Saturday, September 28, 2013

Funeral Pie

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...One of the desserts that we considered for Bob's birthday was an Amish funeral pie. Bob was intrigued by its name and its resemblance to a mincemeat tart I serve for the holidays. Many of our friends are older than Bob and me, and I was not sure they'd appreciate being served something called a funeral pie at a birthday celebration. Bob, nonetheless, wanted to give it a try. After some negotiation, my inner diplomat successfully reasoned with his inner child and we deferred serving the pie until later in the week. The pie is traditionally served at funerals of Old Order Mennonites and Amish. It was served at so many funeral suppers that it was given the name "funeral pie." It became a favorite of Mennonite cooks because the ingredients were always available and the pie kept well. That meant it could be made a day or two before the funeral supper and freed hands for other tasks. The pie is not unpleasant, and if you love raisins or mincemeat I suspect you'll love it. One caution. It is very sweet. Susan, who writes The Well-Seasoned Chef, let us know that the pie is deliberately made cloyingly, almost painfully, sweet to allow mourners to forget, if only for a moment, the pain of their grief. If I make this again, I'll reduce the sugar by half. I would also make a lattice crust to improve its appearance. As you can see from the photo above, Bob enjoyed his pie as written. We have a Mennonite community in our area and I used a recipe given to me by one of their best bakers to make the pie. Here's the Smith family recipe.

Funeral Pie...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite, inspired by the cooks of the Smith family


2 cups raisins

1 cup water

Finely grated zest of 1 large orange

1 cup orange juice

3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, divided use

2 tablespoons cornstarch

3/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1 egg, beaten

Pastry for 2 crust pie


1) Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

2) Combine raisins, water, orange zest and juice in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

3) Meanwhile, combine 3/4 cup sugar, cornstarch, allspice and nutmeg in a small bowl.

Stir slowly into raisin mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Stir in lemon juice and walnuts.

4) Roll out half the pie dough on a lightly floured surface. Fit into an 8 or 9-inch pie pan. Pour filling into pie shell.

5) Roll out remaining pastry and place over pie. Seal and flute edges. Cut several slashes into top of pie to release steam. Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with reserved tablespoon of sugar. Bake until golden, about 20 to 25 minutes. Serve warm. Yield: 8 servings.

You might also enjoy these recipes or information:

Sister Sarah's Apple Pudding - One Perfect Bite

Apple Butterscotch Grunt - Simply Annes

Shoo-Fly Pie - Not So Humble Pie

Old Order Mennonite Blog - Old Fashioned Net

Sweet Sorrow - Rosino Pie - The Well-Seasoned Chef

This recipe is being linked to:

Designs By Gollum - Foodie Friday

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