Hi Friends. I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I’m still typing up my after-action report, but in the meantime I wanted to share with you a recipe for Sister Pie‘s salted maple pie, a perfect fall dessert, a salty-sweet, custardy treat that received rave reviews this past Thanksgiving.
Sister Pie, if you don’t know, is a bakery in Detroit founded by Lisa Ludwinski, a Michagan native, and her cookbook came out a few months ago. A few days before Thanksgiving, in search of one more pie to add to my dessert spread, I began paging through Sister Pie and landed on this recipe, the bakery’s take on a classic chess pie, an old-fashioned Southern dessert which typically contains cornmeal, butter, sugar and eggs. Sister Pie’s version also contains cornmeal but is sweetened with maple syrup and is finished, once the pie cools, with a nice sprinkling of sea salt. I find it irresistible. I think you might, too.
Though I’ve only made one recipe from the book, I have no doubt it’s going to get heavy use — the day after Thanksgiving, I curled up on the couch by the fire and read it nearly cover to cover, transfixed as much by its story as its recipes, the sweet and savory alike. The introduction to the book, which includes the bakery’s mission statement and an analysis of each sentence, made me cry multiple times. This was one trigger: To support their mission of accessibility, they have a program — the Sister Pie-It-Forward program — that allows customers to pre-purchase pie slices, the paper representation of which gets strung along a pie-it-forward clothesline, ready for anyone to unclip at anytime and to use for any reason. No one leaves without a slice. Pie it forward. Can you handle it?
I don’t want to spoil too many more details, but Lisa also encourages her employees to dance, drink water, sleep, eat cookies, hustle, and be kind. I mean, what? Who? Where? Places and people like this really exist? Fellow cookbook collectors, bakers, and pie lovers: I think you should add Sister Pie to your wish lists.
Reprinted with permission from Sister Pie, copyright © 2018. Photography by E. E. Berger. Published by Lorena Jones Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House.
From Sister Pie, a new cookbook from the eponymous bakery in Detroit, this salted maple pie, to me, is everything I want in a dessert: a sweet and salty custard in a flaky, buttery crust. Heaven. It was perfect for Thanksgiving, but I think it’s nice for fall in general.
A few notes: I don’t blind bake pie dough anymore — it never seems to make a huge difference to me and the effort always feels impossible at the moment. I’ve included my foolproof pie dough recipe below, which yields 2 rounds (and which, unlike Sister Pie’s recipe, is made in the food processor.) I don’t think it’s worth halving the recipe because it freezes beautifully. For Thanksgiving 2018, I made a double batch of the pie dough and made three other pies in addition to this one: Bourbon Pecan (No Corn Syrup), Ronnie Hollingsworth’s Most Excellent Squash Pie, and Apple-Frangipane Galette.
Also, I didn’t use the egg wash on the crust — because my dough has a little bit of sugar in it, it browns beautifully on its own.
Finally, I find my Emile Henry pie plate makes the best crust.
- one round foolproof pie dough (recipe below; see notes above), rolled out to 11-12 inches
- 1⁄2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1⁄4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1 cup maple syrup
- 3⁄4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1⁄4 cup fine yellow cornmeal
- Heaping 1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 large eggs
- 1 large egg yolk
- 3⁄4 cup heavy cream
- 1–1⁄4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Flaky sea salt
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Fit the rolled out pie round into a 9-inch pie plate. See video guidance for trimming the excess dough and crimping it to make a nice fluted edge: in sum, trim excess dough, fold edge back and underneath, pinch to create the fluted edge.
- Make the filling: In a medium bowl, combine the melted butter and maple syrup. Whisk in the brown sugar, cornmeal, and kosher salt.
- Crack the eggs and yolk into another medium bowl. Add the cream and vanilla and whisk until combined.
- Slowly pour the egg mixture into the maple mixture and whisk just until combined.
- Place the pie plate on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Pour the filling into the pie shell.
- Transfer the baking sheet with the pie on it to the oven and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the edges are puffed and the center jiggles only slightly when shaken. It will continue to set as it cools.
- Remove the baking sheet from the oven and transfer the pie to a wire rack to cool for 4 to 6 hours. Once fully cooled and at room temperature, sprinkle generously with flaky sea salt, slice, and serve.
- To make the whipped cream, beat the heavy cream with a wire whip or in an electric mixer until soft peaks begin to form. Sprinkle in a small handful of sugar and a pinch of sea salt and beat until peaks begin to get firmer. Taste. Add more sugar and salt to taste. Beat until peaks begin to hold their shape or until they reach a texture you like — I like billowy, not-quite-stiff peaks. Store in fridge until ready to serve.
- Store leftover pie, well wrapped in plastic wrap or under a pie dome, at room temperature for up to 3 days.
This recipe yields two rounds and it definitely can be halved, though I suggest making the full recipe because it’s so nice to have on hand.
- 2½ (320g) cups all-purpose flour
- 2 T. sugar
- ½ tsp. table (or kosher) salt
- 2 sticks (16 tablespoons | 8 oz | 227g ) unsalted butter
- ½ C. + 2 T. ice water
- In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the flour, sugar and salt together. Cut the butter into small pieces, then add to the food processor. Pulse at 1-second intervals until butter is the size of peas—should be about 10 quick (1-second) pulses. Add the ice water and pulse again about 10 times until the mixture is crumbly but holds together when pinched. See video above for guidance. Lay two clean tea towels on a work surface. Dump half of the crumbly dough mixture into the center of each. Grab the four corners of the towel together and twist to create a beggar’s purse, pressing the dough into a disk. Unwrap the towel and use your hands to pack and pat the disk together. Wrap one (or both) of the rounds in plastic wrap, tuck in a ziplock bag, and store in the fridge for 3 days or freezer for 3 months.
- If baking one immediately, lightly flour a work surface, roll out into a circle an inch or two larger than your pie plate, transfer to pie plate, trim over hanging dough, then crimp dough as desired (see video for guidance). Chill in fridge while you prepare the filling. Pre bake if desired … I’m too lazy anymore.