Tag Archives: Beth Howard

Cooking With Beth

Ms. American Pie Book Cover

For Fourth of July this year I decided to make a pecan pie. I chose a recipe from Beth Howard’s cookbook. I baked “Frank Barnett’s Pecan Pie”. It is more of an old fashioned recipe as it uses just brown and white sugar and not Karo syrup. But whether or not it is made with just sugar or sugar and Karo syrup, I’ll take pecan pie any way I can get it!

It was heavenly. I love pecan pie filling even more than I love pecans, so in the future, I would be tempted to double the recipe for the filling but still use a cup of pecans.

Jennifer Michie Pecan Pie

It was the perfect end to a wonderful evening. We sat with a slice of pecan pie, a big scoop of vanilla ice cream and watched the sun slowly set!

A Slice of Pie

Jennifer Michie Nutella Pie

Last year I read Beth Howard’s book, Making Piece. I was excited to learn that she was writing a cookbook, Ms. American Pie and I eagerly awaited it’s release. Not only is she a fabulous baker, but she lives in the American Gothic House, that was immortalized by Grant Wood.

Ms. American Pie

I ordered the book the other week and planned to make a pie at the weekend with one of the recipes. I love pie! I was always making pies and cakes and cookies growing up. My Grandpa said that my pie crust tasted like his Mother’s and that was high praise indeed! My Nana taught me how to make little cinnamon bites with the leftover dough, that was always my Grandpa’s treat that he had with his coffee, my Mom said that no one else was allowed to touch it.

Mr. Michie is not such a fan of pies, he loves pecan and pumpkin, but that is pretty much where he stays. I am working to slowly convert him and Beth Howard’s Pie Book is helping me do just that! Her crust recipe is simple, it is just like the one I used to make, it is what the crust should be: a sturdy base that is light, flaky and has that perfect crunch you feel your fork sliding through as you dive in for a bite.

The first recipe I made was simply her pie crust, I had my own recipe for a Kentucky Derby Pie that Mr. Michie fell in love with. However, we were greedy, we ate it, didn’t share and didn’t take any pictures. I had planned on making a pie this weekend, but this week so far has not been going too great for either of us, so I thought a bit of pie making would brighten our moods.

I decided that this week called for chocolate. So we chose to make the Nutella Pie. I got out the ingredients to make the crust while my cream cheese softened in a mixing bowl. Once my crust was rolled, fitted in to my pie pan and the edges crimped, I started to work on my filling. I placed all the other ingredients into my bowl with the softened cream cheese and whipped it by hand. There is something about pie that just makes you want to go all pioneer girl on it, at least that is how I feel! Using your hands to work your dough, whip or slice your filling. Doing it by hand adds in those extra layers of love and I know you can taste it.

I poured the filling into my shell, gave it a bit of a wiggle to smooth it out and placed it in the oven! The house smelled like a little chocolate factory! The hardest part was letting it cool, it wasn’t cool enough to put the whip cream on top before we went to bed and although we could have had a warm slice with whipped cream on the side, I wanted mounds of pillowy cream piled on top! Our patience was rewarded this morning. When I got up for work, I decided in the shower while washing my hair at 5:30am, that we would eat pie for breakfast!

I got dressed, went downstairs and got to work. I poured fresh whipping cream in a bowl followed by sugar and vanilla. I whipped it till soft peaks formed and then took it just a little bit further. Next I piled it on top of the pie, it tumbled down like giant feathery pillows. I looked at it and just sighed. Before me was a thing of happiness.

Mr. Michie grabbed a knife and two forks, I got the plates and cut us each a slice, the knife gliding through the creamy layers to hit the perfectly cooked crust on the bottom. A slice was put on each plate, we touched our forks together in salute, dug into our slices, took a bite and closed our eyes. This was an eye closing moment, this was a moment of pure joy.

I love cream pies and I think that this has turned Mr. Michie in to a full cream pie lover as well! Pie is a humble offering not always as fancy as cakes in appearance or beautifully iced cookies, but don’t be fooled by it’s sometimes humble appearance, inside that shell holds the secret to happiness, quite possibly the secret to world peace. Pie is love! Thank you. Beth Howard for sharing your journey with us and for giving the world this delectible book!

{Please forgive my picture, Mr. Michie tried very hard to be patient while I took a few pictures, and then tried to get a shot with a wedge cut out, but I kept fiddling and he said no more, so we ate pie and smiled and didn’t care about pictures!}