Cheryl St.John: National Pie Day Tomorrow

sixmeatpieNow here’s a holiday I can sink my teeth into!


Pies have been around at least since the ancient Egyptians. They filled their pies with things like honey, fruit and nuts. The ancient Greeks enjoyed pie in Egypt and took the recipes home with them, then surrendered the recipes to the Romans, who thought so much of pie as to make offerings of pie to their deities.


Pie was destined to catch on, but it sure hasn’t always been the coconut cream, cinnamon apple or French silk we know and love today.


sixbananapieOriginally, pies were simply cooking and serving container fashioned from dough for holding ingredients, like all types of meat and fowl, and their juices. Without a top crust they were called coffins, and those with no crust were traps. Large short-sided pies are tarts and small pies are tartlets. When someone made a pie of some type of bird, he or she would leave the legs of the bird outside the edge of the pie and then used the legs for handles.


Those crusts were often too hard to be eaten and some of the recipes called for making ’bulletproof’ dough. These pies were often much larger than we imagine and used for entertainment purposes as well as eating.

songofsixpenceRemember the nursery song “four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie” and “When the pie was opened the birds began to sing?” That is literally what they did—placed live birds, frogs and other small creatures, even dwarves and sometimes a small orchestra—inside the pie. Of course the top and bottom crusts were baked or “petrified” separately, the ingredients placed inside and then the top ‘soldered’ on, so they weren’t actually baking the live ingredients. During the meal, the pie was served and the entertainment emerged to enliven royal feasts. Wild, huh?


sixchocpiePies made their way to England and later America. The colonial settlers came up with cottage and shepherds pie. From the American natives, the pilgrims learned about fruits and berries. Women at that time conserved their rations by making round pies and shallow pies. During the1700s, pies gained popularity in many homes, picnics and fairs.


Pies have been adapted to fit into every culture. Today we have chicken potpies, fruit and nut pies, mince pies, pumpkin and squash pies, as well as cream pies and ingredients like custards and creams and meringues. Most families enjoy pie traditions and pass down recipes. There is hardly a home or restaurant in the US that doesn’t serve pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving.


stjohn.jpgWhy all this talk about pie? Well, tomorrow, January 23rd is National Pie Day, and I didn’t want you to be caught off guard. You might have the ingredients on hand, but if not, pick up something to whip together your favorite pie. I doubt you’ll serve a blackbird or a frog tomorrow, but what is your family’s favorite pie?


The Fillies would be plum grateful if you shared your favorite pie recipes with us!


Here’s an idea to get you started:


Nothing Better Than Pie


1/4 cup butter, melted
15 to 18 Keebler Pecan Shortbread Sandies cookies, finely crushed

Stir butter into finely crushed cookies with fork. Press into a 9-inch pie pan; freeze to firm.

First layer:

2 cups Cool Whip
2 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon sugar

With electric mixer, beat all ingredients together until blended; spread onto crust and return to freezer.

Second layer:

2 cups Cool Whip
1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 ounces cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup peanut butter

Beat Cool Whip, sugar and cream cheese together until blended. Mix in peanut butter and spread on top of pie; return to freezer.

Third layer:

2 cups Cool Whip, plus extra for topping.
1/3 cup powdered sugar
2 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 ounces German sweet chocolate baking squares, melted

Beat Cool Whip, sugar and cream cheese together until blended. Beat in melted chocolate. Spread on top of pie and return to freezer.

Before serving, top with more Cool Whip.

The Lost Art of Pie Making Made Easy

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27 thoughts on “Cheryl St.John: National Pie Day Tomorrow”

  1. Using the legs for handles? Oh, thank you for the morning chuckle. I think I’ve gotta use that in a story sometime.

    My favorite pie? Sour cream raisin. At least this morning it is. 🙂

  2. Oh, and I planned on making a pie today. Guess I’ll make it and save it for tomorrow. Your recipe sounds yummy too. I’ll have to try it sometime too.

  3. Now you’ve done it, Cheryl! Here I am trying to lose a few holiday pounds and you’ve got me drooling for pie. Just finished watching the final episode of Showtime’s THE TUDORS, season on DVD. The final scene shows Henry VIII dipping into a pie baked inside a beautiful swan. I’ll take a nice lemon merangue, thank you.

  4. Glad to help you out with a tidbit for a story, *lizzie. It does sound rather amusing. But can you imagine how “tough” the pie is if you can pick it up using the legs of a bird inside?

    Abi, you are my kind of girl!

    Elizabeth, I just picked up The Tudors (is it season one you watched?) for Kristin because she caught a few episodes on TV and wanted it, so I’ll be watching it soon.

    mmmm, lemon meringue….is it a favorite recipe?

  5. Hi Cher,
    Great info on pies! Never knew why that rhyme about “four and twenty blackbirds”, came to be!

    I love any pie with cool whip in it! My favorites are chocolate cream pie and cherry pie. I don’t bake my own pies ever! Sara Lee and Mrs. Smith have those honors!

  6. Who would have thought there was a blog post in PIE! But why not?

    I usually make pie at the holidays, the standards, pumpkin and pecan. I have a daughter who is crazy for Lemon Meringue and we all do love it.

    My mother-in-law makes an apple pie that, seriously, makes grown men weep. It’s just perfect, the kind of pie that makes you understand why apple pie is a symbol of America.

    I don’t like making crust but I usually do. My husband flatters me until I make the ‘good stuff’. But I seriously love those crusts you just unfold and lay on the pan, not to mention the frozen ones that come with their own pan. That is the work of a genius…though not QUITE as good as my home made and not within a country MILE of my MILs home made.

  7. This is probably the easiest pie ever, and it looks like you really worked hard.

    Pecan Pie

    Unbaked 9-inch one-crust pie

    In mixing bowl combine:
    3 eggs
    2/3 C. sugar
    ½ t. salt
    1/3 C. butter (melted)
    1 C. corn syrup

    Mix all ingredients together just until they are blended, add:

    1 C. pecan pieces

    mix slightly. Pour into unbaked crust. Bake at 350 for 40 or 50 minutes. Pie is done when knife comes out clean. You might need to cover the crust along the edges with foil to keep it from getting overly browned (okay BURNED)
    The pie will have a beautiful domed shape when its done, then you’ll take it our and it will fall.
    That’s normal.

  8. Oh Cheryl- I saw the recipe you posted over on your blog before I came here. Still making my mouth water just reading the ingredients. Sounds delicious. It makes me think of a giant Reese cup! Be still my heart!

    My mom thinks it’s funny, that for someone who had no cooking skills whatsoever before I got married, I can bake a really wonderful homemade apple pie. My sister begs me to make one to bring to family get togethers.

    I’ve concocted my own recipe for chicken pot pie (started with a chicken a la king recipe and just altered it to suit my needs).

    My husband can’t eat eggs, but he loves pumpkin pie. I found a recipe for turtle pumpkin pie online and it does the trick. (turtle cause it has caramel and pecans in the recipe).

    As for my favorite- chess or pecan, but I’ve never been able to get the recipes to turn out for me. So rich and decandent, but I’m not sure I’ll EVER be able to make one and get it to turn out! LOL The egg always cooks wrong and ends up “scrambled” in the pie. Not quite the same flavor or texture…blech!

  9. Cheryl,

    I love pies of all kinds. On the meat side, chicken pot pie and shepherd’s pie are my favorites. But when it comes to fruit pies I just love ’em all. I’m pretty partial to pecan, apple, and peach. Berry ones are my least favorite.

    My gosh, I can’t imagine eating a pie that has legs!! That must’ve been gross.

    Great blog today, my Filly sister! 🙂

  10. Thank you for the recipes, Ladies. But, I just don’t understand how I’m supposed to get any writing done (or dieting) when y’all keep posting pie recipes.

    You know, I can even smell ’em! Sheesh.

    Cheryl, loved your line: Now here’s a holiday I can sink my teeth into!

    (After Anita hits submit, she goes to close off the P&P tab. Her finger hesitates over the X. Slowly, she backs away and instead, her finger drops to her word doc tabs. Maybe she’ll check back after she does a bit of writing. Might be some more reci– uh…interesting comments…)

  11. Cheryl oh my goodness I think we all are going to have to come to your house and have some pie. LOL
    My favorite is Lemon Meringue I love it if it is homemade not so much from the stores. I have made one and as much as I bake it didn’t turn out like I wanted it too.
    I think I will make shepherds pie for dinner hubby loves it.

  12. They were celebrating National Pie Day (tomorrow) on the Today Show, too. Since I’m a sucker for recipes, I’ll share one of mine. It’s super-easy and fast.

    Cheryl, this is the one I brought over after your surgery. You can lighten it up or make it full strength, but since I can’t tell much difference, I use lite and fat free where I can. My mom makes this for my dad, who’s diabetic.

    Pina Colada Pie

    1 graham cracker crust
    8 oz. cream cheese
    10 oz. can crushed pineapple, undrained
    1 4-serving box of instant, sugar-free vanilla pudding
    8 oz. Cool Whip
    1/4 cup toasted coconut

    Whip cream cheese, pineapple, and dry pudding together. Pour into crust, top with Cool Whip and garnish with toasted coconut.

    To toast coconut, place in a shallow pan on stove and stir until brown.

  13. Thanks to Cheryl, Mary & Pam for the recipes. I’ll
    have to try them for our next family gathering!
    Family favorites: Apple, Peach, Cherry pies, Peach and Blackberry cobblers for Honey and the son-in-law.

    Pat Cochran

  14. Charlene, I have tried Sara Lee, but I can’t say they ever turn out right. 🙁 Village Inn, now there’s a pie.

    Mary, I would love to know your mother-in-law’s recipe for her apple pie. Is it a secret- Like she’d have to kill us f she told?

  15. Thanks, Mary! I’ve never attempted a pecan pie, but this looks like one I can handle.

    Thanks, Taryn! What a bummer to be unable to eat EGGS! You are a faithful blog buddy – SMOOCHES!

  16. Ummm-ummm. Sure looks yummy! My mom’s the best pie maker I know. That’s good and bad. 🙂 I didn’t know pies have been around for so long. And I’m surprised the settlers invented Shepherd’s Pie. I haven’t had that in a while, but now I’m going to search out a recipe! Thanks for getting me in the mood!

    Happy pie day tomorrow! May all your pie dreams come true, LOL!

  17. Oh, what a delish post, Cheryl! I read in a medieval once that the nobles would sic (sp.) their hunting hawks on those poor little pie birds as they flew out all bewildered.

    I am not a fan of the kitchen, (fortunately I married a man who loves to cook and learned it well cooking for station-loads of fellow firemen) but here’s something I do pretty well:

    Lemon Pie

    1 9” pie shell
    4 tablespoons cornstarch
    1 ½ to 2 cups sugar
    1 cup boiling water
    ½ teaspoon salt
    ½ cup lemon juice
    1 lemon rind, grated
    2 tablespoons butter
    4 eggs separated

    • Bake pie shell. In double boiler, combine cornstarch, 1 cup sugar, and boiling water. Cook, stirring constantly until mixture thickens.

    • Add salt, lemon juice, and grated rind. Continue cooking, stirring constantly until blended.

    • Beat egg yolks until lemon-colored. Pour mixture over egg yolks, stirring constantly.

    • Return to hot water, cook 4 minutes.

    • Add butter. Blend well. Remove.

    • Let mixture cool, then pure into baked pie shell.

    You can meringue-it up, do Cool Whip, or there’s some kind of cream-cheese topping too that I’ve gotten ready-made to slather on top. Oh, what a chef I am. NOT. Yummo.

    oxoxoxox, thanks for a great post.

  18. Hey Tanya, I tried my hand at a lemon pie for the local fair summer before last. It seemed to turn out well but wouldn’t hold it’s shape when cut. I’m a stickler for following directions because I don’t have a memory, LOL. What’s the usual reason for this do you know? Thanks. And no, I didn’t place with it, either. 🙂

    And thanks for you recipe, too Pam. I love the taste of pineapple and coconut and that pies sounds divine.

  19. I don’t know that there’s any trick to my mil’s pie, she just does everything perfectly, the crust is so flaky, she uses lard, the apples are off her own tree, fresh if she can manage, frozen if not. She is an artist.

  20. A lot of unusual information here on pies. What got you started on pies? This made me think I may make my daughter a Pink Lady Pie for Valentines Day. It is made out of jello. Last time I tried for my oldest I didn’t know the eggs weren’t any good. So guess it is about time to try again.

  21. OK, Cheryl–what time is pie being served at your house today?? I might have to drop in unexpectedly (ha) and eat a slice of your generosity. I know you would never turn away a visitor without offering food. LOL!

  22. I don’t know, Jane. I think those of us who blog are always looking for something fun or unusual, and the Fillies can turn just about any subject into a history tidbit! LOL

    Hi, Robyn…no pie yet, but the day is early.

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