Saturday, October 6, 2012

Funeral Pie

By Ellery Adams

It's October and because Halloween's coming up later this month, I wanted to bake something, well, a little grim (but still tasty). I came across a very old recipe for an Amish Funeral Pie and was intrigued. The article explained that the Amish traditionally brought this pie to the grieving family because it kept for several days and the ingredients could be found year-round. The pie is very sweet and the idea was that its taste would temporarily distract folks from their grief. 

This is not a pie for you if you hate raisins. This is definitely a raisin-lovers' pie and even though this recipe is more modern than the original one I found in an old cookbook, it does bear a resemblance to mincemeat pies.

Anyway, the whole theme of this pie raises this question. Is there a certain food that brings you comfort when you're sad? 

Funeral Pie 

2 cups raisins
1 cup water
Zest of 1 large orange, finely grated
1 cup orange juice
½ cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 egg, beaten
Pastry for 2 crust pie
Finishing sugar (turbinado sugar)

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Combine raisins, water, orange zest and juice in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
3. Mix brown sugar, cornstarch, and spices in a small bowl.
Slowly add to raisin mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Stir in lemon juice and walnuts.
4. Roll out half the pie dough on a lightly floured surface. Fit into a 9-inch pie pan. Pour filling into pie shell. Let pie cool a little (otherwise, the dough you use for lattice will get too soft and tear)
5. Roll out remaining dough and cut into strips for lattice. Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with finishing sugar. Bake until golden, about 25 to 30 minutes. 


  1. The spices sound great. I bet it tastes good. No doubt raisins were used so it could be made any time of year. Sort of grim, though I suppose it's not really any different than the casseroles that people bring to mourning families today.

    ~ Krista

  2. Great post, Ellery, and fascinating history on the pie. With raisins and spices, I know I'd enjoy it, and I'll bet this pie tastes particularly good with a pot of fragrant tea. As for foods that bring me comfort, I'd have to say home-baked cookies (especially if I'm doing the baking, because the process of making them always cheers me up); and then, of course, there's chocolate--which makes chocolate chip cookies the perfect happy food for me.

    Thanks for sharing today and have a great weekend!
    ~ Cleo

  3. I was going to say that fresh baked chocolate chip cookies always cheer me up! How can you be sad with ooey-gooey cookies? The Funeral Pie reminded me of a pie popular in the South at such gatherings called Shoo Fly pie, supposedly named that because it is so sweet, you have to keep shooing the flies way from it. It is basically a molasses pie, with the flavoring varying according the strength of molasses used. ~Nurse JudyMac