Monday, January 9, 2012

Raisin Cream Pie

Last September, Jeff asked me to make a raisin cream pie. I'd never eaten a slice of one before, let a lone made one, so I found a recipe in my favorite cookbook and whipped one up. It was delicious. Since then, I've made at least six more to share with family and friends, and they're always a hit.

It's not a hard pie to make, it just takes time. Here's the recipe, along with a few tips for pie-baking success.


1 Baked Pastry Shell (see below)
4 eggs
2/3 C sugar
1/3 C cornstarch
2 1/2 C half and half
1 T butter
1 C raisins
1/2 C sour cream
1 recipe Four Egg White Meringue (see below)

1. Prepare baked pastry shell. Separate egg yolks from whites; set aside for meringue.
2. For filling, in a medium saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch. Gradually stir in half and half. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until thickened and bubbly; reduce heat. Cook and stir for two minutes more. Remove from heat. Slightly beat egg yolks. Gradually stir about 1 cup of the hot filling into the yolks. Add egg yolk mixture to filling in saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil; reduce heat. Cook and stir for two minutes more. Remove from heat. Stir in butter, vanilla, raisins and sour cream. Keep filling warm; prepare meringue. (Keeping the filling warm is important - it will help your meringue to not weep)
3. Pour warm filling into Baked Pastry Shell. Spread meringue over warm filling; seal to edge. (Make sure the meringue completely covers the filling and makes a nice seal with the crust. This will help the meringue to not shrink) Bake in a 325 degree oven for 30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack 1 hour. Chill 3 to 6 hours before serving; cover for longer storage.

Baked Pastry Shell

Roll out your crust and place it in your pie pan. Prick bottom and sides with a fork. Line pastry with a double thickness of foil (this keeps it from shrinking). Bake in a 450 degree oven for 8 minutes. Remove foil. Bake 5 to 6 minutes more or until golden. Cool on a wire rack.

Four Egg White Meringue

4 egg whites
1 t vanilla
1/2 t cream of tartar
1/2 C sugar

1. Allow egg whites to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. In a large mixing bowl (copper, glass or stainless steel work best) combine egg whites, vanilla, and cream of tartar. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed about 1 minute or until soft peaks form.
2. Gradually add the sugar, 1 T at a time, beating on high speed about 4 minutes more or until mixture forms stiff, glossy peaks.
3. Immediately spread meringue over hot pie filling, carefully sealing the edge to prevent shrinking.

More tips for perfect meringue:
1. Be sure to use the size bowl called for by your recipe. Also, make sure your electric beaters are clean.
2.Start gradually adding sugar as soon as soft peaks form.
3. After adding all of the sugar, continue beating until stiff peaks form and all of the sugar is dissolved (rub a little of the meringue between your fingers; it should feel completely smooth). Under beaten whites may cause meringue to shrink.
4. To prevent beading (the fine drops of moisture that form on the meringue surface), avoid over-baking the meringue.
5. To prevent weeping (the watery layer that forms between the meringue and filling), spoon meringue onto piping hot filling to help the underside of the meringue cook at the same rate as the top surface. Don't under bake meringue.

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