Most Americans will have one of more of the following pies on their dinner tables this Thanksgiving:
Apple 20%; Strawberry 19%; Pumpkin 16%; Chery 13%; Blueberry 9%; Pecan 8%; Lemon Meringue 8%; and Chocolate 5%.
But here in Kentucky, Transparent Pie is clearly a Thanksgiving winner! Transparent Pie so named because the filling while not transparent, is colorless. It is one of the most basic pies that you can make – it consists of butter, sugar, eggs and milk with a touch of flour. The name has stuck since it first appeared in Kentucky newspapers in the 1890’s.
In Lexington, Magee’s Bakery is the place to pick up these incredible dense, sugary pies, but the original location in Maysville (about 70 miles northeast of Lexington) which opened in the 1930’s is credited with popularizing the Transparent Pie.
Food historian, Sarah Baird, says the dessert actually closely resembles pies from other regions of the United States. "When you go into Indiana you have sugar pies. It's kind of a kissing-cousin of shoofly pie, which is in Pennsylvania. She also mentions chess pies, originally found in New England, and Southern buttermilk pies. All of these have the same simple sugary liquid filling that is baked down in a shell”.
Side Note: At Magee’s they make regular size and small tarts. (It is a well-known fact that the little transparent tarts are the favorite of George Clooney, who grew up 10 miles down the road in Augusta).
TRANSPARENT PIE RECIPE
Though Magee’s prefers to keep its Transparent Pie recipe in house, here’s a family recipe from Richard’s great-grandmother, Addie Utz Blankenbeker (1862-1951) that we use at Charred Oaks Inn.
One 9” piecrust of choice
8 TBS melted butter
4 medium eggs
2c granulated sugar
1c heavy cream
2 TBS all-purpose flour
1 TSP good vanilla
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Rollout crust, then press into pie plate, crimping edges and removing any excess dough. Set aside
Using a whisk, beat together melted butter and sugar until fully smooth, about 3 minutes. Add milk and eggs, beating until smooth, then stir in flour and vanilla with a large spatula. Pour filling into crust. Bake until a golden crust forms on top and a toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 45 minutes.