Each year for Mother’s Day, I ask my mother what she’d like me to bake for her. I do this same thing for not just Mother’s Day & Father’s Day, but people’s birthdays. I think it’s kind of nice to have an entire dozen cupcakes or cake all to yourself, don’t you? Anyway, usually, for both her birthday and Mother’s Day, she mentions a specific type of cupcake, or she gives me an idea that she’d like translated into a cupcake (like last year’s Boston Cream cupcakes), or she requests something that’s very exact: flourless chocolate cake, molten lava cakes, panna cotta, etc. But this year she said to surprise her. I had a few ideas, but the one that stuck out was this pineapple pie from Patty Pinner’s book Sweets: Soul Food Desserts & Memories. My mom loves pineapple- but I never, ever bake anything with it because I don’t much like it. So I thought, why not make her something all for herself with pineapple?
I’ve had a fairly long & happy relationship with this book. My friend Xenia first told me about it almost two years ago, and I bought it mainly for the Dr. Pepper cake she mentioned. But there were so many other recipes that jumped out at me that I never even made that cake. Also, the book is filled with some of the most charming family stories/anecdotes I’ve ever read. I’ve made a few things out of the book (two types of cookies, maple syrup pie, lemon ice cream) and all were wildly successful, but my one attempt at a pecan pie was a major fail. However, as usual, I remain undaunted. And why not? Pineapple pie is not pecan pie and one failure does not mean I can never make a good pie ever again. Plus, like I said, I have made quite a few successful desserts from recipes out of this book. I can’t judge all the pies in it on just one failure that was probably my fault somehow anyway. So on that note, I decided I’d make my mom the pineapple pie for Mother’s Day and hope for the best. I crossed my fingers and toes with this one- first off, I was still a bit scared since my last pie attempt, and two, I never ever bake with pineapple or even eat it, so I was a bit unsure of the results. As you can see below, I didn’t need to be.
It’s a real shame I don’t like pineapple, because this pie looked and smelled amazing. I’m including a Martha pie crust recipe, but you can use any one you like. For this pie, you only need one crust though, so be sure to halve it unless you want to use the extra crust for cutting out shapes, etc. Which would be super cute, actually.
PIE CRUST (from Martha Stewart)
Makes 2 9-inch pie crusts
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons margarine or chilled vegetable shortening
- ¼ cup ice water
- Hand Method: In a large bowl, sift the flour and salt. Cut the chilled butter and margarine into 1-tablespoon bits and add to the flour. With a pastry cutter, work flour and shortening together until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the ice water little by little pressing the pastry together into a ball. Wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.
- It is very important to work the pastry as little as possible. Don’t overhandle. A secret to light, flaky pastry is to keep the mixture cool, add as little water as possible, and mix only as much as necessary.
- Food Processor Method: Put flour and salt in bowl of machine. Cut butter and margarine into flour. Process a few seconds until mixture resembles coarse meal. Drop by drop add the water, processing very briefly. The whole process would take 20 to 30 seconds. Wrap and chill the pastry for at least 1 hour.
- If pastry has been chilled for a long time, let it sit at room temperature for at least 15 minutes before rolling.
- Lightly flour a pastry board, marble counter, or kitchen counter. Divide the pastry in half. Pat each piece of pastry into a flat round. Lightly flour the rolling pin. Roll pastry in one direction only, turning pastry continually to prevent it from sticking to the surface.
- Using pie plate as a guide, measure rolled-out pastry — it should be slightly larger than the pie plate and 1-8-inch thick. Fold rolled pastry circle in half so you can lift it more easily. Unfold, gently fitting the pastry into the pie plate, allowing pastry to hang evenly over the edge. Do not trim the pastry yet.
- Fill the pie with filling. Then roll out the second crust in the same manner as for the bottom. Fold circle in half and with a sharp, pointed knife cut little vents in a decorative pattern. Place folded pastry on one half the pie. Unfold, pressing top and bottom pastry together. Trim edges with scissors, leaving a ½-inch overhang. Fold bottom pastry overhang over top and press firmly to seal. Crimp rim, using fingers or the tines of a fork, or use this website to do a fancy decorative crust.
I know, I absolutely suck at pie crusts. Unlike SOME PEOPLE…
Making this pie, specifically the crust, I was reminded of one of the coolest things about moms. Moms don’t care what your present is, what it looks like, if you made it or bought it or stole it. They just care about the thought behind it; that you thought enough and remembered them enough to give them something. And that goes for when you’re 5 all the way up until you’re 50. Your mom still doesn’t care what you give her, as long as it’s from the heart. And that’s what makes moms so awesome.
And it’s a good thing too… ’cause seriously, look at my friggin’ pie crust. It blows! I crushed part of it taking the pie out of the oven and the rest I just have no excuse. I’m a cake girl, guys, not a pie girl. I can’t help it. So thankfully my mother saw all the good things about the pie (which there are many, admittedly) and didn’t even notice the uneven crust. ‘Cause moms rule.
She gave it, and I quote: “Ten thumbs up.” It was creamy, custard-y, and perfect. I have to say, I’ve redeemed my pie-making skills with this one.
PINEAPPLE PIE (from Sweets: Soul Food Desserts & Memories by Patty Pinner)
- 1 9″ pie crust, ready to go
- 1 20-oz. can crushed pineapple, drained
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 3 tablespoons sour cream
- ½ cup evaporated milk
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Prepare the pastry for a 9″-inch single-crust pie. Set it aside.
- In a bowl, cream together the sugar and butter. Add the eggs and mix well. In another bowl, combine the flour, salt and nutmeg. Add to the sugar mixture and mix well.
- Stir in the drained pineapple, milk, sour cream and vanilla extract. Pour the filling into the prepared pie crust. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the pie is lightly browned.
- Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or cold.
Ignore the messed up edges, there. Please. For the love of all things pastry. Just focus on the filling, or the all-around effect of the pie. Hah.
Pineapple is actually an anti-inflammatory food, too. Of course I don’t know if the sugar & everything else in the pie helps with that, so you might wanna just eat pineapple alone if that’s something of interest to you. The rest of you can just eat the pie. Oh- and see? I got my clear Pyrex pie dish. Now I’ve got the classic pie plate to go with my fancy shmancy ones. Don’t think this is the end, though. There are more in my future. I have tons of pie plates and cake stands on various wishlists all over the interwebs.
On that note, this Mother’s Day was a little hard for me; it’s the first without my Nana. I still miss her everyday, and I know my mom does too. I also know, or rather I don’t know but I can imagine, that the first Mother’s Day without your mom must be a straight up shit day, even if you are a mom to the coolest person alive (me- hello?). So I hope she got a lot of enjoyment out of having that entire pie to herself. No sharing. Just her, a pineapple pie, a fork & some whipped cream. Yes, a pie is just a pie. A pie can’t change the world, or bring back a dead loved one. But a pie can bring happiness, even if only briefly, and so I hope that that’s what my pineapple pie did. I always hope that’s what my baked goods do. If I can make someone smile with a cookie, or a cupcake, or a jar of homemade jam… then I’ll take it. It’s better than making someone cry. Although I can do that really well, too, it’s not something I’m always proud of. I’d much rather make someone happy. But it does depend on the person/situation *wink*
And before I go, let me just wish a happy mama’s day to all those amazing mamas I know; you’re all phenomenal & I hope you have a beautiful day. And most important, I want to say a big thank you to my mom, and all the strong/independent/crazy women who came before me, who were the mom’s of the family long before my mom came along, all of whom contributed to my DNA and therefore made me who I am today. Which is a pretty awesome person, if I do say so myself. Happy Mother’s Day.