Before you ask, yes, this is a real pie.
I had never heard of it before meeting my fiance Paul, and for the past year or so he has occasionally requested me to make it. Because I didn’t know what it was, and he didn’t explain it properly, I kept pushing it to the side in favour of some other, more… accessible (a.k.a more popular) desserts. However, after finding a recipe on The Kitchen Magpie (http://www.thekitchenmagpie.com/), I decided to give it a whirl.
For those of you who are uneducated in the world of flapper pie (which I was until late last week), it is a simple pie with three components. First, a graham cracker crust, much like the crusts used in cheesecakes. Next, a layer of thick and creamy custard is layered over the crust. Finally, mounds of meringue are piled on to the custard, and the whole thing is baked.
At first, I wasn’t sold. But, because a promise is a promise (and because Paul won’t let me forget it!) I decided to tackle this prairie classic.
The graham cracker crumb crust came together well. The custard I was unsure about. I have never made custard before in my life. After trying the custard in the recipe, I don’t know why I haven’t made it before! It was extremely simple, and extremely tasty. Meringue has never really given me any troubles, considering I just put all the ingredients into my mixer and go. As it stands, the pie came out of the oven looking like this:
Despite never having eaten or made flapper pie before, I wanted a slice of that pie right out of the oven. However, because the pie was technically not for me, I held back. Let me say – oh, it smelled heavenly. Still, I cooled the pie on a cooling rack for about an hour, then moved it to the fridge to finish cooling and setting.
When we cut into the pie (finally!), I was pleasantly surprised, and slightly let down. I am a bit of a perfectionist, and to say that a flapper pie cuts nicely is a huge exaggeration. Some of the crust stuck to the pie plate, and there was custard leaking, despite how solid it got. However, the flavour! Oh my! The first taste that stuck out was the creaminess of the custard mixing with the cinnamon in the crust. The meringue was a wonderful light addition to the bite, and I instantly understood the draw of this illustrious, and almost forgotten, pie.
This pie, I can say, is definitely a new favourite, and will definitely be put into my baking rotation. Go. Make it now. It is simple, and is made with ingredients that you should have around the kitchen. You will not be disappointed!
Yields: 1 8 inch pie (can be made in a 9 or 10 inch pie dish)
1 ¼c. graham cracker crumbs
¼c. melted butter
Dash of cinnamon
2 ½c. milk
½c. white sugar
3 egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla
Pinch of salt
3 egg whites
¼c. white sugar
¼tsp. cream of tartar
Preheat oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl, mix together all crust ingredients. Toss with a fork until incorporated. Put aside approximately 2 tbsp. of the crust mixture, and press the remaining crust mix into an 8, 9, or 10 inch pie dish, pressing the crust mixture up the sides. Bake for 5 minutes to set crust. Remove from oven and let cool while making custard and meringue.
To make the custard, combine all custard ingredients in a medium saucepan and set over medium high heat. Whisk and stir constantly, until mixture comes to a boil and thickens. Set custard aside to cool while you make the meringue.
Beat all meringue ingredients together until stiff peaks form.
Pour the custard filling into the crust, and top with the meringue. If you want to make it look nicer, use a knife or flat head spatula to create little spikes all over the top the of meringue. Sprinkle the reserved crust mixture over the meringue, and bake for 7-10 minutes, or until the meringue starts to turn a beautiful golden brown colour. Make sure you watch the pie carefully! All ovens distribute heat differently, so be sure to keep an eye on the meringue so that it doesn’t burn.
Cool on a baking rack for 45 minutes to an hour, and transfer to the fridge and let cool completely before serving.