Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Raisin Streusel Pie and Going A.W.O.L. Again
On Facebook, there's been a shtick going 'round to be assigned a number and then come up with that many unknown tidbits about yourself. I was invited twice, and in the second round I noted this point:
My maternal grandmother was a wonderful home baker, and she used to make a fabulous raisin pie. The Amish call it "Funeral Pie," as they always have dried fruit on hand and the pies can then be made quickly when there's news of a death in the community. I haven't had raisin pie in probably more than 40 years … I should make one some time. I don't think any of my loved ones would eat it, which is just fine by me.
This tidbit got a lot of attention, as folks told me how unique the pie sounded; compared it to Japanese Fruit Pie (which I'd never heard of, but which apparently combines raisins, pecans, and coconut); and mentioned that they had relatives who loved raisin pie. So I offered a recipe from Marcia Adams, who included it in her classic cookbook Cooking From Quilt Country.
After the terrible windstorms that blew through the Midwest a couple of weeks ago (which, thankfully, didn't bring tornadoes to Michigan as they did in Illinois and Indiana), we had no power at work one day - a serendipitous day off! Well, needless to say, I spent it in the kitchen baking - you guessed it - Raisin Pie.
But I only had one pie crust on hand, so I prepared a streusel topping instead of the usual top crust. I didn't add rum, as my very dear friend Candace had brilliantly suggested, since there are folks 'round here whom I don't dare expose to alcohol when their sobriety is so seemingly solid now. But it's an inspired suggestion, so I highly recommend you try it and make a Rum Raisin Pie. How perfect would this treat be for Christmas???
I must say, though - as I twist my good arm to pat my own back - that this was absolutely wonderful even without the potent potable! It was sweet and spicy, with hints of crunch from the streusel. Not quite like the pie my grandmother made, but it certainly made me think of her again, which makes me happy ....
Update on my bad shoulder, whose illustrious history can be found in Cliff's Notes fashion here: I'm having outpatient surgery on Friday morning - yup, Friday the 13th! - to fix my shoulder. I'm definitely looking forward to ultimately feeling better and being able to move my arm properly again, though I'm hardly excited by the prospect of pain and of not being able to eat from midnight 'til whatever time I wake up and am semi-functional again.
So I've finished posts through January 1, and will come back in the new year whenever my discomfort, my mobility, my work and physical therapy schedules, and my ability to cook/bake/type make it possible to do so. I'm sufficiently optimistic that I'm already making post-surgery plans to try Thompson's Pizza, which recently won The Ann Arbor News' readers' poll for best pizza in the area; it's less than half-a-mile from the hospital where I'm having the procedure done, and I believe it's not unreasonable to pick up a take-out order on the way home ... :)
Raisin Streusel Pie
(adapted from the Raisin Pie recipe in Marcia Adams' Cooking From Quilt Country)
1 pie crust for a 9" pie
2 cups raisins
2 cups water, divided
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
pinch of kosher salt
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon dark rum, optional
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup quick-cook oats
1/4 cup brown sugar
pinch of cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, melted
Make the pie: Preheat oven to 400F. Place the pie crust into a 9" pie pan and crimp the edges decoratively. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, bring the raisins and 2/3 cup water to a boil; turn heat down to "low" and cook for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, stir together the sugar, brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt; whisk in the remaining 1-1/3 cups water.
When the raisins are done cooking, stir in the sugar mixture and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. When the mixture starts to thicken, stir constantly until translucent and dark. Stir in the vinegar and butter until the butter melts; stir in the rum, if using. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. When the raisin mixture is cool, pour it into the pie crust.
Make the streusel: In a small bowl, combine flour, oats, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Blend in the melted butter with a fork, then sprinkle streusel mixture over the top of the pie.
Bake for 15 minutes, then turn heat down to 350F and bake 15 more minutes until the crust is golden and the filling bubbles. Let cool completely, then slice and serve with generous helpings of whipped cream.
Makes 8 servings.
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