Posts tagged ‘pie’

DSC_4908It’s less than two weeks until baby’s due date, and last night I awoke with what was perhaps my only, or at least my most intense and bizarre food craving. Admittedly, I have been a hound for sour cream, yogurt – okay, dairy products of all kinds. That, and Barbara’s Multigrain Spoonfuls cereal. So it’s not like I’ve been totally without… needs. But all along I’ve figured that these “cravings” have been little morse-coded messages from my body, alerting me to actual need for calcium, fat, fiber, etc. And I’m pretty confident the baby-factory didn’t require the nutrients found within a giant bowl of graham cracker crumbs mixed with melted butter.

Because that is what I desired at 3 o’clock in the morning. A delicious, buttery slurry of busted-up graham crackers. Which, of course, we didn’t have; in fact, I can’t even think of the last time I bought a box of graham crackers. And while we’ve all heard the schtick of a wife sending her husband out to the grocery store for a midnight container of Ben & Jerry’s and a jar of pickles, I tossed and turned, trying to turn my mind away from my sinful craving. I didn’t figure Justin would go for such a demand, and anyway, we live in Maine, not New York City. The local Hannaford isn’t exactly 24-7.

Although the intensity of my obsession had cooled by morning, I was still keen on picking up a box of grahams. I started thinking about a more civilized option for my salad bowl of buttered crumbs. Perhaps a nice graham cracker crust pie. Filled with a dairy-rich custard. At first I thought about a fruit-topped pie, but then my mind wandered to coconut. I had a bag in our pantry, and upon a quick internet search I found an easy recipe for coconut cream pie, compliments of Emeril Lagasse. Bam.

The big man’s recipe called for a regular old pie crust, which I edited out in place of my desired graham cracker crust. The whole shebang took about 45 minutes, and I must say I was pleased with the results. Topped with fluffy meringue and served with a few slices of fresh mango and kiwi, it was a perfect treat for a snowy, Saturday evening.

Here’s how to make it:

To prepare the graham cracker crust, crush or use a food processor/blender to make 1 1/2 cups of crumbs (about 10 full sized graham crackers).  Toss the crumbs with 1/2 cup sugar, a little bit of cinnamon, and a handful of toasted coconut. Melt 1 stick of butter and thoroughly stir into the crumb mixture. Pack the buttery crumbs into a standard pie plate, permitting yourself to eat at least one spoonful, and bake the crust for 8-10 minutes in an oven at 350 degrees.

Because I did not make any alterations to Mr. Lagasse’s coconut cream recipe, I’ll link to it here.



June in Maine means rhubarb. While I love this tangy vegetable, I don’t particularly care for the solution that so many pie recipes take, which is to team it up with a load of sugar, or mushy, cooked strawberries, in order to counter rhubarb’s natural sourness. What’s more, I find the texture of all-rhubarb or strawberry-rhubarb pies to be a little too … well, gelatinous. Luckily, I’ve got rhubarb custard pie to turn to. One of my favorites, my dad and I always demanded that my mom make this pie at the beginning summer, and it’s a tradition I’ve carried over into my own kitchen since returning to Maine.


Although you might debate my gripe against strawberry-rhubarb pie, it’s pretty hard to make a case against custard. Who isn’t looking for an excuse to eat custard? It provides a nice base for the rhubarb to sit up on, and keeps it from disintegrating into a gummy goo. This allows the rhubarb to retain its natural shape and flavor – so you get pure rhubarb tang in each bite. While I must admit the custard in this recipe is sugary, it is balanced by the warmth and sturdiness of egg and nutmeg. Yes, in my book custard is an ideal partner for rhubarb, further made perfect by a lattice-top double crust and a dollop of really good vanilla ice cream.

To be honest, because I can’t say enough about this pie, I’m finding it hard to say anything about it. I recommend you make it. Your loved ones will thank you. Note that the recipe that follows does not include measurements for pie dough; just make your preferred recipe in a double-crust quantity. One thing that I’ve discovered over the years is that this pie does not benefit from a large pie plate; standard 9 or 10 inches is best for ensuring the custard is well-set without sacrificing your crust in extended cooking. Interestingly, this recipe has disappeared from newer versions of the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook, which is where my mom originally found it. A bit of an antique, it is well worth dusting off.


Rhubarb Custard Pie

Prepare 5 cups of rhubarb, sliced into one-inch pieces. Set aside.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees, and make your pie dough. Lay the bottom crust in the pie plate, and roll out the top crust.

MIx up your custard by whisking together 1 1/2 cups sugar (fine organic cane sugar is best), 1/4 cup flour, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, dash of salt, and 3 eggs. Once smooth, add the rhubarb to custard and mix together so the all the rhubarb is coated. Add the mix to your bottom crusted pie plate.

Dot the filling with a tablespoon or two of butter (broken into pea-sized pieces). Cut the pre-rolled upper crust into one-inch wide strips to form your lattice. Weave your lattice over the top of the pie, crimping off the edges. Sprinkle with coarse-grain sugar and bake at 400 degrees for 50 minutes.

I use Mrs. Anderson’s Pie Crust Shield to protect the edges, and allow the pie to stand in the cooling oven when I turn it off after the 50 minutes. Using a standard 9 or 10 inch pie plate, your custard should set up fine!