|ph: tina rupp via drunkbakers|
Have you ever tried to carry more than one pie at a time? Not easy. I bake a lot of pies for social gatherings and transporting multiple pies is a precarious balancing act. Whether heavy or delicate, some pies require a firm grip between two hands. Sturdier pies can be carried two at a time, one in each hand, in a bag or carrier. That is, if you're lucky enough to find one that won't damage your crust, gouge your cream or custard filling, or demolish your whipped or meringue topping. All that effort gone to waste!
This past Thanksgiving a friend gifted me with a vintage tin combo cake and pie carrier. It's gorgeous but bulky, and for a city girl that travels by subway, a bit of a hassle on a crowded train. Besides, I don't bake cakes. What I need is a multi-tiered stackable pie carrier.
The other option is stack pie. I'm not sure of its origin but my guess would be church potlucks, picnics, or reunions. Back in the day it was just too hard to move a bunch of pies separately, so someone came up with the idea to stack them together. It's basically a bunch of chess pies glued together with caramel frosting. You can make as many layers as you can bake. Talk about pie in the sky. The following recipe is for a stack of four pies.
You need four 9-inch pie tins and enough crust for two double-crust pies.
- Divide pastry into four even pieces, flatten into 4-inch disks. Wrap in plastic; chill in fridge for 1 hour.
- Let dough soften slightly at room temp before rolling out. Preheat oven to 300º F.
- Roll out and line pans, but just come up to the edge, don't crimp.
- Place pie pans in freezer for 10-15 minutes.
- Remove from freezer and line with parchment paper, fill with pie weights or dried beans. Par-bake the crusts for 20 minutes, or until just brown.
- Remove parchment paper and pie weight / beans. Brush the bottom with a mixture of whisked egg and 1 tablespoon of water. Place crusts back in oven for 1 minute. Remove and cool while you make the filling.
10 egg yolks
3 cups sugar
1 cup evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon grated orange rind
pinch of salt
3 cups brown sugar
2/3 cups whole milk
2 stick butter
3 cups powdered sugar
1 dash of salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Turn up oven to 350º F.
- Beat yolks for 3 minutes, add sugar gradually, beat to yellow and light looking.
- Fill the pie shells evenly. Bake 10 minutes, them with a toothpick, pop any air bubbles on tops of pies. Continue to bake 15-18 minutes, or until golden.
- Immediately cut away excess pastry with sharp knife from all but one pie (this will be the bottom pie) and discard. Important: Chill pies.
- Meanwhile, start frosting: melt butter in small pan. Whisk in brown sugar and bring to boil. Stir in the milk, salt and vanilla. Cool. Beat in powdered sugar in small increments until a proper, sticky, frosting consistency.
- Remove three trimmed pies from their pans. Blob some frosting on the top of the bottom pie, spread around carefully. Position second pie on top. Repeat with as many pies as you have.
- Slice and serve like a layer cake. Serve within 2 days.
Note: The great thing about chess pie is that the filling is a great base to which you can add other ingredients, such as nuts or fruit. You can turn this basic recipe into chocolate chess pie, lemon chess pie, buttermilk chess pie, etc. The possibilities are endless.