Hey there, Sugar Pie!

Tonight, I had the privilege of helping two cool teenagers bake a Cherry Pie. One of my daughter’s friends wanted to make a pie for her dad’s birthday, so they did. They even made homemade crust! I was proud of them AND myself. I’m a control freak–especially in the kitchen–so letting them do the work was an accomplishment for everyone. They really did a terrific job! We hope her dad loves the pie–cherry’s his favorite.

Next on the pie docket was a new pie for me, Sugar Pie or Tarte au Sucre. I used a recipe from my favorite PIE cookbook. What a fun pie to make! The girls used homemade crusts for their pie, but I had one store-bought crust left, so I used that for the Sugar Pie. Here’s how it went down.

First, I made this crumble stuff. It has butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt all crumbled together. I don’t have a pastry blender, so I used my hands. Worked great for getting the pieces small.

After the crumbly stuff was made, I set it aside to get the crust ready. I crimped it and put it in the freezer for about 10 minutes. I’ve come to really appreciate this step, especially when pre-baking is involved. If you’re going to put foil and beans in a crust, it better be tough, and freezing does the trick for keeping it intact during baking.

The filling is made from maple syrup (I confess that I used regular old grocery store syrup–it takes a whole cup, and that’s all I had), eggs, and a little bit of baking soda. I heated the syrup up to “just a little above room temperature” on the stove-top and then whisked in everything else. 

All the while, the crust was cooling from where I had pre-baked it. The pre-baking process takes at least 30 minutes, but I have found that it really ensures a crispy crust which makes any pie tastier.

Next, I poured the yummy, syrupy filling over one half of the crumbs in the pie shell. 

Finally, I sprinkled the remainder of the crumble mixture on top of the filling. So it was crumbs, then syrup, then crumbs. 

Now, for the record, this process is similar to the construction of a Shoofly Pie. Shoofly Pie is one of the few foods on this planet that I seriously would be fine never eating again. Yuck. It’s those molasses. But Sugar Pie has no molasses, so I had hope.

The pie baked for just 30 minutes, and the recipe cautioned not to go over 30 minutes, even if the filling seemed jiggly, which it absolutely did. I allowed the pie to cool for about 45 minutes. Although it had come out of the oven sort of “poofy,” it ended up looking really good.

Now, I should have waited longer, I think, to taste the pie. Almost all pies are better if they cool for a couple of hours. But you know me–no waiting. So I sliced into that sucker. It was kinda droopy–really needed the cooling time, BUT….

It tasted like Christmas morning.

Or some other awesomely wonderful day that you want to go to. I’m here to tell ya, folks, it’s the first pie I have LICKED OFF OF THE PLATE. I just didn’t want it to end. 

It did not taste like syrup or any other specific thing. Just warm, beautiful, smooth SUGAR. It fit its name perfectly.

I love it when something is what it claims to be.

I have heard deceptive descriptions before, for sure. Especially about food. For example, “Tasty, nutritious, fiber” or “Fresh, bright, vegetable delight!”

Other food lies include, “You’ll never know it’s sugar free!” or “You won’t miss the calories!”

Umm…yes. Yes, I will. 

So tell it like it is–food or otherwise!

I’ll end with this quote–a favorite of my Dad’s:

“Be what you is, and not what you ain’t. ‘Cause you ain’t what you is, if you is what you ain’t.”

True. So true.


4 thoughts on “Hey there, Sugar Pie!

  1. fortyandtwentyblackbirds says:

    Bev, it really is just called PIE, and it is by Ken Haedrich. The New York times described it as a “masterful pastry tome,” and I agree! Over 300 recipes and LOTS of good baking advice. It was worth every penny.

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