Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Pies need fillings like families need love, happiness and understanding to be enriched.

My dad's very favorite pie is a sour cream and raisin pie that his mother used to make. I have never seen or heard of a recipe that comes close to the old family recipe that my Grandmother Gladys handed down to us. The first time I can recall it being made in my childhood was when I was around 7. We lived in an old farm house out in the middle of the Camas Prairie on the outskirts of Grangeville. The owner of the house was a complete character, he had had some of fingers cut off, I believe from a tractor accident years before we meant him, but he took joy in scaring us children by telling all sorts of assorted stories about their demise. I don't remember ever meeting his wife, if she was still living at the time I don't recall. He was in his seventies and had been a hard working farmer, on his families homestead, his whole life. He lived just up the road from the house he rented us. The old farm house was marvelous and I still love anything old and historic. My mother used to say when we drove by an old abandoned house on a prairie, in all the states we traveled to in my childhood, "there is some one's better years." I truly love old buildings to this day and think on those better years some one lived in the old places. The mind can see so many possibilities. Again I digress.

The farmer was Mr. Shumatica, I don't know the spelling of his name or it's origin, we had a lovely giant garden, trees to climb and anything imaginable for a child to do, and a daily visit from the old man. He milked his cows every day and used a milk separator to separate the milk, he would bring us the thickest cream I have ever seen it was totally the best ever. We would have it on oatmeal, in homemade ice cream and if mom soured it for a few days, sour cream pie.

The pie looks like a pecan pie at first glance and to some extent it almost has that texture, it is sweet and tangy and just the best. You make up a pie crust and fill it with the almost custard mixture of:

1 cup very thick sour cream, homemade unpasteurized is the best, commerical will work but not quite right
3/4 cup sugar
3 egg yolks, I have used whole eggs but it is not as rich
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/3 tsp. allspice
3/4 cup raisins

Mix all together. Pour in the unbaked crust, Bake for 10 minutes at 425 reduce the heat and continue cooking for 30 to 40 minutes. Chill and serve with fresh whipped cream, real is best.

Our time at Shumatica's was some of the best times in my young childhood, my Grandparents and Aunts came to visit regularly. My cousins from Arizona came for two weeks and we fought, played and enjoyed our last times of being around each other just to play as children. We fell out of trees, my boy cousin, a couple of years older than me, ran away with my mom's blessing, all the way up the hill almost out of sight before he turned around and came running home. Our summer there was filled with such joy and calm, I do believe there is nothing more fun than a farm and the farm life for children, freedom to just be children with no pressure from the outside world and it's complications. I still love to see, some one's better years as I am driving down the road, eroding into dust and decay with the weeds and moss growing on it, what stories those old walls could tell... tomorrow.

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