Monday, October 21, 2013

Amber Pie (Gluten Free)

Amber Pie, while definitely out there in Internet land, is variously defined as a Kentucky pie, a pie with raisins, and a pie that is good for all seasons. However, there does not seem to be any one writing about the origins of said pie. If I had to guess, I would say that it originated as a winter pie because it contains no fruit. The hens were still laying, the cook still had sugar and raisins and devised this pie, which came from Illinois.
Amber Pie is relatively quick, which is a feature that appeals to me in desserts these days. On Saturday, our friend Geoffrey and my brother George came to dinner. I got started late because I decided that the India Relish could not wait another day. I didn't get home from the grocery store until nearly 5:30 and had to hasten to get the pork roast on the barbecue. We don't grill for months at a time, but we decided to grill in honor of Geoffrey who paid 2,000 smackers for a mammoth item that grills, fries, steams and plays God Bless America, for all I know.
So I had to make the pie in between running in and out the door adding briquettes to the barbecue so we could eat before 10 o'clock. Like I said, it's fast. One does not have to spend half an hour or more stirring the ingredients over a double boiler and then chilling the result for four to five hours. It's mix, pour, bake. A meringue is spread on the cooled pie, which is then baked another 15 minutes.
 Meringues are actually pretty easy. You just beat egg whites with sugar until the egg whites are stiff. If you have never separated eggs or beaten egg whites, get a dozen eggs and practice. You can reintegrate the whites and yolks and use them for scrambled eggs. That way, if you get egg yolk in your egg whites, it really doesn't matter. If you want to practice beating egg whites, you cannot get egg yolk in your egg whites because the egg whites won't beat properly.
The pie baked up nicely and was well received. It has a sweet-tart taste due to the vinegar. I substituted regular milk left to sit for 20 minutes with a teaspoon of vinegar in it for buttermilk. I imagine if I had used buttermilk the sweet tart taste would have been more pronounced.   
I used a gluten free pie shell, (available at Whole Foods) and rice flour to make the pie gluten free.

Amber Pie

3 eggs, separated
1 cup plus six tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk (Some Safeways carry buttermilk. Whole Foods sells it also.)
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1 tablespoon flour (use rice flour if you want to be gluten free)
1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1/2 cup raisins
1 unbaked pie shell (Gluten free if necessary.)
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Mix together the egg yolks, one cup of the sugar, the buttermilk, allspice, flour, vinegar, nuts and raisins. Pour into the pie shell.
3. Dot with the butter and bake about forty-five minutes or until golden brown and firm. Cool slightly.
4. Reduce the oven heat to 450 degrees
5. Beat the egg whites until frothy and gradually beat in the remaining sugar until mixture is stiff. Add the vanilla.
6. Spread meringue over pie and bake ten to fifteen minutes, or until meringue is lightly browned. Makes six servings.

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