One reason I love old country recipes is because the ingredients I need are already on the pantry shelves and in the refrigerator. It’s a comforting thing knowing you don’t have to run out to the store for that one ingredient which places this pie, and comfort food in general, so high on my list. There’s was hardly a minute’s thought between the “I want pie” idea and the doing of it on Saturday. When you want something quick, but special, this is a great pie and you’ll find preparing it on the same happy continuum as the act of easing into your most comfortable clothes. Prepping comfort food is as close as it gets to putting your feet up the entire time you’re in the kitchen and there is nothing easier.
The recipe is as listed in my “Missouri to Maui” cookbook. I found it in a favorite recipe collection of mine called “Heartland Cooking” by Marcia Adams. Just reading the recipe you know its origin is from slower days when cooks turned again and again to preparing food from what was “on hand”; perhaps that is why there are so many variations to this pie, all of them sweet and filling.
Do this pie justice and roll out a flaky and tender pastry shell for this one. You’ll be glad you did. The filling will remind you of a pecan pie as well of buttermilk and chess pies. The flaked coconut topping suggests a french coconut pie so obviously this is a pie with many first cousins in its family tree! The cornmeal adds just enough texture to justify the pie’s name and supplies the slight graininess in the filling. Every one of the pies mentioned above are comforting and satisfying. And every one of them the perfect accompaniment to a good cup of coffee and a long conversation with a friend. This pie longs for company so do give it a chance to show its stuff.
Prep time is minimal once you roll out the pastry (I am repeating myself, I know, but I am also assuming you committed to making your pie crust when I mentioned it above). That accomplished, simply stir the dry ingredients, and, in a separate bowl, with your hand mixer, blend the liquid ingredients and combine all. Scrape the filling into that great crust and add your choice of chopped nuts; I used pecans today but my favorite with this pie is the tang of hickory nuts. Just a light sprinkling of flaked coconut and your pie is in the oven and you are doing your its-all-done-happy-dance in your most comfortable clothes in no time!
Nutty Cornmeal Pie
1-9” unbaked pastry shell
1 cup brown sugar minus 2. T.
1 cup granulated sugar minus 2 T.
2 T. flour
1 T. yellow cornmeal
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup hickory nuts, walnuts, or pecans, chopped
1/4 cup shredded coconut
Directions Preheat oven to 350. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugars, flour, cornmeal, and salt; sift with fork and set aside; in a second large bowl, combine the eggs, butter, milk, and vanilla and beat with electric mixer on low-speed until just blended; don’t let too many air bubbles form. Combine this with the dry ingredients and stir to blend until smooth. Pour into your pastry shell and sprinkle the top of the pie with the chopped nuts and shredded coconut. Bake 35 minutes or until lightly puffed and golden brown. Cool completely on wire rack before serving. A dollop of whipped cream on each piece adds a nice touch.