Seventh Annual Pie Palooza and The Winning Recipes

On a grey, windy November Sunday over ninety people assembled after the worship service to enjoy each other’s company and to satisfy their craving for sugar.

At the same time FCC fulfilled its obligation to support the important work of the Berkshire Food Project. Members of the church community brought 35 pies for BFP’s annual Thanksgiving Feast, which this year served 235 people on the Monday before the holiday.

The 23 creations donated for the pie contest were eagerly gobbled up and voted on by an enthusiastic crowd. FCC is grateful for tasty contributions from the church members and friends and also from Tunnel City Coffee, Stop and Shop, and the A-Frame Bakery.

In a tie for first prize in the tasting contest were Lola Bohle’s Blackberry Blueberry Crumb Pie and Carrie Bond’s Vermont Maple Oatmeal Pie. Second place went to Elizabeth Smith’s Pumpkin Chiffon Pie, and third prize was awarded to Jina Ford’s Chocolate Coffee Truffle Gluten Free Pie. The recipes are included below.

The Pie Palooza is an annual reminder of several of FCC’s goals: meaningful outreach to the community and warm intergenerational fellowship.

Thank you to all who helped by contributing pies, by setting up, by cleaning up, and by washing forks, napkins, tablecloths, and dishtowels.

Susan Clarke and Carolyn Behr

Carrie Bond’s Vermont Maple Oatmeal Pie Recipe

This yummy pie has an old-fashioned feeling, but is so easy to prepare. Serve it with ice cream drizzled with maple syrup or top it with maple- or cinnamon-flavored whipped cream


8 servings


Prep: 20 min. Bake: 50 min. + cooling


  • 1 sheet refrigerated pie pastry
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 3/4 cup corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
    Vanilla ice cream, optional


Unroll pastry into a 9-in. pie plate; flute edges.

In a large bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt. Stir in the oats, syrups, butter and vanilla; pour into crust. Sprinkle with coconut.

Bake at 350° for 50-60 minutes or until set. Cover edges with foil during the last 15 minutes to prevent overbrowning if necessary. Cool on a wire rack. Serve with ice cream if desired. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 8 servings.

Lola Bohle’s Blackberry-Blueberry Crumb Pie       

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
  • 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 1/4 cup or more very cold water
  • 4 cups (about 2 pints) blueberries
  • 2 cups (about 12 ounces) blackberries
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar (for a moderately, but not very, sweet pie)
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 7 tablespoons tapioca flour or (5 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • Finely grated zest of half a lemon (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • Two pinches of salt

Make pie dough:
In the bottom of a large bowl, combine the flour, salt and sugar. Work the butter into the flour with your fingertips or a pastry blender until mixture resembles a coarse meal and the largest bits of butter are the size of tiny peas. Add 1/4 cup cold water and stir with a spoon or flexible silicone spatula until large clumps form. Use your hands to knead the dough together, right in the bottom of the bowl. If necessary to bring the dough together, you can add another tablespoon of water.
Wrap dough in a sheet of plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour, or up to 48 hours, or you can quick-firm this in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes.

Heat oven: To 400°F.

Roll out crust: On a floured counter, roll the dough out into a 12 to 13-inch circle-ish shape. Fold dough gently in quarters without creasing and transfer to a 9 1/2-inch standard (not deep-dish) pie plate. Unfold dough and trim overhang to about 1/2-inch. Fold overhang under edge of pie crust and crimp decoratively. Save scraps in fridge, just in case.

Par-bake crust: Freeze for 15 minutes, until solid. Dock all over with a fork. Coat a piece of foil with butter or nonstick spray and press tightly against frozen pie shell, covering the dough and rim and molding it to fit the shape of the edges. Bake for 20 minutes, then carefully, gently remove foil. (Set the foil, still molded, aside. It will come in handy later.) If any parts have puffed, just press them gently back into place. Patch any tears or cracks with reserved dough scraps. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F and leave oven on.

Meanwhile, make filling: Mix all filling ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.

To make crumb topping, stir sugar, zest, baking powder, flour and salt into melted butter in a large bowl with a fork until crumbs form.

Assemble and bake: Pour filling into crust and scatter crumbs over the top. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes with these two important things in mind:

  1. This crumb browns much more quickly than the pie is done. Grab that piece of foil you set aside from the parbaking phase and upend it over the top of the pie to protect it against further browning once it reaches the color you want. This might only take 20 to 30 minutes.
  2. Fruit pies are done when you can see bubbles forming at the edges, with some creeping through and over some crumbs. If it takes longer, that’s better than an underbaked pie.

To serve: Try to let the pie cool until close to room temperature before serving. This gives the pie thickener a chance to help the pie set. The pie will be even better set after a night in the fridge. Bring it back to room temperature before serving.

Elizabeth Smith’s Pumpkin Gelatin Chiffon Pie

One 9 inch single-crust baked pie shell

Soak: 1 Tbs. Gelatin in ¼ cup cold water

Separate the yokes from three eggs.  Save the egg whites for later!

Beat slightly:

3 egg yolks


½ Cup white or brown sugar

1 ¼ Cups canned or cooked pumpkin

½ C. milk

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp each cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger

Cook and stir these ingredients in a double boiler – over and not in – boiling water until thick.  Stir in the soaked gelatin until dissolved.  Chill until mixture begins to set.

Whip until stiff but not dry 3 egg whites.

Stir in gradually ½ cup white sugar

And fold into the pumpkin mixture.  Fill the pie shell.  Chill several hours to set.

Serve garnished with whipped cream.

Note:  If you use your own squash I recommend that you use two tablespoons of gelatin instead of one!  (It will set up and produce a firmer filling)  My Mother’s recipe from the Joy of Cooking:  It is light and not too sweet!

 Jina Ford’s Chocolate-Coffee Truffle Pie

Coffee is the perfect accent to the deep, rich, chocolately flavor of this pie. Crispy gluten-free chocolate wafers also work for the press-in crust.

Prep time: 10 min. – cooking time 25 mins.

Ready in 35 min – serves 12.

12 tbsp butter                           1 Tbsp espresso powder

1 (19 oz) box Nabisco             ¼ cup maple syrup

Famous Chocolate wafers       1 tsp vanilla extract

8 oz bittersweet chocolate       1 tbsp confectioners’sugar

2 large eggs                                ½ cup heavy cream

1 cup raspberries

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Melt 6 Tbsp Butter. In a food processor, pulse the chocolate Wafers and melted butter until fine crumbs form.

Transfer crumbs to a 9-inch pie or tart pan. Using the bottom of a large mug, press crumbs firmly into an even layer. Bake 10-12 mins., until crust has set.

Step 2: Meanwhile, chop the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a small saucepan of simmering water. Melt chocolate and remaining butter on medium, stirring often. Remove bowl from saucepan. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, espresso powder, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Slowly whisk egg mixture with melted chocolate until smooth.

Step 3: Pour the chocolate mixture into the crust and smooth the top with a small offset spatula. Bake 15 min., until filling has mostly set, but still jiggles slightly in the center. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and garnish with raspberries.

Per serving: 346 calories, 2 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 80mg cholesterol, 172mg sodium, 27g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 12g sugar, 6g protein.