I have a long history of pies. My Great Grandma Viola Davis made pies for the old Kennard Restaurant. She was known for some of the best fruit pies in all of the county. She taught my Grandma Deloris Bolinger her pie making skills and then she passed them along to my Mom, Darla Doubman. On the other side of my family, my Great Grandma Flora Doubman made pies, who then in turn taught them to my Grandma Barbra Doubman. I was taught a little of all the pie making skills learned throughout the years from people on both sides of my family and I am so excited to be sharing some of my pie secrets here with all of you. First, always use lard in your crusts. Or at least a mixture of butter and lard.

Lard has fallen out of popularity over the years, due in part to it being downright bad for you, but if you know where your lard is rendered, and you can trust your local butcher, lard is not as bad, in moderation of course, as some people would lead you to believe. Another secret is to always use cold water in your crusts. Never use milk either because for some reason it makes the crusts tough. Some pies you need to “blind bake” your crusts, meaning to bake the crust first before filling, and this step is really, in my opinion, what you prefer. I most generally never “blind bake” mine unless I am making a pie with some type of a cream or creamy filling. Also, when making fruit pies, line the bottom of your crusts with a little corn flakes before adding in the fruit filling. It creates a barrier between the fruit and the crust, therefore never giving you a soggy bottomed pie. Nobody ever knows this secret either because you can not see or taste the corn flakes!

Another pie secret that I am sure everyone must know is that you need to make sure your oven is running at the correct temperature and that your timer is running at the time. Also, about 10 minutes before you think the pie may be done, start checking on it for doneness. Fruit pies and crusts that seem to be a little stubborn may need to be checked and covered and lined along with outside with aluminum foil, earlier than the 10-minute mark. There are so many different pie tricks and tips and I would love to hear if you or your family has any that I have not mentioned and shared here! If so, please drop me a line on my website and let me know.

Chocolate Pie.jpg

A Delicious Chocolate Pie

The recipe I am sharing here today is for a cream filled pie. Chocolate cream filled pie to be exact. It is super easy and really delicious. This particular recipe makes one large standard pie but if you are feeling in the mood to share and make it portable, simply line a few plastic cups with your graham cracker crust mixture, dollop the filling on top and top with whipped cream. I have done this method for little individual banana cream pies too and it was a huge hit!

Chocolate Pie

Feel free to top the whipped cream with shaved chocolate or mini chocolate chips. You can also slightly freeze this pie and cut and serve with warm chocolate sauce, caramel sauce or even butterscotch.

Premade Graham Cracker Crust

2 cups whole milk

1 1/2 cups white granulated sugar

3 large egg yolks

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In a large pot over medium high heat combine the whole milk with the white granulated sugar, large egg yolks, unsweetened cocoa powder, cornstarch, salt and pure vanilla extract.

Beat with a whisk until combined.

Continue to whisk until the mixture becomes thickened.

Once thickened, cook another 2 minutes then pour into prepared pie crust.

Smooth out the top.

Place a piece of plastic wrap over the top of the pie, pressing down on the surface of the pie slightly. This will ensure a skin does not form on the pie while it is chilling.

Place into the refrigerator to chill for at least 4 hours.

When ready to serve, carefully remove plastic wrap. Top with whipped cream.

Cut and serve. Keep leftovers chilled.

Ask and Answer: Several of you are wondering about the recipe I shared in my previous column for my Great Grandma Flora’s Secret Pie. I heard from so many of you who said that the pie reminded you of your own secret family pie and I loved hearing from you all! A lot of you wondered if the pie was a version of the popular “Ritz Cracker Pie” that is also known as a “Mock Apple Pie” and the version I shared is really not at all like that. The version I shared is more of a meringue type pie with a crispy outer layer and a chewy interior. Some other questions I would like to address here about the pie is, yes you must use the nuts in the recipe for the proper form and structure and no you cannot substitute saltine crackers.

Blaise Doubman, of Kennard, is an Indiana University graduate. He invites readers to visit his website at: TRAIL BLAISE (http://trailblaise.com). He loves to hear from his readers and can be contacted via the contact page found directly on his website.