Friday, May 28, 2010

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

Ingredients:
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

Directions:
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

71 comments:

Allie and Pattie said...

Mary, welcome to Foodie Friday! You always bring a smile and happy memories. We lived in upstate Ny and I was given a very similar recipe by a neighbor who grew up in Pennsylvania- she called it a Mourning Pie. Such lovely traditions
xoxo pattie

Deeba PAB said...

Teehee Mary, you sound just like me. If I was intrigued by a pie with a name like this, I would bake it too, no matter what the occasion was! Love the way it got its name, and the filling looks gorgeous!

Shirley said...

Yes, I couldn't imagine a pie with this name!! I looks interesting but I don't like mincemeat. I'd have to change the name!

~RED~ said...

Don't laugh, i have never had mincemeat..for years i thought it was actually minced meat with raisins.. LOL
It looks wonderful!!

Kristen said...

I have heard of funeral potatoes and who died cake, this is a new one for me. I think it would be lovely with the lattice top. If you make it again, with the alterations, I hope you post it as an addendum.

Rue said...

I like the name. I probably would have served it on my birthday!

Ciao Chow Linda said...

I've actually had this pie and it wasn't provided by an Amish or Pennsylvania friend. It was made by a Canadian, who also grew up with it.

susan said...

Mary-We laughingly call my chess pie my "funeral pie". It is what I take on short notice when there is a need. I always have the ingredients, it is easy to make, and most people love it. I guess we're not as clever as we thought :) Hope you have a good Memorial Day weekend!

Mary at Deep South Dish said...

I'm with ya Mary. I think if I were serving this outside of a funeral, I'd rename it Amish Sugar Pie. :)

The Fajdich Times said...

I love reading your stories...they are the best. The pie looks good, I have never had one. Don't know about the mincemeat. Have a wonderful weekend:)

Lady Ren said...

I love the name but I have only ONE food aversion and it is raisins.

A Canadian Foodie said...

I love to learn stories about how recipes came to be. My dad would love this pie. He loves raison pie, and mincemeat pie. Raison pie is so sweet it hurts my teeth. I love a mincemeat tart with ice cream... but just a little... but, I DO love it. Funeral pie... what an evolution. And what an unusual Birthday treat request. Glad you could defer it until later in the week:) Guests might think you are trying to send them a message.
Valerie

ButterYum said...

Very interesting. I enjoyed reading about our inner diplomat and Bob's inner child. Happy Belated birthday to your beloved.

:)
ButterYum

Krista said...

"...my inner diplomat successfully reasoned with his inner child and we deferred serving the pie until later in the week."

I can totally relate!

I'd love to give this a try. I grew up in Amish country and I've never heard of such a thing. My mom made a Date Nut Ring that we called funeral cake...but only because she baked one and took it to the family every time someone in our community passed away. It was SO good, but I can't just make it because I like it. All I would be able to think of the whole time I smelled the familiar scent as it bakes is "funeral cake". lol.

PeggyR said...

LOL funeral pie! It sounds great though!

Red Couch Recipes said...

In Utah, we have funeral potatoes -- everyone has their recipe. The basica recipe has creamed soup and cheese...lots of it! Never heard of funeral pie, but it sounds good! Joni

gnee said...

Dito about the funeral potatoes above...never heard of funeral pie. It is a very pretty pie. Sometime would you come for lunch at my house? I know I'd enjoy having you!

Pondside said...

This recipe is a lot like one from Nova that is an old timer. It's my dad's favorite.

Angie's Recipes said...

That's a very delicious pie with a very unique name.

Cherine said...

Never heard of a funeral pie before, i loved reading your story!! :)
The filling of the pie looks delicious!! Have a nice day!

Coleen's Recipes said...

This sounds excellent, although I hope you don't mind if I re-name it. I'm pretty supersticious lol.

alwayswinner786 said...

A very interesting name and great pie recipe! Truly speaking I never heard of it!

The Caffeinated Globe said...

This must be very yummy. The photo of the pie is superb. (I, too, love Amish food.)

Thanks for visiting and following my blog and for your very encouraging words. I'm now your newest follower.

http://caffeinatedglobe.blogspot.com/

MaryMoh said...

That's a very interesting name. Looks very delicious. I have to be careful who I serve to. Some friends are very superstitious. I'll probably just tell them it's a fruit pie :D

KathyB. said...

The very name of the pie intrigued me. It does look like a rich pie and if I make it I will follow your advice regarding the sugar. I can see why this would be a good pie to make for bringing to a funeral dinner, which in all reality is a celebration in memory of someone's life, and this pie does look to cause joy in celebration!

Rachel Cotterill said...

Funeral pie? Interesting name. It sounds like a big mince pie... I sometimes make these around Christmas.

Priya said...

The name itself attracts and funny..pie looks scrumptious..

Sinful Southern Sweets said...

Sometimes some of the best foods attach the word funeral to them. Funeral potatoes are one of them. And they are just wonderful! This pie seems to fit in the same category. Thanks for sharing!

Vidhya said...

Hi Mary, You are most welcome to India! I am sure, you will enjoy here. Thanks for visiting my blog and comments....I am totally new to this pie recipe and I heard this name first time...But the story behind the pie is very interesting..hahahaha

3 hungry tummies said...

Haha while you made your funeral pie, I made some Taiwanese coffin cake today :)
What a seductive piece of pie that is. Have a great weekend!

Debinhawaii said...

I vote for a name change--although the story is great about how the name came about. It looks very sweet and decadent.

®osadimaggio63 said...

Oh Mary.... la mia dieta !!!!!
Questo dolce è talmente tropo buono che a noi donne ci fà ingrassare solo guardandolo !!!
Happy day :-))

Carol at Serendipity said...

Mary,

I know this pie and I probably have the recipe that my grandmother used in one of her handwritten notebooks.

This pie was taken to funerals in the Sussex, NJ area.

Carol

Salsa Verde said...

Hi Mary,
You right, what a name for a pie..., but the recipe looks amazing!
Love,
Lia.

pigpigscorner said...

What a name! They should change it the name so it can be served at more occasions!

Beverly said...

My mother used to bake what she called a Raisin Pie, and the ingredients sound the same. I'll have to compare her recipe. I remember her pie being very sweet, too.

Susan said...

Great information, as usual. The pie looks wonderful and there is a certain someone living in my house that loves raisin pie. I do not like raisins at all. He would love this. I would have to rename it. smile

From the Kitchen said...

As a child of the south, I grew up with "funeral" recipes. A death of one near and dear brought out the competitiveness (at least to my child's mind) in a cook. Of course, it was really a way of soothing the bereaved by gathering around them, feeding their bodies while soothing their pain. But, I don't recall this pie. It does sound delicious!

A belated Happy Birthday to Bob!

Best,
Bonnie

bellini valli said...

Let's just rename it and we would no problem with eating several pices of this delicious pie:D

Kim said...

A belated happy birthday to Bob! Good job talking him into something else for his birthday dessert:)
I haven't met a pie that I didn't absolutely love. This one looks great.

Jeannie said...

Most asians are superstitious people, I would change the name of this pie if I ever serve it!:D Looks scrumptious!

Martha said...

It is a GOOD pie! I love the name -- but as I understand it came about because in the winter, there was no fruit for pie but there were raisins -- and you can't have an Amish/Mennonite Funeral without pie -- thus it was made MOSTLY for funerals!

It is a good pie!

Welcome to Foodie Friday!

bj said...

Well, Mary, here is another dessert that I've not heard of.
Your pie is delicious.
Have a wonderful weekend..

~RED~ said...

Well i like your version of it much better, LOL No suet!

Lori said...

Gasp!

I love the line about your inner diplomat and his inner child. I so understand Mary.

My gasps aside, this looks like good pie.

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

This recipe looks delicious but I think I may just rename it!! Diane

A Spoonful Of Sugar said...

Sounds delicious - mincemeat always reminds me of Christmas. Wish it had a more cheerful name though, but loved the story behind the dish.

Cristie said...

Raisin pie! My dad loves raisin pie. The store that goes with this is wonderful. Traditions that are connected with food some how make the food taste better to me. Thanks for sharing both the story and the recipe. My father will thank you-- father's day would be a nice time to bake this for him!

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

Oh do you have an extra spoon?

I hope you'll stop by and see my video for a French Macaroon video. There are bloopers. :)

A Year on the Grill said...

As always Mary, a great story to go with the recipe... And I just noticed your milepost you are about to pass with numbers of followers... Congrats, hope the book deal comes soon

Kim said...

What an interesting history. It looks delicious.

honeysuckle said...

This sounds like something I would love!

Claudia said...

I grew up with something very similar - but they never called it Funeral Pie (whew). It is a delicious pie though and I would serve it and just change the name!

Adventures in Domestic Cooking said...

Thank you for your lovely comment on my blog, so terribly sweet of you, brightened my day=)
This pie of yours sounds so tastey!!

June said...

Oh my goodness - this reminds me of my childhood a b'zillion years ago. Think I'll have it revisit it though because this looks absolutely delicious!

Sushma Mallya said...

Name is really strange but i would love to try this one...

The Empress said...

I have never tried anything with mincemeat....

the name scares me.

I'll have to give it a go next time the opportunity comes up.

And I still think it's a pretty pie, and doesn't need a lattice crust.

It looks rustic. I like that.

The Blonde Duck said...

I never knew a pie could be sad.

Susan said...

Rosina Pie, that's what it's called when you don't want to allude to its funerial association. I am part PD (fr/ Berks County, the fancy, not Amish nor Mennonite.) This pie was one of the first recipes I blogged about three years back. I've never been fond of raisins nor mincemeat, but it's an important part of my family's culinary history. Another reason for its purpose at funerals is that it's so cloyingly, literally burning and painfully sweet, that you forget, but for a moment, the pain of your grief.

I do love seeing it enjoyed by the living for its own sake. And, yes, it does needs that top crust. ; )

Juliana said...

A fun little award for you: http://cookfastliveyoung.blogspot.com/2010/05/honest-scrap-award.html

Federica said...

wow strepitosa questa ricetta!!! bravissima!!!

ti ho mandato una email!! ciao!!

♥ Kathy said...

I bet that was good Mary!

penny aka jeroxie said...

That is such an intriguing name. I will like to try it but not really a very sweet tooth person.

Cathy said...

Your pie looks delicious, Mary, and the crust is perfect. I'm not a raisin fan but did enjoy the story.

Anncoo said...

Mary, I've never heard of "Funeral" pie before and it is really new to me. I would like to try this one day.

~3 Sides of Crazy~ said...

This pie sounds really great (well maybe short of the name LOL) but it gave me a great laugh. A few years ago our youngest son was having trouble understanding a memorial we were going to for some older family members who had passed away. Once he did understand he asked if he could put it on the calendar. Pleased that he was accepting it so well we said sure. To our amazement he wrote, "Dead People Day". We still laugh as a family.

My Little Space said...

Mary, I have to tell you for sure the Chinese won't serve this on someones birthday! haha.... Because of the name! It's just not very nice to so. Normally, the Chinese will serve Longevity buns and noodles. All of these food brings the meaning of wishing the birthday guy long life.
Hope you'll have a nice day!
Cheers, Kristy

Janice said...

Here's one that will make Bob smile, in Scotland we call that 'Flies Graveyard' lol!

Katy ~ said...

Now this is a pie that I've always wanted to try but never have. I'm mad for raisin filled cookies so thought I would enjoy this so once again, Mary, you have provided delicious inspiration.

Happy Birthday to Bob.

glenna said...

YUM!!

I do have to say one thing. Your pictures are beautiful, but you are making them very unappetizing by adding fake color to the background. That red/orange looks horrible with you pie. You also aren't tracing the pie very well, so it looks very fake. I'd stick to the original picture. You obviously have photography skills.

Mary said...

Glenna, I'm sorry you did not like the background. I'm partially sighted and don't see things in the same way you do. Blessings...Mary

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