Edna Lewis’s Tyler Pie for My Friend Michael Twitty and #LetsLunch
FOREWORD to a blog post?Well, yes. This post is part of a covered-dish/food blogging cook-up, whereby a bunch of my fellow food bloggers cook on a theme, once a month and share them under the hashtag #LetsLunch. Check us out on twitter, or scroll down to the end of this post where I’ve listed this month’s contributing food writers. Delicious, creative, fascinating posts. You will have a good time Lunching with us! Thanks for visiting my blog right here. And now, back to Edna Lewis’s Tyler Pie…
Tyler pie is an old-school pie, still known and loved in its original home of central Virginia where its namesake, President Tyler, was born and raised. Whether he actually loved it or ate it there or elsewhere is something we cannot know, but we do know a bit about this splendid dessert because Edna Lewis tells us about it in her magnificent cookbook, “The Taste of Country Cooking”, published in 1977 and still in print and cherished today. Tyler pie is a luscious version of egg custard pie, with more sugar, more butter, and a splash of lemon extract. I had read about Tyler pie, which has also been called Tyler pudding throughout history, even with its crust and other pie-like qualities, but had never had one until this year. I came across one in Richmond, Virginia last June, during a delightful walking tour led by Richmond Food Tours, a tour which included stops at excellent bakeries. Inspired, I began baking Tyler pie and find that many people share my delight in this classic pie.
I love walking tours, especially ones like this one which treated us to bakeries, neighborhoods, historic churchyards, restaurants and more.
Southern Foodways Alliance organized a Richmond tour back in June, and that is why I ended up strolling the fascinating city and having my first up close and personal encounter with Tyler Pie.
I loved “Well-Made Pastry Alliance/WPA Bakery”, and wish I could be a frequent visitor.
When my friend Michael Twitty came over for supper during July, I served him some Tyler Pie and he fell for it right way. Mike had an event coming up in September, a culinary history celebration at Historic Stagville, a plantation outside Durham NC which is a North Carolina Historic Site. Mike had plenty to do as organizer and guiding light for Stagville Harvest Festival which took place on September 7th. I joined a group of pie-loving friends to become a member of the Pie Brigade, whose mission it was to supply pies to the event so that people could have a ‘taste of the past’ in a beautiful, moving setting on an early fall day.
Here’s Mike Twitty cooking turnip greens over the fire in a cast iron skillet.
Here my friend Colleen Minton, founding director of TerraVITA Food & Wine Event (October 10-12, 2013 here in Chapel Hill), leads a discussion with Chef and Cookbook Author Hugh Acheson, who traveled from Atlanta to join Mike Twitty in a memorable day of cooking, eating, and conversation.
I took this photo of the discussion from the back so that I could include the handsome huge ancient black walnut tree shading us on a sunny afternoon.
Here is the Historic Stagville Pie Brigade on that memorable day! Me on the left in red; Matthew Glassman, Debbie Moose, and Claire Cusick.
Debbie Moose was our Pie Wrangler and Brigade Commander, making sure that tempting tastes of multiple pies were out to delight event guests all afternoon. People enjoyed them so much. Each Pie Brigade member brought several old-school pies. Mine were two Tyler pies and two wild persimmon pies, the latter made with frozen persimmon puree from last year’s crop.
There are but two of Debbie Moose’s excellent and seasonal blackberry pies. She has got that lattice-top crust DOWN!!! They were as just as good as they looked. Wish I had photos of Claire Cusick’s glorious apple pies, Matthew Glassman’s oatmeal pies and white sweet potato pies, and Marcie Cohen Ferris’s apple pies, but I appear to have been distracted by eating their samples. Here’s the recipe for Tyler pie:
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups of sugar
- 1 teaspoon of flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (1/2 lb) of slightly melted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon lemon extract
- 2 cups milk
- Beat the eggs well in a large bowl.
- Combine the sugar, flour and salt in a medium bowl and stir to mix well.
- Add the sugar mixture to the beaten eggs and mix well.
- Add the butter, vanilla, and lemon extract, and stir to mix everything together well.
- Add the milk.
- After one final stirring, pour the filling into your pie crust pans, dividing it evenly between the two..
- Bake in oven preheated to 350 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes, until filling is set and handsomely browned. Males 2 pies
This post is part of #LetsLunch , a monthly food bloggers’ community celebration, where lots of wonderful writers/cooks/photographers post on the same topic. This month it’s “Pie!”. Here are some of my friends’ posts on the subject for your reading cooking pleasure. More coming right here later today, so do check back…. Okay, I just posted this update. A few more to come but this gives you lots of Pie Pleasure and Inpiration. All my food blogging pals had a mighty good time making pie, and I think you will love reading and seeing what they cooked up. Follow them for e-mail inbox inspiration…..
#LetsLunch Pie Posts:
Annabelle‘s Chocolate Pie at Glass of Fancy
Anne Marie‘s Apple Pie Sandwiches at Sandwich Surprise
Betty Ann‘s Calamansi Pie at Asian In America
Cheryl‘s Mexican Cottage Pie at A Tiger in the Kitchen
Jill‘s Guava and Cream Cheese Empanadas at Eating My Words
Lisa‘s Sweet Ricotta Noodle Pie at Monday Morning Cooking Club
Lisa K‘s Chocolate Pie at Open Salon
Linda‘s Biscoff Banana & Pear Galette at Spicebox Travels
Lucy‘s Sweet Potato Custard Pie at A Cook and Her Books
Margaret‘s Cushaw (Squash) Pie at Tea and Scones, Too
Nancie‘s Edna Lewis’s Tyler Pie at Nancie McDermott
Naomi‘s Huckleberry Pie Ice-Cream at The Gastro Gnome
Sara‘s Herb Pie from Ottolenghi and Tamimi’s “Jerusalem” at Three Clever Sisters
Falling in love with this splendid cookbook is as easy as pie. You’ll find recipes and reminiscences of life in Freetown, Virginia back in the early part of the twentieth century, shared in beautiful prose and practical recipes by the great Edna Lewis.
To learn more about Michael Twitty’s work and travels, check out his blog here:
I’ll leave you with a clue about the kind of pie I’m hungry for now: Black Walnut! That glorious black walnut tree shading Mr. Twitty and company during their conversation on September 7th has a good but still green crop of black walnuts; And I’m hoping to get some black walnuts later this fall for Thanksgiving pie-making.
Entry filed under: #LetsLunch, Classics, Southern food, Southern Pies, Travel, Uncategorized. Tags: Edna Lewis, Historic Stagville, LetsLunch, Michael Twitty, pie brigade, The Taste of Country Cooking, Tyler pie.