Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Grandma's Magic Pie

I've made the trip to the farm at Lead Hill so many times that I know every twist and turn, it's as familiar to me as my own name. That farm has been in my Mom's family going back to her Great-Great Grandparents. It's rough, hilly land that is bordered with bois d’arc trees (pronounced bo-dark). These trees were planted years ago to be the "corner posts" of Grandpa's land. Years later people gather the knobby green fruit in the fall from the hedgerows to use as a natural deterrent to bugs in their garages and basements.

I have mixed feelings when I go back to my grandparents' farm. Many happy memories there, but they've been gone for over 30 years now. My Mom and Dad built on the farm when they moved back from California in 1949. They lived there a few years before a better job enticed them to move to Springfield, Mo. But my Grandparents who were born there, never left. They made their livelihood from the farm and enjoyed many years of a life that few live anymore. The rooster woke them of a morning and they never tired of working in the garden or tending the chickens and cows. They took great pride when we'd set down to a meal that was made almost exclusively from the fruits and vegetables of their land.

Grandma Keeling made the best pies. She could whip one up in no time, years of practice she had the crust down to a science! The pie she would make would depend on what was available. Summertime pies were whatever fruit was in season, Wintertime pies leaned more to raisin, pumpkin or pecan.

I want to share her recipe for peach pie today. I used to watch her as she rolled the crust, lined the pie pan and then placed the quart or so of sliced fresh fruit into the crust. She'd sprinkle on some sugar, flour and cinnamon, then lattice the top with sliced strips of pie dough. A light dusting of sugar and a few lumps of butter, it would go into a hot oven then "Magically" appear on the table in about an hour, bubbly and delicious!

Grandma Keeling's Peach Pie
Make the crust~
2 cups of flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup Wesson oil (this was the brand she bought)
1/4 cup sweet milk (whole milk, Grandma always called milk "sweet or buttermilk")
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour and salt together in a bowl. Then mix together oil and milk. Pour wet into dry mixture and stir until combined. Add more milk, a drop or two if dry, then separate into two balls. Roll out ball out between two sheets of wax paper, and line a pie pan with crust. Roll out other ball, cut in 1" strips and set aside.
Make the filling~
1 quart (about 4 cups) of Arkansas peaches, peeled and sliced
1/2 sugar
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
5 tablespoons of butter, in bits
1 tablespoon of flour
Place the sliced peaches in unbaked pie crust. Sprinkle on top half the sugar (1/4 cup) cinnamon and flour. Add the bits of butter.Take the strips of pie crust and lay it on top of the pie in a pretty lattice, crimp and seal the edges. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar on top of pie. Bake in oven set to 350 degrees for about an hour until crust is golden brown and pie is bubbling.


  1. I can just taste it - thanks for sharing a family recipe - your parents farm - seemed like a great memory.

  2. Oh Joycee, I'm copying down your family recipe and will give it a try as soon as I get some peaches back from the market. Thank you so much for sharing! Can't wait to try this out! Sounds really delicious.

  3. ~what a beautiful memory you carry of your si so valuable to remember and reflect upon such sweet times...thank you for sharing this recipe...sounds delicious adn i could almost see your grandmother making this pie as you described it...brightest blessings~

  4. Such sweet memories. I dreamed about my nana last night. Don't know why. Anyway I love peach pie and am always looking for a good recipe. Thanks.

  5. Such sweet memories and sweet pie too! Thank you for sharing all of it! Come say hi :D

  6. That is so have some really great memories of your family as I hearing old family stories and how things came are blessed to still live in the area..thanks for sharing...

  7. I really love this post.. wonderful story and recipe!

  8. Joycee, I am married to a Keeling! I wonder if there's a connection? My FIL has an amazing geneaology record.

  9. My Grandma Keeling was a wonderful cook. She had lost her mother at the young age of only 6 years old, so taught herself. She would stand on a wooden fruit crate to be tall enough at the stove or counters. I have her rolling pin, it's a tiny thing, made to fit a child's hands. Such a treasure...


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