Fall is just around the corner and the harvest means new ingredients, new ideas, and new recipes to try. If you’re a baker, chances are you’ve made the standard apple, peach, berry, pumpkin pies, but here are a few pies you might not have tried. And really, can you ever have too much pie?
This traditional English pie is a sweet, messy, gooey sugar-fest made by layering sliced bananas on top of caramel and topping the whole pie with whipped cream. There are two ways of making the caramel base: one involves heating cans of condensed milk in a water bath for a couple of hours, and the other (including this recipe from Jamie Oliver) simply has you boil it rapidly sans can. You can switch up this recipe by using different cookies for the crumb crust. If you do go the traditional route and boil cans of Carnation, make sure the water covers the cans at all times, otherwise you might have to clean condensed milk off the ceiling.
Tarte au sucre
A French-Canadian classic, tarte au sucre (translated to “sugar pie”) is just that: brown sugar, cream, and butter in a flaky pastry crust. Some variations use evaporated milk instead of cream and white sugar instead of brown. An especially delicious variation uses maple syrup along with the brown sugar to create a truly Canadian treat.
This is as traditional as it comes, but be warned: elderberries aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. For one thing, they’re small and seedy, so your pie will be slightly crunchy. And they’re not edible raw—they have to be cooked and sweetened first. That being said, they’re often found growing wild, and they’re chock-full of vitamin C and antioxidants. Look for dark blue-purple fruit with a whitish, dusted appearance—they’re often growing at the edge of wooded areas, along roadside ditches or rail trails.
Concord grape pie
Fall is grape season, and while you’ve probably enjoyed a sip of wine (or two) or a glass of grape juice, you can also put sweet, luscious Concord grapes in a pie. This is a labour-intensive endeavour, since you have to skin each grape individually, but it’s worth it for the sweet, intense grape flavour of the filling.
Ricotta cheese pie (Neapolitan Easter pie)
Never mind that it isn’t actually Easter—this is a pie that deserves to be eaten all year round. Similar to cannoli filling, the sweet, dense ricotta can be jazzed up with chocolate chips and glaceed fruit (as in this recipe) or left plain. Serve it with a demitasse of espresso, and picture yourself in old Napoli, gazing out at the ocean.
Apparently raisin pie is sometimes known as “funeral pie,” but don’t let that stop you, especially if you’re a fan of raisins. Boiling the raisins in advance plumps them up and makes them incredibly sweet and flavourful.
Shaker-style lemon pie
This traditional American pie has a filling that’s a cross between lemon curd and marmalade, made with thinly sliced lemons (Meyer if you can get them) soaked in sugar and mixed with eggs. The result is custardy and not too sweet. The lemons retain a little bitterness, making this a relatively sophisticated pie and not necessarily for the sugar demons among us. That being said, once you’ve sliced the lemons, it’s relatively easy to make, and a nice change from meringue!
What’s your favourite lesser-known pie? Share your thoughts in the comments.