perishables and the pie party July 5, 2011

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

  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup quick-cooking grits
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • zest of one large lemon
  • 1 (9-inch) frozen pie shell, thawed
  • Sweetened whipped cream and fresh berries – optional garnish – I would recommend a bit of fresh whipped cream if you have a working fridge!

– 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.


Chris Jul 5, 2011 05:07 pm

I don’t want to anything but…Did I miss a phone call to come to your place for the pie tasting?

:) hrumph…Looks ah-ma-zing

Chris Jul 5, 2011 05:07 pm

oops…was so struck by the pie I didn’t taste….I left out a word. I meant to say…I don’t want to say anything but….

:) Hugs!

Carrie @ poet in the pantry Jul 5, 2011 06:07 pm

:( Usually, my fridge/freezer problems come from the kids messing with the settings (though there are sections of the fridge that perpetually freeze the contents). So sorry you went through this! What a bummer having to throw all that good food away. :( Looks like you’re recovering well, though!

Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga Jul 5, 2011 06:07 pm

I never knew you could put grits in a pie. Wow! I lived in NC and SC for 4 yrs and that was the only time in my life I’ve ever lived in a place where people cooked grits. Out here in San Diego, it’s more about the raw vegan massaged kale salads :)

Your pie makes me want to find out if they even sell grits in the grocery store here…haha!

merry jennifer Jul 5, 2011 08:07 pm

Oh, my gosh. I’m dying for some of this pie. Seriously.

[…] Running with Tweezers – Sweet Grits Pie […]

To Kiss the Cook Jul 5, 2011 10:07 pm

This is such a fabulous plan with a lot of my favorite flavors. Like rice pudding pie for summer. Or, you know, grits pie. For anytime. Love the concept and the inspiration.

Helene Jul 6, 2011 02:07 am

Dude… best pie idea :)
But yeah… really sorry about the fridge. I would be livid too. There is nothing I can say to fix it but damn…”pie!”

Irvin from Eat the Love Jul 6, 2011 03:07 am

So sorry to hear about your fridge issue, but um, that grits pie sounds Fab U Lous and I never make the word fabulous into three words. Well, rarely I guess, since I just did.

Oh man. I love grits. And I love pie. And I love you. So this is just magical. I hope your fridge woes get better.

marla Jul 6, 2011 07:07 am

Dreadful about that fridge. Would drive me nuts. Good thing you had this grits pie to bring back some smiles :)

purabi naha Jul 6, 2011 10:07 am

Tami, every time I come to your blog I am surprised by your amazing recipe collection. This sweet grits pie is too good. Loved your blog and your photography!! Do visit mine if you love Asian (especially Indian) food. Shall come back again very soon!

Maggie at Eat Boutique Jul 6, 2011 03:07 pm

I’d love some of this for lunch please and dinner. Looks wonderful.

The Teacher Cooks Jul 6, 2011 03:07 pm

This is quite interesting. I have never heard of a grits pie and I have eaten grits my entire life. It looks delicious. Sorry about your freezer/refrigerator. I’ve been there several times.

Ilke Jul 7, 2011 06:07 am

Ok, after grits casserole, I am sure this would be something asked by the family for brunches!
Hope you got a new fridge!!

Lucy@acookandherbooks Jul 7, 2011 02:07 pm

When the going gets tough, the tough make (a tender) pie. This pie is new to this life-long Southerner. Can’t wait to try it & I hope your fridge & freezer problems are quickly resolved!

Katharine Pike Jul 7, 2011 09:07 pm

uber Kool, T. I love your prose. You bring to life the process of living. A few years ago my very well stocked fridge full of hand made food went on the fritz; and I, also, had to toss just about everything. The grit pie would have made it alright. Am glad to finally have the recipe. I like the addition of lemon zest.

Kathy - Panini Happy Jul 7, 2011 09:07 pm

Kudos to you for perseverance – this pie sounds so incredible! And so southern! :-)

Miss @ Miss in the Kitchen Jul 8, 2011 11:07 pm

Very interesting. I am not the typical southern grits lover, but I would like to try this pie!

George Jul 9, 2011 12:07 am

Grits in a pie? oh my!

Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite Jul 9, 2011 01:07 am

Such a fresh looking pie and such stunning pictures. I am also wondering where MY slice is… though I guess they don’t travel so well, huh? ;-)

Winnie Jul 10, 2011 11:07 pm

Sorry about your fridge, but this grits pie looks so good!

[…] a wonderful way for me to branch out of my normal routine and try some new things in the kitchen. She got me to make pie, for goodness sake. Wanting to preserve the last of the locally grown peaches, I did a quick pickle […]