Two Pies

There are a handful of recipes I consider my “default” recipes.  When I don’t have time to cook or, on the rare occasion I don’t feel like cooking, I turn to a few super easy standby recipes…things like tacos and spaghetti and grilled chicken.  Last week I reached for the spaghetti ingredients on just such an evening and thought, “I don’t really feel like eating spaghetti.”  So I turned it into pie…just like my mom used to make when I was little.

The cooked pasta gets mixed with butter and grated parmesan cheese and molded into a pie plate

Spaghetti crust
Spaghetti crust

Then you spread a layer of ricotta cheese and top it with your sauce.  This sauce is one of those quick envelope kind mixed with tomato paste and then I add sauted mushrooms and ground turkey.  (I have a wonderful Bolognese sauce that is triple-reduced which would be delicious here, but that would totally defeat the handy-I-don’t-feel-like-cooking-recipe idea, wouldn’t it?  I’ll save it for another time!)

Filling the pie with ricotta and sauce
Filling the pie with ricotta and sauce

Then the whole things gets topped with mozzarella and baked until the top is golden and bubbly.

Spaghetti Pie

While it was resting I threw together a green salad with easy homemade dressing (I love that thing!) and let some garlic bread warm in the oven.  The resting part is important…just like lasagna…if you don’t let it cool a little, the slices fall apart when you serve them.

Slice of pie, spaghetti style
Slice of pie, spaghetti style

Easy as pie.

Speaking of pie…since we had it for dinner, we had to have it for dessert, too.

This just might be my very favorite pie.  Really.  Like the number one pie.  It’s an old-timey recipe called Buttermilk Pie and I serve it with a triple-berry sauce that is so versatile.  It would be delicious on ice cream or in yogurt…in fact, in the days following the pie I had the sauce on pancakes and in oatmeal.  It also would have been delicious on those little French puffs I did a few weeks ago.

Dreamy creamy buttermilk pie with triple berry sauce
Dreamy creamy buttermilk pie with triple berry sauce

If you are afraid of pies, like some people are, this is a great one to have in your repertoire.  You can cheat on the crust and no one will ever notice and you can garnish it with just about any kind of fruit or chocolate you happen to have around.  Make this pie.  You won’t be sorry.

All around it was a night I would have rather picked up take-out to eat while in front of the TV…but, thanks to on-hand ingredients for a jazzed-up standby and some leftover pie, we had dinner at the table and my three-year-old laughed at pie for dinner and pie for dessert with a salad in between.

Buttermilk Pie with Triple Berry Sauce

from Martha Stewart’s Annual Recipes

Graham-Cracker Coated Crust

(You can totally skip this part and use a prepared graham cracker crust instead – I won’t tell, I promise.)

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1/4 cup ice water

4 graham crackers, finely ground (1/2 cup)

Pie Filling

3 cups buttermilk

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled

8 large egg yolks

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon lemon zest, grated


For crust: Use a 10-inch pie plate.

Pulse flour and salt in food processor.  Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  With machine running, add ice water a little at a time until dough just holds together.

Turn out dough onto a lightly floured work surface and flatten into a disk.

Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Spread graham crumbs on clean work surface.  Roll out dough on top of crumbs, coating both sides, into a 14 inch round about 1/8 inch thick.  Fit into pie plate, crimp edges and refrigerate shell at least 30 minutes.

For Pie: Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Prick bottom of shell with a fork, line shell with foil, fill with dried beans and bake until edges are lightly browned- about 25 minutes.

Remove foil and bake another 10 minutes to lightly brown bottom of crust.

Cool completely.


Reduce oven to 350.

In a bowl, whisk together buttermilk, butter, egg yolks and vanilla.

In another bowl combine sugar, flour and salt.

Whisk liquid ingredients into dry ingredients.

Pass through a fine strainer into a clean bowl.

Stir in lemon zest.

Pour mixture into pie shell and bake until center is just set, about 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Cool and refrigerate at least 4 hours.

Serve with berry sauce.

Triple Berry Sauce

adapted from Martha Stewart

1/2 cup sugar

1 TB freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 pints fresh blueberries, picked over and rinsed

6 oz (1 container) fresh blackberries

6 oz (1 container) fresh raspberries

1 teaspoon cornstarch

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir together sugar, lemon juice, and half of each kind of berry.  Bring just barely to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer until the berries burst and release their juice, about 3 minutes.

In a small bowl dissolve the cornstarch in about 1 teaspoon of cold water and then stir into sauce.  Simmer, stirring, until it thickens slightly, about 1 minute.  Remove from heat and stir in remaining berries.  Refrigerate until chilled.  Stir again before serving.

8 thoughts on “Two Pies

    1. gatheraroundthetable

      Laila – thanks! Can’t wait to try that roasted veggie soup on your site – perfect for this weather! Have a nice week…

  1. Jen Hannah

    Pie was the magic word yesterday… I made this too. It was DELICIOUS! I couldn’t even wait for it to cool all the way before I dug in…

    1. gatheraroundthetable

      Yeah for pie! So glad you enjoyed it…it’s even better the next day, I think. Someday I’ll post the famous family cheesecake…you’ll think you’ve died and gone to heaven.

  2. meagan

    Hey- I have been craving noodles and pie so I have got to try this. Only thing is I don’t want to mess up the sauce, and I would! Would you be willing to share how you made yours?


    Hungry Meagan

    1. gatheraroundthetable

      The spaghetti sauce? Nothing fancy…it is just sauteed mushrooms and ground turkey mixed in with one of those spaghetti sauce packets (the ones you mix with a can of tomato paste and water.) Let it simmer for just a few minutes. Easy breezy. Let me know what you think when you try it!

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