in a small container, then mix eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla well. Slowly blend in milk. If it looks a little frothy, like in the photo below, that’s okay! photo 3
  3. Brush the inside of the pie shell with one egg white – this prevents the pie filling and the shell from melding together and either getting a) soggy or b) mixed together like a messy cobbler.
  4. photo 2Pour into the pie shell. You will definitely want a deep dish shell, because this old-timey recipe makes a lot of pie filling! And those “regular” pie shells have certainly gotten smaller over the years. Sprinkle the top with a little nutmeg.photo 1 (2)
  5. Bake for at least 45 minutes, then cover it with a sheet of tin foil. Then, continue to check the pie at intervals of 15 minutes. The tin foil is the trick to keep the top crust from burning. (As you can see in the photo below, I didn’t do this early enough, but it did stop the crust from getting any darker.)

So when is the pie done? It’s tough to tell with an egg custard. Most people tell you to shake it, but an egg custard will always will be wiggly. Here’s my method: with a towel or oven mitt, pick up the pie on the right side and tilt it slightly to the left. If the entire middle of the pie moves to the edge and looks like it’s going to pour right out of the pie – it’s not done. But – if the middle is holding together and the pie has been cooking for more than an hour, it’s done. Here’s what it should look like. 🙂

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Molly’s take: I hadn’t made an egg custard in a while, so I was nervous about making it as part of an anniversary gift for my husband’s parents. When it came out of the oven (finally!) and we tried a small slice to make sure it tasted right, it was absolutely delightful. My only regret is not making two so we could have eaten the other one! Is this pie easy? Sure, it’s easy to mix up the ingredients and put it in the oven. But it takes a while to make a good egg custard pie. Remember, you’re cooking a lot of eggs and milk into something relatively solid. And you have to put tin foil on the pie to keep it from burning. And you have to check it often. But the end result is absolutely worth it. Now it’s time for me to go make another one…

Matthew’s take: The egg custard is a pie I’ve rarely seen among others at church and other social gatherings over the years. But the egg custard pie is a long-standing tradition in the Tessnear family. It goes back at least as far as my dad’s grandmother on his mother’s side. I grew up eating my mother’s egg custard pies, and this edition was as creamy and tasty as any egg custard pie I’ve ever eaten. Don’t expect to fill up your stomach with an egg custard pie slice. Egg custard is not about quantity. It’s about consistency and taste. The lightness of it makes it a great dessert option following a heavy and filling meal. I give the egg custard pie an A+ for taste, but I would warn you that it’s not the easiest pie to make if you’re not patient, and it will never be the prettiest pie you’ve ever seen from a bright colors standpoint. But you’ll love this pie if you enjoy light desserts and trying a recipe you rarely find on the table.

Old-Timey Brown Sugar Pie

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This is probably one of the first recipes Molly ever made when she started baking. Pies are her favorite, and this is one of her top three choices to bake anytime. (The other two, for reference, are her great-grandmother’s recipes for chocolate pie and sweet potato pie.)

There’s nothing more amazing than pulling this pie out of the oven, freshly baked, warm and perfect, then slicing it after it cools and having a warm, custard-y slice of brown sugar pie with a dash of whipped cream on top. This pie is sooo good, and it keeps for days, so you can rewarm slices of it and they just get better every time.

Many a morning, Molly had a slice of this pie for breakfast. If you’ve never heard of it, we’re not surprised. Matthew had never heard of a brown sugar pie until Molly told him about them. The recipe came from an old (possibly a hundred years old by now) cookbook that Molly’s great-grandmother owned. But just so you can envision its deliciousness, it’s similar in taste to a pecan pie, and in consistency, to an egg custard. Here’s how it’s made.

Ingredients:

1 cup corn syrup

1 cup brown sugar

3 eggs

1 stick butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

Dash of salt

1 deep dish pie crust

Instructions:

IMG_33601) Put the syrup and brown sugar into your bowl and mix together with the three eggs.

2) Melt butter in the microwave. (Try not to make it super hot, but do try to melt most of it.)

3) Add the butter, vanilla and salt.

4) Prepare the pie crust by poking it all over with a fork.

5) Pour the mixture into the pie crust (trust us, you’ll need a deep dish pie crust) and bake in a 350-degree oven until it’s done in the middle. This usually takes about 35 minutes, but it can take longer. To prevent the edges of the pie crust from getting too brown, you can cover them with foil. We also suggest not cooking it too long, since the pie has a tendency to get sticky if you do.

6) Let it cool completely before slicing. (You might want to dip the knife in hot water and wipe it after each slice for a cleaner cut each time.)

Here’s a look at the mind-boggingly delicious, soft, sweet pie with a little piece cut out of it. (It’s messy, we know. We couldn’t wait til it cooled to slice into it.)

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Matthew’s take: What a delicious discovery this was for me. If you add pecans, it’s almost the same as a pecan pie. The brown sugar pie is more custard-like, so the filling consistency is a bit different. It also has a bit of a caramelized consistency to it, so be careful if you have concerns about sticky foods and your teeth. I would highly recommend trying it, the first time without any topping to get the full burst of flavor and texture, and a second time with whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. If you’re like me, you’ll feel a tad more Southern after you have a piece of brown sugar pie. I give it an A+ for taste and a B for presentation. Like pecan pie, brown sugar and many chocolate pies aren’t the prettiest in the world. But who needs pretty when you’re eating a tasty pie anyways? 🙂

Molly’s take: If you’re looking to try something different, old-fashioned and unique, I definitely recommend this delicious, sweet pie. It’s got simple ingredients (I actually have the recipe memorized) and is something almost anyone will like. (Except my mom, who’s a chocaholic and refuses any offering not made with cocoa.) We hope you’ll give it a try. Be adventurous! You just might like it. 🙂