For home cooks seeking savory fare for dinner or a sweet for dessert, pie is always a tasty choice. In honor of National Pie Day on Jan. 23, here are 10 easy and frugal recipes. They all call for store-bought crusts, but as any pie lover knows, using homemade pastry as the foundation ratchets up the savings and the sensory satisfaction.
10 Easy and Low-Cost Recipes for National Pie Day
To make this classic American comfort food, preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, mix 1 cup sugar with 2 tablespoons flour, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon nutmeg. Add 6 cups peeled and thinly sliced apple, and toss until all slices are lightly coated. Arrange apples in a 9-inch pie crust and cover with a second crust. Cut three or four vent lines in the top and loosely tent with aluminum foil before baking for 35 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 15 to 20 minutes, or until the filling is bubbly. Cool the pie on a wire rack for at least one hour. Serve plain, � la mode, or with a slice of sharp cheddar cheese.
This Southern summer favorite can be made year-round with convenient canned peaches. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drain two 16-ounce cans of sliced peaches (in juice or light syrup). Save one-third cup of liquid, pour into a saucepan, and add 1 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons flour, and one-half teaspoon nutmeg. Stir over low-medium heat until mixture thickens and bubbles. Remove from heat, stir in peaches, and pour mixture into a 9-inch pie crust. Cover with a second crust and cut three or four vent lines. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, and let cool before serving.
This easy twist on a classic sandwich is best served hot but also can be eaten as a cold lunch the next day. Preheat oven according to the directions on an eight-count can of crescent rolls. Unroll the dough and divide into four rectangular pieces. On two of the rectangles, place a slice of ham, roast beef, or other sandwich meat and one slice of Swiss or cheddar cheese. Cover the meat and cheese with the remaining two pieces of dough, pinching the top and bottom edges together to form a seal. Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet or aluminum foil following directions on the can (usually 11 to 13 minutes).
Historians disagree on how this delicious dessert pie got its name. Some say it derives from the "pie chests" in which it was stored, while others say it flows from the modest insistence that this is "jus' pie." To make, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Mix one-half cup softened butter with 2 cups white sugar (or 1 cup white sugar and 1 cup brown sugar) and add 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. Beat four eggs into the sugar-butter mixture, then add 1 tablespoon fine-ground cornmeal, 1 tablespoon white vinegar, and one-quarter cup evaporated milk. Mix until the ingredients form a smooth paste, then pour into a 9-inch pie shell. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 300 degrees and bake another 40 minutes. Let the pie cool completely before slicing.
This sweet and crunchy pie also can be made with toasted walnut pieces instead of pecans, whichever is cheaper. Spread 1-and-one-half cups pecan (or walnut) pieces on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes, until the nuts are toasted. In a large mixing bowl combine three eggs, 1 cup white sugar, three-quarters cup corn syrup, 2 tablespoons melted butter, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, and one-half teaspoon salt. Blend well and add toasted pecans. Pour the mixture into a 9-inch deep-dish pie shell and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Loosely tent with aluminum foil and bake 35 minutes more, until the pie filling is set. Let cool completely.
This easy and elegant egg-and-cheese dish keeps well as a next-day leftover. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Beat together four eggs and 1 cup cream in a mixing bowl. Add 1 teaspoon each salt and onion powder and one-half teaspoon cayenne pepper, and beat again. Sprinkle 4 ounces (1 cup) shredded sharp cheddar cheese over the bottom of a frozen 9-inch deep-dish pie crust. Carefully pour egg mixture over the cheese. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 300 degrees and bake another 35 minutes. After baking, let the quiche cool 10 minutes before serving.
This traditional autumn favorite makes a healthy and tasty dessert in any season. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly beat two eggs in a large bowl. Add 2 cups (16 ounces) canned or cooked pumpkin and either 14 ounces (one can) evaporated milk or 1-and-two-thirds cups light cream. Mix together until smooth, then add 1 cup sugar; 2 teaspoons cinnamon; 1 teaspoon each ginger, nutmeg, and allspice; and one-half teaspoon salt. Pour mixture into a 9-inch pie crust and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees and bake another 40 to 45 minutes. The pie is ready when a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool before serving.
This sweet dessert contains a surprisingly high amount of protein thanks to all the peanut butter and eggs. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl, beat three eggs lightly. In a medium saucepan, combine one-half cup creamy peanut butter and 1 cup dark or light corn syrup over medium-low heat. Remove from heat and add two-thirds cup sugar, one-half teaspoon salt, one-half cup salted peanuts, and the eggs. Mix everything together and pour into a 9-inch pie shell. Bake for 45 minutes. After the pie cools, store in the refrigerator.
British cooks make this traditional dish with lamb or mutton (shepherds have plenty of sheep), but Americans are more likely to use beef. Start by preheating the oven to 400 degrees. Brown 1 pound ground beef in a skillet with 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce. Remove from heat, drain meat, and mix in 4 cups thawed frozen mixed vegetables and 1 cup beef gravy. Spread the mixture into a 9-inch baking dish. In a separate bowl, combine 3 cups hot mashed potatoes with 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, a dash of salt, and two minced garlic cloves or one-quarter teaspoon garlic powder. Spread the mashed potatoes over the meat-and gravy mixture and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the potatoes are lightly browned and the mixture is heated through.
This rich and creamy custard dish requires a bit more preparation than most convenience pies but is well worth the effort. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. For the filling: Carefully separate three eggs, with whites in one bowl and yolks in another. In a saucepan, combine 1 cup sugar with 5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder and 2 tablespoons cornstarch; mix well. Slowly add 2 cups milk and cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick, well-blended, and bubbly. Reduce heat to low and cook another one to two minutes. Remove from heat and stir yolks into the mixture. Return to medium heat and simmer for another two minutes, then remove from heat and stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Pour the chocolate filling into an already-baked 9-inch pie shell. For the meringue: Beat three egg whites until soft peaks form and then slowly add 6 tablespoons sugar. Spread the meringue over the chocolate filling until completely covered, meeting the edges of the pie crust. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the tops of the meringue peaks are a light golden-brown.