Category Archives: Pie

Sticky Bottom Pie Crusts

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pecan pie plates tea set
I was sitting at a table with friends the other night at our Community Bible Study leadership potluck and Christmas party.  My friend Mary Ann said, “Jo and Catherine, you both cook a lot, can you tell me how to keep pecan pie from sticking on the bottom?”

Well, I sat up a little straighter knowing this conversation was about to be right up my alley.  I glanced over at our friend Jo who said, “you are filling it too full.  I have never had that problem and I am careful not to over-fill.”  Mary Ann quickly nodded her head and said, “well, that could be my problem since I always want to get every bit of deliciousness out of the bowl.”

Then it was my turn to add a nugget of wisdom to the conversation.  I smiled at my tablemates and opened my mouth to speak when to my right my dear sweet, and I must say very-timely, husband appeared having just returned from the dessert table.  “Well honey bunch” he began, “your Chess Pie looks great but it stuck on the bottom.”

Lemon Chess Pie whole
I nearly choked on my own sweet smile and said, “how interesting, we were just discussing how to prevent that from happening.”   Evidently I have no secret wisdom at all!

Lemon chess pie down
Truthfully, I have had the “sticky-bottom” on many pies and only recently decided the cure-all is to lightly spray canola oil in the pie pan before laying down the crust.  On second thought, that may not always work! 🙂

So, I did what I often do and Googled the answer to this dilemma.

From Emeril Lagasse’s pecan pie recipe a reviewer wrote:
Flour to the bottom of the crust to keep the crust from sticking, this one did not stick at all.

From, a blog post sponsored by Pam says: Using Pam Cooking Spray helps release dough sticking to your work surface and your hands which is an essential tool for baking a pie.  (So take this for what it is worth … being sponsored by Pam!)

From website  “You ease the crust into a buttered pie plate, add your filling, and top it off with another thin layer of crust. (Buttering the pie plate is important especially for a pecan pie. The filling tends to leak through the bottom crust and stick, making serving difficult.)” has a lot to say about pie making in general.  You can read it for yourself here.

I also read one post that says if you use a metal pie pan it won’t stick as opposed to using a glass pie plate that always sticks.  I actually haven’t tested that.

Here are few other suggestions:

Next time try dipping the bottom of the bottom of the pie plate into hot water for 10-20 seconds. This will remelt any solid butter and release the crust. It has never failed me for any cake or pie.

I have always made sure to have a light dusting of flour remaining on the crust after it is rolled out. I made pies for restaurants & never had one stick to the pan. For savory pies cornmeal can also be used.

So what does all this add up to?

* Don’t over-fill your pie crust
* Butter or spray the pie plate before using
* If you aren’t sure it will not stick, dip the bottom of the plate in hot water before trying to slice it.

Do you have a sure-fire method of keeping the bottom of your pies from sticking to the pie plate?  If so — please let me know.  I will pass on the information to all of our readers!

Pecan Caramel Pie single
Happy Pie Baking!  And Don’t Forget — the REASON for this Season!

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14

Classic Chess Pie

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lemon Chess pie
Chess pies are a Southern specialty that has a simple filling of eggs, sugar, butter, and a small amount of flour. Some recipes add cornmeal and others include vinegar. Flavorings, such as vanilla, lemon juice, or chocolate are also added to vary the basic recipe.

When I asked my southern-born husband if his Granny made Chess Pie he said “definitely not, never heard of it.”  At that point this Yankee cook and her chief culinary expert were on the same level playing field.  I’ve never heard of it or eaten it until … I came to Tennessee!

Phyllis and the chess pie
When my Floridian, Pennsylvania-born friend, Phyllis, came to visit she immediately exclaimed “where can I get some Chess Pie?  It is my favorite!”
I love coming to Tennessee so I can eat Chess Pie! For a week we ate in various restaurants, local cafes, and even at my house.  No chess pie for Phyllis.

It was the day before she and my friend Kathy were leaving to continue their fall driving vacation.  I woke up at 4 a.m.  That isn’t unusual for me.  And most generally it means I have something to do.  On this particular morning I ran through my mental “to-do” list and was satisfied I did not have any pressing activity calling my name.

WRONG.  Chess Pie.  As I pulled the covers up tight and rolled over to sleep a few more hours I heard Phyllis saying, “where can I get some Chess Pie, it is my favorite!”

I really should have called this guess pie because guess what?  I got up at 4:05 in the morning, fired up the computer, Googled a few recipes and found just the right one.  How did I know it was the right one?  Because Phyllis had told me that “true” chess pie included cornmeal and vinegar in the list of ingredients.

Lemon Chess Pie whole
When the ladies came in from our little guest cabin for breakfast, this pie (and one more) was cooling on the counter.  Phyllis squealed with delight!  The second pie was delivered to my neighbor later that morning.

The origin of the name, Chess Pie, is uncertain, but there are plenty of guesses and a bit of folklore surrounding the name.  My favorite is about the plantation cook who was asked what she was baking that smelled so great – “Jes’ pie” was her answer. 🙂

The recipe I used came from My and was featured in Southern Living March 2000.  I made one change that we all think is a keeper.  The recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of white vinegar.  I happen to have Coconut flavored vinegar that came from a specialty olive oil and vinegar shop in Florida.  I had never used it and now know that it was made for chess pie!  It adds a fantastic light, rich, slightly coconut flavor.  Oh my word, you have just got to try this.

This pie is not eggy.  It is sweet, rich, custard with a crunchy crust (from the cornmeal.)

Lemon chess pie down
My family loves it and I have made another one since their visit.  Soon I’ll be trying Lemon Chess Pie and Chocolate Chess Pie.

With Thanksgiving just around the corner — it’s pie time!

Happy Baking,

1 Chronicles 29:11-13

11 Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. 12 Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. 13 And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name.

Classic Chess Pie
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Made with on-hand ingredients this classic pie is a southern favorite. Cornmeal and vinegar set this recipe apart from others and creates a crunchy, lovely crust across the top of the pie.
Serves: 6 slices
  • 1 9" round pie crust
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup butter or margarine, melted
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar or coconut flavored vinegar*
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  1. Fit piecrust into a 9-inch pieplate according to package directions; fold edges under, and crimp.
  2. Line pastry with aluminum foil, and fill with pie weights or dried beans.
  3. Bake at 425° for 4 to 5 minutes. Remove weights and foil; bake 2 more minutes or until golden. Cool.
  4. Stir together sugar and next 7 ingredients until blended. Add eggs, stirring well. Pour into piecrust.
  5. Bake at 350° for 50 to 55 minutes, shielding edges with aluminum foil after 10 minutes to prevent excessive browning. Cool completely on a wire rack.
  6. Serve at room temperature, plain or with whipped cream
  7. Refrigerate leftovers.
* White vinegar or a flavored vinegar such as coconut works wonderfully.
Optional: Coconut Chess Pie: Prepare filling as directed above; stir in 1 cup toasted flaked coconut before pouring into piecrust. Bake as directed above.

Recipe adapted from Southern Living 2000.



All-American Apple Crumb Pie

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apple crumb pie whole
Can you stand one more apple recipe?  If you are like me you may still have a few apples around from the fall bounty.  I made this Apple Crumb Pie a few weeks back and it reminded me of how much I like the simplicity of making a crumb topping pie!  It also reminded me that I don’t always have to reinvent the wheel in the kitchen.  There is a reason apple pie is an all-American favorite dessert through generations of cooks. caramel apple pie before
My sous-chef dish-washing mom was just getting back to speed after 16 rounds of radiation treatment and the pie seemed to be just the right comfort food for her. apple crumb pie fork
I adore caramel pared with apple and so after preparing the pie according to the I found at I drizzle a good bit of caramel ice cream topping before adding the crumb topping.  The caramel added the nostalgic taste of caramel apple that I was looking for.

apple crumb pie 3/4
If you haven’t made a crumb pie lately, this just may be the day!

Happy Baking!

P.S.  It is our privilege, our right and our responsibility to vote in America.  Be sure and make your voice heard today.i-voted

Deuteronomy 1:13

“Choose for your tribes wise, understanding, and experienced men, and I will appoint them as your heads.”

Apple Crumb Pie
An All-American Favorite cranked up a notch with a drizzle of caramel and a crumb topping. Easy to make and wonderfully comforting to eat!
Serves: 8 servings
  • 1 Pie shell (9")
  • 6 cups thinly sliced granny smith apples
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ cup raisins (optional, but very good!)
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts (optional, but also very good!)
  • ¼ cup caramel topping (optional for drizzle)
Crumb Topping
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Prepare pastry shell into pie plate, fluting edges, if desired.
  3. Place sliced apples in a large bowl sprinkle with lemon juice.
  4. In a small bowl, mix together white sugar, 2 Tablespoons flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Sprinkle mixture over apples. Toss until apples are evenly coated.
  5. Stir in walnuts and raisins. Spoon mixture into prepared pastry shell.
  6. Drizzle with caramel topping.
  7. In a small bowl mix remaining ½ cup flour and brown sugar. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle mixture over apple filling. Cover top loosely with aluminum foil.
  8. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake and additional 25 minutes, until top is golden brown. Apples should be done but not squishy.
  9. Cool on wire rack.
  10. Serve with ice cream, if desired.
Granny Smith apples make a great pie, but you may use Fuji, Gala or your favorite baking apple as well.

Recipe adapted from by Jackie Smith

Award Winning Apple Walnut Berry Galette

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Lee 1st place southern classicLee after the race!
There are many things I love about the fall and October in particular. One of which is the half-marathon my awesome husband likes to run in the first week of the month.  This year he had a “big” birthday which catapulted him into a new age group at this half-marathon.  Even though he had just ran 13.1 miles adequate training kept him from coming across the finish line huffing and puffing.  Instead he came across quite happy as he saw his time of 2 hours and 9 minutes.  It isn’t his personal best, but it was good enough to win him first place in his category.  I’m so proud of him!

apple berry galette facedown
When we arrived home I wanted to make something special to top off our celebratory dinner.  However, I wanted it easy.  After all, I got up extra early, did a little shopping while he ran, and then cheered him on … oh wait, I wasn’t actually there to cheer him on at the finish line.  Well, that is the rest of the story.

My sole job responsibility for this half-marathon was to get the photo of Lee running across the finish line, WITH the timing clock in the foreground.  Okay, no problem, I had 2 hours and 9 minutes to get ready.  But I actually had calculated that based on his recent training runs he would be crossing the finish line at 2 hours and 23 minutes. The guy and the babySo, at 2 hours and 9 minutes I was actually totally captivated by a young father who had just come across the finish line pushing his 5 month old daughter in her stroller.  About the time he was telling me that this was “her” second half-marathon, I felt a tap on the shoulder.  I spun around to see my marathon runner who said, “Hey, what’s up girl?”  I believe I actually screamed, at least in my head all I heard was screaming. There was a roar pounding in my ears as his bright blue-gray eyes were twinkling and I tried to wrap my head around him standing before me.“Where did you come from?  The finish line?  Are you done?  What about the picture… the picture!  When will I stop asking these stupid questions?”

I didn’t get the shot.  I totally missed him running across the finish line.  Bottom line — now I have to pay $22 to someone else who WAS paying attention as he ran across the finish line.

apple berry galette upclose
I may have been a loser at getting the photo but my big comeback was this deliciously sweet and tart apple-blueberry galette.  This free-form pastry takes only minutes to prepare and is ready to serve when dinner is finished.

Award Win Apple Walnut Blueb galette






I first learned how to make galette during a baking session from Julia Child’s cookbook making a Triple Berry Galette.  For our savory taste I have made a Tomato and Cheese Galette and a Pepperoni and Cheese one as well!

apple berry galette single







But for an award-winning celebration this apple-walnut-blueberry combination was worthy.

Lee First Place Finish Southern TN Classic
Take it from me, you can make any mealtime a celebration with this lovely galette.

Happy Baking!

Award Winning Apple Walnut Berry Galette
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A favorite easy-peasy free-form pastry!
Serves: 6 slices
  • 1 - 9" round pie crust, homemade or store-bought
  • 3 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 3 apples, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • ½ cup walnuts, lightly chopped
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Milk to desired consistency
  1. Place pie crust on baking sheet sprayed with oil or covered with parchment paper.
  2. Spread softened cream cheese on pie crust, beginning in the middle and extending to about 2" from the edge all around.
  3. Layer sliced apples, blueberries and walnuts.
  4. Carefully bring up edges of the crust towards the center forming a free-form pie.
  5. Sprinkle lightly with sugar.
  6. Bake at 375 degrees F. until pastry is lightly brown and blueberries bubbling, about 35 minutes.
  7. While cooling, mix up the confectioner's sugar glaze.
  8. When pie has cooled spread drizzle with glaze, slice and enjoy!
The best apples to bake are granny smith, gala, or fuji. You may mix the apple types also for a nice variation.
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