It took me a few minutes to put all the pieces together. With peaches roasted in Marsala wine for homemade ice cream – to take to a rooftop fireworks watching party and to top a pie I planned on making on Tuesday – we went to get the freezer tub for the ice cream maker out of the freezer. It was a little sloshy, which concerned me a bit but I chalked it up to not chilling it early enough. When it went to churn, nothing happened but tepid ice cream base sloshing around. Opening the door to the freezers, I noticed dripping water dangling from the shelving. Popsicles left over from my birthday party were little packages of slush. Everything in the fridge side was warm to the touch. It was bound to happen eventually and I guess I should be glad it’s taken 35 years to experience my first fridge on the fritz.
Begrudgingly, everything – except one cooler full of the expensive cheese and a few condiments – was thrown away. It’s jarring to see that kind of waste happening at home. Sadly, I’ve become desensitized to it in the workplace – the amounts of food that get tossed is pretty shocking. At home, though, I’m a food saver. I’ll keep every bit of something and try and work it into multiple meals because I just hate to see it go unused. That block of Parmesan cheese I grate on everything, my farmers market produce scores, carrot caponata that I’ve been eating on for days – it’s all in the bin by the curb…and I can’t tell you how livid its made me. You know what else got thrown away? All of the ingredients for the base of my pie to take part in Shauna‘s Pie Party.
In the spirit of going with the flow & working with what I’ve got, I re-upped on my eggs today and bought a stick of butter to make a pie I’ve been obsessing about for months. I had heard about this thing called Grits Pie being served at a local meat n-three place in town but hadn’t made it over there to try it yet. Seemingly, the only other people who know about this treat are Paula Deen and a smattering of folks who know of it from church and junior league cookbooks. Outside of that, there’s not a lot in the way of information about it on the web. It’s exactly as I imagined it: a custard-esque pie toeing the line between sweet and savory. To cut through the anticipated richness, I added the zest of one lemon to the mixture. It’s a nice, bright touch and is a small step that adds a lot. While I had intended to make my own pie crust, well…the notion of stone cold ingredients for dough just isn’t in the cards for me right now. Crimping the dough with a fork and the smells of baking pie in my house was therapeutic, soothing, and just the right bit distracting…which is probably just what Shauna had hoped it would be for all of us.
Sweet Grits Pie – makes 8 servings – recipe slightly adapted from this Paula Deen recipe
– Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
– In a small saucepan, bring the water and salt to a boil. Add the grits and cook for 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the butter and cook for 1 additional minute. Set aside and cool slightly.
– In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, eggs, buttermilk, lemon zest and vanilla. Slowly stir into the cooled grits. Pour into the pie shell and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until set. Serve warm or cold with whipped cream and berries as a garnish, if desired.