Our Family’s Favorite Pies

Welcome to the April 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Family Recipes

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants are sharing their recipes, their stories, their pictures, and their memories.


Pie is the quintessential dessert served in farmhouse kitchens all over America, and it’s our family’s favorite thing to bake together.

As a teenager I spent a ton of time in the kitchen at my family’s farm market baking apple and pumpkin pies by the dozen to sell to the families who came to spend the day picking apples and going on hayrides. Now it’s a tradition that I love to share with my own children, though we admittedly only bake one or two pies at a time.

Pies can range from simple to extraordinary, rustic to elegant. Served alone or with ice cream, sharp cheese or whipped cream, it’s hard to turn down a piece of pie. Here are some of my best pies, which I bake when the fruit is fresh and in season. There’s no better way to use up a glut of tasty fruit.

Start with the Crust

I like to make pie dough using butter, since I’m not a fan of the hydrogenated oils in shortening. This recipe makes a flaky crust that can get tough if it is overworked. This recipe will make dough for a one-crusted pie, since that’s what I usually make. Double it for a two-crusted pie.

I love the bottom crust of a pie. It has to be cooked through, not underdone, so I tend to put the pie on the lowest rack of the oven for the last 10-15 minutes of baking.


  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) of cold butter, diced
  • 1/8-1/4 cup ice water


I use a food processor because it is the fastest way I have found to make pie dough. Pulse the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor to combine. Add the butter to the food processor. Pulse until the butter is blended into the flour but you can still see small pieces. With the machine on, slowly stream in the water until the dough just comes together.  The amount of water needed will depend on the humidity and other factors, so you have to pay attention to the dough. The dough should be just sticky enough to hold together.  If you add too much water until it’s one mass, your dough can become tough. Dump the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap, form it into a flattened ball and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes.

If all this seems to complicated, check out my Pie Dough Tutorial with lots of pictures to guide you. Once the dough is done and chilled, we’re ready to roll!

Top Crust?

I don’t usually make two-crusted pies because I like to do something a little bit fancier on top of the pie. I tend to like a lattice crust on top for pies that are filled with brightly colored fruit. I also like the sweetness of a crumb topping or whipped cream on top of pie. And some pies don’t need any topping at all. The recipes I share will have a bit of everything, but feel free to mix and match them to get what you like best. They all have a bottom crust though, so go ahead and roll that out and fit it to the pan. Rolling dough is fun for little kids, too! Though you may need to readjust your expectations for a perfect looking crust.


Choose fresh, ripe fruit in season. Visiting a U-Pick farm or growing your own fruit is a fun way for kids to learn where their food comes from and help make the pie. You don’t want to use fruit that is too over-ripe, but a little soft is okay. Some fruits are juicier than others, so you may need to adjust thickeners like flour or cornstarch accordingly. I like to use less sugar than most recipes call for since fresh local fruit in season is much sweeter than fruit that’s shipped from who knows where to your supermarket. The recipes are fluid, and the measurements I suggest for the fillings are mostly just guidelines that can be adjusted.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie with Lattice Crust

Late spring is the beginning of the year for pie in our home. Filled with tart rhubarb and sweet fresh strawberries (which don’t appear here until June), it’s the perfect way to end a spring meal. Strawberries are easy to chop, so children can help with this task. Top it with fresh whipped cream for added decadence.


  • 1 quart strawberries, hulled and chopped into large pieces
  • 3-4 big stalks of rhubarb, sliced
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 heaping Tbsp cornstarch
  • dough for 2-crusted pie
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp sugar


Combine strawberries, rhubarb, sugar and cornstarch in a bowl.  Line a pie pan with one crust, then roll out the second crust and slice it into 1-inch strips.  I find a pizza cutter works well for this task.  Pour the filling into the bottom crust, then lay out the top crust.  It looks impressive, but it’s easy to weave the crust.  Just start in the middle with a long strip and work your way out.  Trim and tuck in the ends, then crimp the edges.  Beat the egg and brush it onto the crust, then sprinkle with sugar.  I usually don’t like an egg wash on pies, but I think it adds a nice shimmer to the lattice top.  Bake at 350°F for 60-70 minutes until the filling is bubbly and the crust is browned.  It’s a good idea to place it on a baking sheet to catch any bubbled-over filling.

Don’t let the lattice crust intimidate you. Check out my Lattice Pie Crust Tutorial for step-by-step instructions.

Peach Raspberry Crumb Pie

This pie is a treat in the hot summer months when peaches and raspberries are in season. The crumb topping gives an added sweetness to the pie. Our son loves raspberries, so make sure to get extra for eating fresh.


  • dough for one-crust pie
  • 6 cups peeled, sliced ripe peaches
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 heaping Tbsp flour
  • 1 stick butter, softened and diced
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • dash cinnamon


Line the pie plate with the pie crust and crimp the edges.  Combine peaches, raspberries, sugar and flour in a large bowl.  Pour into the crust.  Combine all remaining ingredients for the crumb topping, using your fingers to mix until crumbly.  Top pie with crumbs, and bake in a 350°F oven until the fruit is bubbly and the crust is golden brown.  You probably want to put it on a tray to prevent drips in your oven.

Fresh Glazed Blueberry Pie

This pie comes from our family’s friend Ruth who lives in Maine, and it is so refreshing on hot summer nights. It’s made of both uncooked blueberries and cooked ones in a pre-baked pie shell.  I really like it with the smaller wild Maine blueberries.


  • pre-baked and cooled pie shell
  • cream cheese
  • fresh blueberries
  • glaze*
  • sweetened whipped cream

*To make the glaze:

  • Simmer 2/3 cups blueberries and 1 cup water for 5 minutes
  • In a bowl, combine 1 cup sugar, 3 rounded Tbsp cornstarch, 1/2 cup water.
  • Add the sugar mixture to the simmering blueberries and cook, stirring, until thickened.
  • Cool.

To assemble the pie:

  • Spread the baked, cooled pie shell with a thin layer of softened cream cheese.  Just enough to  cover the bottom crust to keep it from getting soggy.
  • Spread a layer of glaze over the cream cheese, then a layer of fresh blueberries.  Continue alternating until the pie is full, and end with a layer of fresh blueberries.
  • Cool in the fridge.
  • Top with fresh whipped cream and serve.

Check out how to make a pre-baked pie shell (and my mother-in-law’s recipe for Lemon Meringue Pie) here.

Best In Show Butternut Squash Pie

This is my all-time favorite pie in autumn. It is a recipe that I adapted from my great-grandma’s, and I have won lots of blue ribbons with this pie. I even won Best In Show at one fair! To make the puree, split 1 butternut squash in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and remove the stem.  Place squash cut side down on a baking pan and bake at 375°F for about 1 hour, until soft.  Allow to cool, then scoop pulp into a food processor and puree.


  • 1 cup squash puree
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 beaten eggs
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pie dough for one 9-10″ crust


Preheat oven to 425°F.  Line a pie pan with the dough and crimp the edges.  Combine all ingredients in a large bowl with a whisk until smooth.  Pour into the pie crust and bake for 10 minutes.  Reduce heat to 300 and bake for 50-60 more minutes until the filling is slightly puffed and the bottom crust is golden brown.  I use a glass baking dish so I can monitor the crust, and if it’s not browning nicely you can put it on the bottom rack of the oven for 10 minutes.  Let the pie cool completely so the filling will set before you cut it.  I think it tastes even better on the second day when it’s cold from the fridge.

What’s your family’s favorite pie? Do you have any tips to share?


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon April 9 with all the carnival links.)

  • German Red Cabbage: A Family Tradition — At Living Peacefully with Children, Mandy shares her favorite dish and a part of her family’s history.
  • Rotisserie Chicken Recipes for Meal Planning — Becky at Crafty Garden Mama shares a new recipe that is in her family’s meal-planning rotation. Check out how she uses a rotisserie chicken to get through the week.
  • Grandma Wicken’s Sugar Cookies — Jana Falls at Jananas talks about how special her Grandma’s sugar cookies made her feel.
  • Recipe: Seed and Bean Burgers — ANonyMous at Radical Ramblings shares one of her favourite frugal recipes that is also super-healthy and totally delicious.
  • Pulled Pork Sandwich — Lisa at The Squishable Baby PULLS dinner together for the kids.
  • The Best Banana Muffin Recipe (Gluten Free & Vegan) — Dionna of Code Name: Mama’s adventures in gluten free baking have not been 100% successful. But today she is guest posting at Fine and Fair to share a banana muffin recipe that will knock your socks off!
  • The Pierogie Mama Whips Up Strawberry Pierogies! — Bianca at The Pierogie Mama shares her family’s recipe for strawberry pierogies…a sweet, summery version of the Polish dumplings that she affectionately named her daughter after.
  • Mom’s Cookbook — Tree at Mom Grooves digs into the big book her mom created for her six daughters and shares a favorite family recipe.
  • Crispy Duck Confit — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama takes the liberty of starting a family recipe tradition with this super simple, totally delicious crispy duck confit.
  • Stovetop BBQ Chicken — Amy at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work shares a yummy BBQ chicken recipe that you can make on the stovetop in less than 25 minutes, fridge to table!
  • Twice-Baked Sweet Potato Casserole w/Bacon — Martine at Whey Beyond the Naked Truth shares a naked food twist on an old family favorite!
  • Strawberry Panna Cotta — KerryAnn at CookingTF.com shows you her favorite dessert, a quick and easy Strawberry Panna Cotta that she enjoys so much, she had it instead of a birthday cake this year.
  • Special crepes for a special day — Mikko at Hobo Mama is learning to cook his grandma’s signature holiday meal alongside his dad.
  • Three Favorite Family Recipes: To Eat, To Wash, To Play — Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings is back with three family favorites: gluten-free shortbread, DIY powdered laundry detergent, and something fun for the kids: homemade “Flubber”!
  • Black Bean Soup Forever — Mercedes at Project Procrastinot shares a soup recipe that’s been around forever.
  • Do you want to know a secret? — SRB at Little Chicken Nuggets lets go of her mac and cheese recipe, a comfort food favourite for friends and family for years.
  • Creating Our Own Family Recipes — Emily at S.A.H.M. i AM shares how she’s trying to create meals that her girls will want to pass down to their own children some day.
  • Vranameer Chicken: A Family Recipe — Luschka at Diary of a First Child shares a recipe that reminds her of childhood and more specifically, of her mother. It’s a South African take on sweet and sour chicken and what it lacks in healthy it makes up for in tantalising to the taste buds.
  • One Recipe, Three Uses: Dishwasher Liquid Detergent, Dish Soap, and Hand Soap — If you love saving money and time, you’ll love this green recipe from Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama, guest posting at Natural Parents Network.
  • Our Family’s Favorite Pies — Abbie at Farmer’s Daughter shares recipes and tutorials for the quintessential American dessert.
  • Deliciously Easy Crock Pot ChiliLactating Girl shares her crock pot chili that is not only quick and easy, but awesome.
  • All-Purpose Crock Pot PorkCrunchy Con Mommy‘s simple “recipe” for cooking perfect pork in the crock pot is for whatever mood her family is in!
  • Family Rules: A Recipe for Harmony — Cooped-up kids + winter weather + frazzled parents can all blend together into a recipe for disaster. Dionna at Code Name: Mama shares what brought back the peace in her house.
  • Favorite Healthy Family Recipes — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares her family’s healthy eating experiences along with links to free printable vegetarian recipes that her family has created with love.
  • Grandma’s Banana Bread — Megan at The Boho Mama has early and fond memories of her grandma’s banana bread. It’s love in a loaf!
  • Family Comfort Food — Jorje of Momma Jorje shares a recipe handed down that moms have made for their kids, for regular meals as well as to comfort.

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Filed under Food, Living from Scratch, Local Agriculture, Recipes

18 Responses to Our Family’s Favorite Pies

  1. Thank you for sharing your pie crust recipe. We weren’t a pie family growing up, so I’ve never been able to master good pie crust. Maybe this summer I’ll have to try my hand at it.

    Also, I agree that the wild blueberries are the best :)
    jana recently posted..Grandma Wicken’s Sugar CookiesMy Profile

  2. Crunchy Con Mom

    My only pie trick that’s kind of fun is to use tiny cookie cutters to cut shapes out of dough to place on the top middle of the pie and around the edges of the crust-I do fall leaves for the pumpkin pies at Thanksgiving!
    I definitely need to get a food processor :)

  3. These are some delicious pies! Totally pinning for this summer! And the squash pie looks interesting!
    Bianca recently posted..The Pierogie Mama Whips Up Strawberry Pierogies!My Profile

  4. I’m so bookmarking this page! I love pie but it’s not something I make often. But that butternut squash pie looks amazing. Mmm I want some pie now.

  5. These pies look so delicious! I’ve never made any pie besides pumpkin, so I’m really excited to try these! The crust recipe looks super easy too! Thanks for sharing!
    Claire recently posted..Deliciously Easy Crock Pot ChiliMy Profile

  6. You make some gorgeous pies! I am so impressed with your prowess — clearly you are literally a professional pie maker. :)
    Lauren @ Hobo Mama recently posted..Special crepes for a special dayMy Profile

  7. Wow. Color me impressed (and envious). I would come to your house for a class if we lived closer :)

  8. Pingback: Mom’s Cookbook | Mom Grooves

  9. Pingback: An Easy Crockpot Pulled Pork Recipe - The Squishable Baby

  10. Your pies look amazing! I grew up on a farm, and my mother and grandmothers all made lots of pies. I haven’t made any recently … I’m hungry for pie now! ;)
    Deb @ Living Montessori Now recently posted..Favorite Healthy Family RecipesMy Profile

  11. I am bookmarking this page for later reference this summer/fall when our fruit and berries are ripe! Your pies look and sound amazing! And thanks for sharing your pie crust recipe, I’ve been looking for a good one!

  12. That is a lot of blueberries! I’m curious what sort of pie you eat with cheese, though I think I’ve heard of that before. Maybe the Butternut Squash?
    Momma Jorje recently posted..Mamatography 2013 – Week 14My Profile

  13. Terrific recipes! the pies look so pretty – and my hubby would be drooling over the Strawberry Rhubarb. Seriously!

    thanks so much for sharing!
    Lisa Nelson recently posted..How Many CD’s Do you Own? – Change The World WednesdayMy Profile

  14. SRB

    Oh, I LOVE squash pie! I confess that I always use store-bought crust, which really zaps the life out of the filling I lovingly prepare. I am going to give this crust recipe a try as it seems a million times easier than my Nanna’s recipe.
    SRB recently posted..do you want to know a secret?My Profile

  15. Pingback: Vranameer Chicken : A Family Recipe | Diary of a First Child

  16. Siddiqa


    I’ve been making your butternut squash pie for years, I was going to make it for a party tomorrow (on request) but I couldn’t find any squash in the market! Only pumpkin. Do you think it would taste good if I substitued the squash for pumpkin in this recipe? Thanks! I hope you reply soon!


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