10 March 2010

Sweet Treat: Mother's Famous Father's Favorite Graham Cracker Pie

Last week I had a craving for my mom's graham cracker pie. The filling is basically very similar to a French creme anglaise. The story in our family about this pie was that when my mom used to cook for the hired farmhands on their North Dakota farm, one of the hired men loved this particular pie so much he told my mom he'd pay her some exorbitant sum to make a whole pie just for him. My dad (this was his favorite pie) would have gladly taken the money, but my mother made the pie and didn't charge the man anything. She said after she made it and gave it to the hired hand, he carried the pie on horseback to wherever he was rooming. She said she had no idea how the pie must have looked upon arrival. It's a fragile type custard filling and truthfully, it'd be good simply spooned out of the pie pan. I am sure the guy didn't care. (This is a comforting pie for a rainy dreary day. My dad and I liked eating it warm from the oven, but if you want it less runny, you should let it cool awhile until it sets. I liked making it and thinking about my mom.)

Graham Cracker Crust:
about 1 1/2 cups crushed graham crackers
1/4 cup melted butter
2 tbsp. sugar

Mix together and press in pie pan (I used a 9 inch pie pan). Bake 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees.

Mix 2/3 cup sugar and 1/2 cup cornstarch in a bowl. Stir in 1/2 cup milk.

Put 2 1/2 cups milk in a kettle and bring to a boil. Whisk in the sugar and cornstarch mixture, stirring constantly, as it sticks easily.

Separate 3 eggs. Whisk egg yokes together and add a little hot mixture to them, then pour all back into the kettle. Then add 2 tablespoons butter and 1 tsp. vanilla. Cook, until thick, stirring constantly (I use a whisk). Pour on graham cracker crust.

Meringue: Whip 3 egg whites with 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar until foamy, then add 1/4 cup sugar and whip whites until stiff peaks form. Spread on pie up to edges and bake 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees or until meringue is brown.