Books roll out varied selections for pie fans


October 31, 2007|By Kate Shatzkin | Kate Shatzkin,Sun reporter

Bubby's Homemade Pies

By Ron Silver and Jen Bervin

Sweety Pies

By Patty Pinner

The Taunton Press / 2007 / $23

If you find sustenance in the narrative as well as the eating of pie, this is your book. Subtitled "An Uncommon Collection of Womanish Observations, With Pie," the homespun volume tells a story with every recipe. For their creators -- women from author Patty Pinner's life in Saginaw, Mich., -- the pies become potent vehicles of self-expression. Pie fillings range beyond the traditional to incorporate such ingredients as beans, mandarin oranges, grits and rice.

Unfortunately, there's not the same diversity when it comes to crusts. Most of the pies use the same all-shortening crust recipe. I found that dough a little hard to work with and a bit lacking in flavor when I used it to make Sherry's Chocolate-Chip-Pecan Pie. But the pie, with a layer of chocolate chips added to the pecan filling, was rich enough to hold any taster's attention, and would be welcome at the Thanksgiving table.

Sherry's Chocolate-Chip-Pecan Pie

-- Serves 10 to 12

CRUST: 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup chilled vegetable shortening

3 tablespoons ice-cold heavy cream or evaporated milk, more or less as needed


1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup ( 1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup light corn syrup

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

For the crust, sift the flour, sugar and salt together in a medium-size to large bowl. Cut in shortening until the mixture resembles a bowl of sweet peas. Tossing the mixture quickly and lightly with a fork, sprinkle in the cream or milk 1 tablespoon at a time. (It's better to err on the side of not having enough liquid than to have too much.) Continue tossing until the dough holds together when lightly pressed.

With lightly floured hands, loosely gather up the dough into a flat ball, place it in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until you are ready to roll out the crust, from 30 minutes to no longer than overnight. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Press dough into a flat disk and roll out a bit larger than your pie plate; press into plate and crimp decoratively.

For the filling: In a medium-size bowl, cream together the sugar and the melted butter until light and creamy. Beat in the eggs. Add the corn syrup, salt and vanilla extract and blend until well combined. Spread the chopped pecans and the chocolate chips evenly over the bottom of the crust, then pour the filling on top. Place in the oven and bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack before serving.

From "Sweety Pies"

Per slice (based on 12 slices): 503 calories, 5 grams protein, 33 grams fat, 12 grams saturated fat, 51 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams fiber, 78 milligrams cholesterol, 111 milligrams sodium

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