I went to the grocery store today to find it devoid of flour and sugar. I am sure that I will find the necessary groceries somewhere tomorrow or the next day. But it reminded me of when I was a teenager and we had to make do with what was available, which was rarely sugar or sweet fillings.
One of the recipes Mom made was Butter Pie. Her mom made it, and her mom’s mom probably made it. It was one of those things poor people ate, like beans and cornbread and fried potatoes. It is made from inexpensive ingredients usually found in your pantry.
It is a very simple recipe. Take a pie crust, homemade or purchased–Mom used frozen–and fill it with a few simple ingredients.
Sprinkle on a lot of cinnamon and dot with butter.
I usually brush the edges with a beaten egg and sprinkle on more sugar, for an extra crispy crust.
Then simply bake it until the crust is brown and the filling has firmed up. The butter will be a little runny when you take it out of the oven, but as it cools, it will continue to combine.
I have found that the custard-like filling is a good base for berries or peaches or whatever fruit is your favorite. But in the good ole days, it was just plain cinnamon, fresh from the Watkins man.
I made one last night. Being with my mom had made me nostalgic. I remembered her pulling one out of the oven when we lived in Black, Missouri, and that cinnamon smell perfuming the whole house. It was wonderful. Still is.
by Betty Garrison
1 pie crust
3/4 cup sugar
6 tablespoons flour
2/3 cups milk
Pinch of salt
1/4 pound butter, cut into thin slices
1 beaten egg
2 tablespoons turbinado (raw) sugar
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put the pie crust into a pie plate. Turn the edges under and crimp by hand or using a fork. In a bowl, whisk the sugar, flour, milk, and salt. Pour filling into the crust. Liberally sprinkle cinnamon over the filling. Dot the pieces of butter over the filling.
If desired, brush the exposed crust with the egg. Sprinkle sugar over the egg.
Bake about 25 minutes, until the filling is set. If the edges of the crust get dark too quickly, cover the pie with aluminum foil. Let it cool before slicing.