Sunday, January 16, 2011

Year of the Pie #1: Osgood Pie

So I had to start with the Osgood pie. Believe it or not, when I first flipped through the Pie book to start this venture, it fell open to this pie. For those who don't know, my middle name is Osgood (my paternal Grandmother's maiden name). And for those of you not on the island, Osgood is a well-established family name out here. Seems like a fitting place to start. According to the author, as well as several web sources, there are two origins to the name: either it's the name of the original baker/cook, or a shortened form of "Oh-so-good". 

I've decided to follow each recipe as closely (close being a very loose term, of course) as possible which goes against my better judgement. My better judgement (and baking instincts) kicked in on this one, but not until the end.

The crust for this pie is incredibly simple in terms of ingredients - it's a basic shortening crust with flour, a bit of sugar and salt, shortening, and cold water. I frequently make crust by hand, but have taken to using the food processor on occasion. It may take away from the authenticity of it, but it makes the process (get it?) go much more quickly. 

The recipe calls for the crust to be prebaked - this was a first for me, but seemed to work well. I lined the crust with foil after pulling it from the freezer (helps stabilize the lovely crimping and firm up the fat in the shortening), then poured in bunch of dried beans to weight the foil down. It baked for about 15 minutes with the foil and beans, then another 10 minutes to lightly brown the crust. I might make this part of my regular pie-baking since it strengthens the crust and will help keep it from getting soggy (an occasional hazard of juicy fruit pies).

I'm usually not this organized. . .
Once the pie crust had been mixed, cooled, temporarily frozen, rolled, crimped, and thrown in the oven to prebake, I got started on the filling. This was also fairly basic in terms of ingredients: raisins, eggs, sugar, butter, cider vinegar, pecans, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves (other web recipes vary - but most ingredients seem to be common to several versions). I had to do minor prepping before getting down to business of mixing the filling: the eggs needed to be separated, and they separate best when cold - so they spent the day in the fridge cooling down. Then the whites needed to come to room temp, so they got to sit around for a while to warm up while I ate dinner and prepped the crust. The raisins needed to soak for a bit, and I had to chop the pecans.

ready for the oven!
Mixing the filling came in three stages: first, everything else was mixed and stirred together; second, the egg whites were beat to stiff peaks; third, the whites were folded into everything else. I was supposed to pour the filling into a cooled crust. Alas, my timing was off. At least the crust was cooler than it had been when it was in the oven, right? I was reluctant to wait too long because I haven't worked with beaten egg whites before, and I wasn't sure if they would lose the air I had beaten into them if they sat around while I waited for the crust to cool. Next time I'll start the crust sooner. I don't think it really affected the filling, since it was going right into the oven anyway.

Here's where I strayed from the baking instructions. The author recommends baking it about 35 mins, rotating the pie, then baking another 15 mins or so, making sure there are no "waves" in the filling. When I checked the pie at about 30 mins, the top already had a lovely golden crusty top. And given that the apartment smelled like it had finished baking (a great tip from mom that I use instead of a timer - if it smells about done, is usually is). I slightly panicked at this point because the author had no mention of a lovely golden brown crusty top. Thanks to my trusty side-kick, Google Images, I was pleased to discover that my pie at this point looked similar to other Osgood pies. And a quick scan of other recipes posted on the web gave 30-40 mins as average baking time. Given that no stove ever bakes like another, I considered it done. Of course most of these recipes, including the book, say to cool completely before serving at room temperature (or even cold). And that it's even better the next day.

Like I could wait that long.

The results? Pretty darn good, perhaps even oh-so-good, considering I don't absolutely love raisins. I don't know how to best describe it - a crispy self-crust over a spongy/custardy raisin-pecan-spice filling. At least mine is :) The crust is nice and flaky. The filling is sweet, so I will probably cut down the sugar next time, but is a nice combination of crispy top and custardy base. It's a pleasant change from the fruit pies that I have almost exclusively baked prior to this little adventure. And hopefully will live up to its "better the next day" reputation - I hear pie makes an excellent breakfast!

AND, whilst searching for Osgood Pie on the internet, I happened across a Pie of the Month Club. What a great start to Year of the Pie!


  1. "a crispy self-crust over a spongy/custardy raisin-pecan-spice filling."

    See, that right there is where my heart skipped a beat. Mmmmm...sounds delicious.

  2. that a St. Peter's beer bottle I see in the "golden brown crusty top" picture? If so, well done, Meg.

  3. Never tried that one. I couldn't wrap my head around a pie with raisins. I baked a lovely "fruit of the freezer" pie myself this past week. That pie of the month club looks rather intriguing. Did you join?