By Kevin Williams
Amish cooks are often lauded for their scratch-made pies and I've tasted many of them over the years in Amish kitchens from Maine to Montana. Way too many of them. Now, for the purposes of this list I am going to put aside your apple, blueberry, peach, etc because those are common flavors and it's hard to come up with an "Amish Apple Pie." In the case of apple pie, much rides on the crust. Lard is still the weapon of choice for traditional Amish cooks as you get this amazingly flavorful and flaky crust. I have had some amazing apple pies when visiting Amish kitchens, but also soggy-crusted, slurry-filled pies too. So, no, this list zeros in on some of the quirky, offbeat pies favored by Amish cooks. To keep the suspense going (I know, you're on the edge of your seat, aren't you?) I'll start with 5 and go in descending order. THis was tough, though, because some traditional Amish pies didn't make the list. Bob Andy Pie is a favorite and Shoofly Pie IS a delicious pie and I love it but I'm not sure I can put it in my top 5, that pie varies so wildly from cook to cook that it is tough rank it. One fruit pie that should get an "Amish mention" is rhubarb, that is a pie that you don't find too often outside of the Amish.
5 - Peanut Butter Pie - Not all Peanut Butter pies are alike. The Home Place (a Mennonite bakery in Brown County, Ohio and Yoder's Restaurant in Florida have superb PB pies), but a peanut butter pie recipe in the hands of a skilled Amish cook...wow, it gets no better than that! Click here for a recipe.
4- Vinegar Pie - Sounds hideous, but it is really is a great "mock lemon pie." Click here to read more and get the recipe.
3- Raisin Pie - Considering that I really am not too fond of raisins, I am shocked this pie makes my list. But this traditional Amish "comfort pie" buries the raisins in a sweet, silky custard...you barely notice the raisins. Click here for the recipe.
2 - Oatmeal Pie - Man, what more is there to say about this pie. I've written about this one so many times over the years, but it remains a nostalgic classic. You find this most among the Amish of Indian and it's comfort in a crust, very rich...get the recipe here.
1 - Vanilla Crumb Pie - Hard to believe this - out of all the Amish pies - tops my list, but I've had it a couple of times and it is just so, so good. "Good" is such a weak word too....it's rich and flavorful without being overpowering, just a great combination of textures and flavors...just a super pie. Click here for the recipe.
I am sure I could do this same list in a year or two and the order might be different...tastes and flavors are so subjective and certainly others could have made the list. Buttermilk Pie is another Amish speciality that probably deserves a spot on the list. So, I know, next time I do this I'll make the list my Top 10!:)