An old-school member of the chess-pie family, Osgood Pie is a simple stir-up of pecans, raisins, butter, sugar and eggs. No reason it’s been forgotten — let’s fix that by making this deliciously do-able pie!
Osgood Pie Needs a Comeback!
This old-time treat is in the chess-pie family, made with butter, sugar, eggs, and a splash of vinegar to make the sweetness just sassy enough. Then there are two extra ingredients: Raisins and pecans! This made it a little bit special back in the days before stand mixers and chocolate chips and whipped cream in a tall can. It’s still special, so I’m ready to welcome it back to Pie Priority Status. Who’s with me?
Pi Day is the Right Day for Osgood Pie
Pi-Day is March 14th — 3/14 — which reminds the mathematically oriented people of the world of the formula for the area of a circle. it’s “pi R squared”, written in a charming, mathematical format of course. But those of us with a love of baking hear “pi” and think PIE!!!
Osgood Pie is one which doesn’t get as much attention as other desserts do, kind of like how I paid attention to reading and history and art, neglecting math. Time for me to fix that, pairing a neglected pie type with a neglected school subject (neglected by me, that is), math!
Geometry? Formulas? They’re Kind of Like a Recipe!
It’s been a long time since I sat in Mrs. Holder’s geometry class, learning about proofs, formulas, and recipes for figuring out the area of a square, the volume of a cylinder, and the meaning of ‘rhombus’, a word I like very much but never seem to use. Geometry appealed to me with its graphics and literal applications, and possibly in a subliminal way for its applications in the world of food.
Same with fractions years earlier — immediately applicable to sharing food. With the image of a pan of brownies or a beautiful pie in mind, I could get right to my mathematical work. I remember the phrase “Pi R Square”, though I couldn’t now explain it even if you promised me a round-the-world plane ticket. But Pi Day? That is my kind of math phrase, and inspired me to get up this morning and make a pie.
In terms of seasonal ingredients, right now it’s early spring here in North Carolina, and local fruit means apples from last fall. Rhubarb is surely up somewhere, but since I don’t have a pie plant out in the backyard (To-Do List entry: plant rhubarb for next spring), that didn’t work for a pi day pie.
Why Make Osgood Pie in March?
Browsing recipes we had to cut from my book, Southern Pies, I came across Osgood Pie, an old-school recipe that was standard in Southern kitchens but widely popular across the midwest as well. It’s in the chess family, which means it’s a very simple pie depending on butter, sugar, and eggs to bring great happiness to baker and to eaters.
Raisins and pecans are longtime standards in Southern kitchens, and called on for dessert pleasures in between the seasons for strawberries, peaches, figs, and plums. Berries and other luscious fruits will be here in a few months and last through fall — for now, Osgood Pie has the yearround, humble luxuries we take for granted nowadays: Pecans and other nuts, and raisins. I love dried cranberries and dried cherries along with or in their place!
Pi-Day Is a Numbers Game
I stirred this up with a fork, on 3/14, Pi Day. Though Pi Day, celebrated since 1989, gives a shout-out to a number (3.14159….) which has no end, this pie does have an end. It can only be cut into a finite number of pieces: 6, or 18, or 12, and because of its satisfying homestyle flavor, it will last only a very finite day or two on your kitchen counter.
Osgood Pie: What’s with the Name?
The name, Osgood Pie? Nobody knows. My favorite legend is that the person who first sampled it hollered out “Oh! So Good!” Could be — this-here Osgood Pie is indeed very, very good! If you love pie but want something else historical, consider my version of Miss Edna Lewis’s Tyler Pie right HERE. For something rich and chocolate-y, try my Chocolate Chess Pie right HERE.
VIDEO of Yours Truly on Hallmark Home & Family TV, Making a Pie on Pi-Day!
I love being in the Hallmark Home & Family Kitchen! Here’s one of my visits to help hosts Debbie and Cameron make a fabulous pie for Pi-Day! Click to watch me HERE:
- Pastry for a 9-inch single-crust
- 3/4 cup (4 ounces) raisins
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup butter, softened (4 ounces/1 stick)
- 3 eggs
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup (3ounces) chopped pecans
- Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Line a 9-inch pie pan with piecrust, then crimp the edges decoratively, or set out a prepared unbaked piecrust.
- Put the raisins in a small bowl and add hot water to cover them. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes while you prepare the filling.
- In a medium bowl, combine the sugar and butter. Use a fork or a whisk to mix them well.
- Add the eggs one by one, beating well each time. Add the vinegar and salt and stir well.
- Drain the raisins and add them to the filling along with the pecans, and stir well to combine everything into a thick, chunky filling.
- Pour it into the piecrust and place the pie in the middle of the 400 degree F oven.
- Bake for 10 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to 325 degrees and bake until the pie is puffed, lightly browned, and firm, 30 to 40 minutes more.
- Place the pie on a cooling rack or a folded kitchen towel and let cool to room temperature.
Nutrition InformationYield 6 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 352Total Fat 20gSaturated Fat 12gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 7gCholesterol 141mgSodium 294mgCarbohydrates 39gFiber 0gSugar 35gProtein 4g