I went to college in Pennsylvania Dutch country. A friend of mine at the time lived close by and I would visit there often and was often invited to stay for dinner :). Her mother cooked extensively Pennsylvania Dutch(aka Pennsylvania German) dishes and I would watch while she cooked/baked because they were so different from the dishes I grew up with. One of her standbys in the summer time was Corn Pie.
Mrs. Hoffman grew a truck garden in the back of the house and when she would make her pie, would go out for the fresh corn to cut. She also froze corn to have for her winter dishes. She also made her own pie crusts by the dozens and froze them.
Her two daughters never seemed to have the time to learn how to cook from her and Mrs. Hoffman also didn’t write anything down…all of her recipes were instinctive…a pinch of this, a dash of that, a handful of that… She died suddenly a few months before my friend’s wedding and one day my friend confided to me that she wished she had watched and helped her mother cook because she didn’t know how to make her corn pie. I piped up, “I know how to make it…” and we went into the kitchen to make one…when her father came home from work that day and smelled the corn pie, there were tears in his eyes. He later said that for a brief moment he thought his wife was alive again.
The thing about this corn pie is that it is quite versatile…I added ham to mine but you can add bacon, chicken or leave the meat out. I use 2% milk but you can use whatever you wish…if you would like a richer pie, add cream. My family loves onions so I use a lot of onions in mine. Traditionally it is a double crust pie…I make it a one crust pie. Some use bread crumbs or cracker crumbs for on top. There are a lot of recipes out there if you google it…this is the one I use from Mrs. Hoffman.
Mrs. Hoffman’s Corn Pie
Oven temperature 400 degrees for 10 minutes, 350 for the rest of the time(approximately 30 minutes total.
Ingredients: 1 9 inch pie crust
2 hard cooked eggs(cut up into small pieces)
2 small onions (chopped) You can also add some red or green peppers for flavor
Corn from two large ears of corn(you can use frozen or tinned as well…)
herbs(I happen to like dill and basil…you use what you like)
1 cup or so of milk or cream
4 ounces of meat(ham, bacon, chicken) if desired
salt and pepper to taste
Note: if you would like potato in your corn pie, take one large cooked potato and dice it
a. Saute the onion. If you are using bacon, fry the bacon first and then sauté the onion in the bacon grease. If you are using ham or chicken, sauté that with the onion.
b. When the onion mixture is done, add the corn, herbs and mix well.
c. Take half of the flour and sprinkle on the bottom of the pie shell(if you don’t do this, you will have a runny pie that doesn’t hold together and the bottom crust will be soggy…trust me, I have done this and it’s not a happy picture!)
d. add half of the mixture and then sprinkle the rest of the flour.
e. Pour the milk on the pie til it reaches almost to the top.
f. If you want the top crust, add that now and cut air slits.
g. If you wish to have a single crust and want the bread crumbs or the cracker crumbs, place them on top of the pie and put dabs of butter on top.
h. Place in a 400 F degree oven for about 10 minutes and then turn the temperature down to 350 for the 20 or so minutes until the crust is nice and browned.
Tastes great served with fresh tomato or a salad and some fresh crusty rolls.
Note: some people like to make a white sauce first using 3 tablespoons of butter and 3 tablespoons of flour, adding the milk and then adding the rest of the ingredients. In this way you are certain that you will not have a runny pie…
Let me know if you try it and like it…Pennsylvania Dutch cooking has some unique recipes to add to your collection…some are Shoo Fly Pie, Sand Tarts, Sticky Buns, Potato filling and many others.
til next time…Eva