Baked Sunday Mornings: Sawdust Pie

I literally groaned out loud when I saw the assignment for this week for Baked Sunday Mornings: Sawdust Pie. Not that I have anything against sawdust pie in particular (I had never ever heard of it before), but I'm running a perfect track record when it comes to the pies and tarts from Baked Explorations: pies with pastry crusts = fail (see peaches and dream pie, buttermilk pie, blackberry pie); pies with cookie crumb crusts = delicious (see peanut butter banana cream pie, Mississippi mud pie (B), Mississippi mud pie (A)); and tarts = fabulous (see orange creamsicle tart, malted crisp tart, almond joy tart, whiskey pear tart). After making the sawdust pie, at least I can sill say I'm consistent; I am apparently incapable of getting these pies to turn out correctly.

The biggest problem I've had with the pies from Baked Explorations is that the crust ends up undercooked on the bottom. On the plus side, the crust is a breeze to make in the food processor (flour, sugar, salt, butter, and ice water) and also very easy to handle and roll out. Having had negative experiences with this crust before, I did cross my mind that perhaps I should blind bake the crust first -- I don't know why I didn't do so; hope springs eternal, I suppose.

Once you've rolled out the crust and chilled it, you fill it with a mixture of sugar, dark brown sugar, coconut, pecans, graham cracker crumbs, white chocolate, salt, egg whites, and vanilla. You then bake the pie until it's set to the touch. I wanted to be on the safe side, so I baked the pie until the filling barely jiggled, about 45 minutes. 

I took this pie, while still slightly warm, to Liam's birthday party. When I cut into it, it was quite difficult to remove slices of pie from the pan because (sigh) the crust was significantly undercooked on the bottom and sides. The filling was interesting -- gooey and chewy (but as you can see in the photo above, it was not runny at all) with lots of wonderful texture, reminiscent of a Girl Scout Samoa cookie. I thought the filling was too sweet, but other people at the party enjoyed it. Perhaps most surprising, Alexander -- the boy who doesn't like cake -- ate his entire slice of pie.

Nonetheless, I am happy to just resign myself to the fact that pie is not my thing. Now that I've tried all of the pies from Baked Explorations, I don't plan to ever look back! Fortunately, there is no shortage of other wonderful recipes in the book to keep me occupied!

Recipe: "Sawdust Pie" from Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented, by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, recipe available here at Baked Sunday Mornings.


Louise said…
I notice you have a metal pie pan. Have you tried using a glass pan for pie doughs? It may solve your undercooked bottom problem. :-)
Sheri said…
Still, it looks wonderful. I, too, have a baking nemesis - mine is pumpkin pie.

I was surprised how well my pie was received, too. Very ooey gooey sweet!

Interesting comment about the type of pan - I've never considered it before. I only use glass or ceramic, and my favorite pie plate in the world is Rose's Perfect Pie Plate.
Candy said…
Your pie looks fabulous! I love the ease of the Baked pie crust recipe, but it's not my favorite. I too thought about blind baking it.
@Louise -- that's a good point; maybe I should be using Pyrex instead (I do own one). I know they are supposed to be good for browning, and at the very least, at least I could see what the bottom crust looks like through the glass! Thanks for the suggestion!
Louise said…
I'm anxious to see/hear the results. :-) Glass, ceramic, and dark heavy metal pans are all known to give the crispest (is that a word?) crusts. I threw out a couple of very old dark cookie sheets because it was hard not to burn cookies.
Pies are my favorite...even if my success rate is not 100%. Yours looks amazing. Try this turns out great every time:

I also use only glass for pie.
Susan said…
I'm sorry you weren't happy with your pie, but it looks just perfect. I used a ceramic pie plate, so that may do the trick. I'm impressed you've kept trying. I haven't made many pies, so it's a constant learning process for me, but I love this pie dough.
Bourbonnatrix said…
your pie looks great! i was too lazy to make that one, but it seems like everyone like it!
Anonymous said…
Try baking these pies on the floor of your oven.