Monday, October 31, 2011

Vegan MoFo Day 31: Stack Pie: An Educational Post

Stack Pie, at least in my experience, comes in two major forms:

Form A: Make a bunch of pies, preferably a bit smaller/thinner than usual. Don't leave much crust sticking up above the filling. Chess or pumpkin would be typical flavors, and thin tarts with straight-up vertical (not slanted) sides are perfect. Carefully slip them out of their pie plates or tart pans, and stack them into a multi-layer pie. If you are crazy (or trying to send your kinfolk into a sugar coma) you can add icing between the layers and/or frost the entire thing after it is stacked. I think icing is overkill, although it can be fun. A fully iced stack pie looks like a cake, but when you cut into it--- pie!

Form B: This is much closer to the more widely-known stack cake. You bake discs of pie crust, and stack them with your preferred pie filling, jam, applesauce, or fruit.

(Edited to Add: I am told that there is a Form C: thin, double-crust pies which can be easily stacked for carrying, but are eaten separately, and not as a stacked unity. I've never had this kind, but found a recipe in Mark Sohn's Mountain Country Cooking. He compares them to giant fig newtons.)

There is also Form X: Cold Pie. Take leftover biscuits, split them in half. Cover the bottom of a pan with biscuit halves, then cover with fruit & sugar, applesauce, jam, or what have you. Add another layer of biscuit halves, then more fruit or filling, and so on until you run out of biscuits or fruit. Let this sit a few hours or overnight until it melds into one thing. It is similar to cobbler, made from leftovers.

Today, we are making a version of Form B: a gingerbread crust stack pie filled with canned apricots and cherries, reworking a recipe from The Foxfire Book of Appalachian Cookery.

3/4 c vegan shortening
1 c sugar
1 T ground flax mixed with 3 T warm water
1/2 c molasses (I used blackstrap, as I like it in gingerbread)
2 c all purpose flour
1 t ground ginger
1 t ground cloves
2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt

Cream shortening and sugar. Add flax and molasses. Sift the dry ingredients together and then mix into the rest. Divide into 4. This dough is soft and sticky. You will need to use damp hands, and roll it between sheets of waxed paper. Roll each piece out into a rough circle. You could trim and make them perfect, but I went for the artisanal/lazy look. Bake on parchment at 350 F for about 10-15 minutes. You can cool them on a rack, so they are rigid and flat (like giant cookies) or use while still warm, in which case they will drape around the filling before they cool and harden.

Take canned fruit (yes, you could use fresh, too, I'm sure) and fill in between the crust layers. I used a mixture of cherries and apricots. The fruit will soak through and soften the interior crust layers, while the top remains crispy. Slice and enjoy! This makes a really big pie, so holler for the neighbors when it is almost ready.


panda with cookie said...

An epic pie to end an epic Mofo. I have thoroughly enjoyed your blog this month.

JohnP said...

I'm not done yet -- one final post later today!