Recipes Archives

January 9, 2006

How to Fix Kentucky Stack Pie

Back before the days of automobiles, when folks went to family reunions in Kentucky they went in wagons. But after Ma, Pa, and the eight kids got in the wagon, there wasn’t a lot of room for the food they were taking. To save on space, they invented the Kentucky Stack Pie. Instead of taking four single pies, they stacked four pies on top of each other, making an amazing dessert that fed 20 or more yet had only a tiny footprint.

The Kentucky Stack Pie is four chess pies stacked with caramel icing between each layer, covering the top, and dripping down the sides. It is so rich that only a sliver will satisfy, which is why it serves so many.

It is a tradition in our family to make one for Christmas, but stack pie tastes just as good on the Fourth of July or at a family reunion in the park. Including cooking time, it takes about 4 hours to make one, but the result is well worth it. Here’s how to do it.

Step Number One: Making Four Pie Crusts

I use four 8-inch stainless steel pie pans. They may be a bit hard to find, but I found mine in restaurant supply stores and second-hand shops.

2 2/3 C. flour
1 tsp. salt
1 C. Crisco shortening
8 tablespoons ice water
No-stick spray (like Pam)

In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 2/3 C. of all-purpose flour with 1 tsp. of salt. Take 1 C. of Crisco shortening (not butter-flavored) and combine it gradually with the flour mixture using a pastry cutter until the mixture becoming crumbly (little pieces of dough).

Add ice-cold water one tablespoon at a time, then stirring with a fork, until the dough forms a mass that adheres together (that is, you could mold it into a baseball that holds together). This should take about 8 tablespoons.

Divide the dough into 4 equal balls.

Coat the four 8-inch metal pie pans or plates generously with no-stick spray.

One at a time, roll out a ball of pastry between pieces of wax paper and then coat a pie pan with crust. The pastry should come just to the inner top rim of the pie pan. Do not extend the crust so that it covers the lip of the pie pan. If you do, it will break off when you remove the pie from the pan. Set these pastries aside while you make the pie filling.

Step Number Two: Making the Pie Filling

10 egg yolks
3 cups granulated sugar
1 ½ cups butter or margarine
1 cup whipping cream (heavy cream)
½ tsp. vanilla

Separate the yolks of ten eggs and beat them well in a large bowl until smooth. Stir in 3 cups of sugar, beating well again. Add 1 ½ cups of melted butter or margarine, 1 cup of whipping cream, and ½ tsp. of vanilla.

Pour about 1 ½ cups of filling into each pie shell. If there is some extra, make the bottom shell fuller.

Step Number Three: Baking the Pies

Bake two to four pies at a time at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes until the filling is done. It may bubble up during the cooking, but your fingers will tell you when the pie centers are firm to the touch and ready to come out. Allow the pies to cool in their pans.

Step Number Four: Making the Caramel Icing and Stacking the Pies

Prepare the caramel icing as follows:

2 cups of brown sugar
1 cup of whipping cream (heavy cream)
½ tsp. of vanilla or vanilla extract
½ cup of powdered sugar (confectioner’s sugar)

Mix 2 cups of brown sugar and 1 cup of whipping cream and heat on medium high until it comes to a soft boil. Cook it 10 minutes until the mixture thickens a bit. Remove from the heat and let cool for 15 minutes or so. Stir in ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract. Next, add ½ cup of powered sugar and beat with a hand mixer until creamy. If it seems too firm to spread, beat in some whipping cream (or Half-n-half or milk) a tablespoon at a time. The consistency should be such that the icing will pool on the top pie and then drip slowly down the edges of the stacked pies without spreading too much on the bottom plate. The consistency of thick honey or molasses is about right. Too thick is better than too thin.

Once the pies have cooled, run a long, thin spatula (7 inches by 1 ¼ inches) around the edges and under one of them to slip it out of its pan. Place it on a cake dish or large plate and cover the top with a thin layer of icing. Gently remove another pie and place it on top of this icing and frost its top. Repeat the process until all four pies are stacked. Frost the top pie generously and let the icing drip very slowly down the sides. One note of caution, it is better that the icing not drip down the sides at all than for it to be so thin that it floods down and pools on your cake plate.

This dessert rots tooth enamel on contact, but it sure is good! Enjoy.

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This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Trite but True in the Recipes category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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