Old-Fashioned Stack Pie
I bet the image made you stop and stare. It certainly had that affect on me! As described below by author Anne Collins, this is a very old-fashioned pie that has practical applications. Easy to make with pantry staples, this will certainly turn heads at your next gathering. This recipe and her Jefferson Davis Pie are from her new book Vintage Pies. Note that the recipe does require a candy thermometer.
Excerpted with permission. Vintage Pies: Classic American Pies for Today’s Home Bakerby Anne Collins. Published by Countryman Press 2014. Photos by Todd and Lisa Balfour.
Stack pie dates back to colonial days. When people went visiting, they brought food, and needed something that traveled well. Space was also at a premium, so stacking pies and holding them together with icing was the answer. Three to five pies, or sometimes even six, were baked with a shallow filling and stacked, with a thin layer of icing spread between them. You will want to serve very thin slices of this.
- 4 unbaked piecrusts
- 5 large eggs
- 1½ cups plus 3 tablespoons salted butter, divided
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
- 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream, divided
- 2 cups packed light brown sugar
- ¹⁄8 teaspoon salt
- Trim the piecrusts so that the rims of your pie plates are exposed.
- Preheat your oven to 350°F.
- In a small saucepan, melt 1½ cups of the butter.
- Whisk the eggs until they are light. Add the granulated sugar, the melted butter, and ½ teaspoon of the vanilla, and whisk until well combined. Fold in 1 cup of the cream. Pour
- ½ cups of the filling into each piecrust.
- Place the pies in the oven, two or four, as room allows, and bake them until the filling is set in the middle, about 35 minutes. Allow the pies to cool in the pie plates. While the pies are cooling, make the icing.
- In a large saucepan, combine 1 cup of the cream, the brown sugar, and the salt. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Over medium-high heat, bring the mixture to a soft boil. Cook it for 5 minutes, without stirring, until the mixture thickens a bit, or reaches 238°F on a candy thermometer. Remove the saucepan from the heat, stir in the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter, and let the mixture cool for 15 minutes. Stir in the remaining teaspoon of vanilla.
- Beat the icing until it is thick and creamy.
- If the icing seems too firm to spread, beat in additional cream, 1 tablespoon at a time.
- Run a long, thin spatula around and under one of the pies to slip it out of its pan. Place it on a cake dish or large plate, and spread the top lightly with about ½ cup of the icing.
- Stack the second pie on top of the first, and spread the top with about ½ cup of the icing. Repeat with the third pie. Stack the fourth pie on top. Frost it with the remaining icing.