In December Auburn Meadow Farm and I decided to try a pie relay.  We’d each make one a month, emphasizing local ingredients, and compare notes.  With her in Pennsylvania and me in South Dakota, we figured there would be some differences in the way each of us approaches the same kind of pie. So in January we tackled Pot Pie but in February I was tackling Whole 30 instead and didn’t want the temptation. Now that I have Whole 30’s tenets pretty well embedded I can trust myself not to eat a whole pie, so here we go!

HoosierMaking pie with local ingredients in winter in SD and PA is tricky, so I turned to the Hoosier Mama Book of Pie for inspiration. Its recipes are organized by season and type, with Desperation Pies being one of the categories…

“These pies are made on the farm in the middle of winter, when nothing’s in the larder and the fruit is gone until spring…how desperate would you have to be to find a bottle of vinegar in an empty pantry and say, ‘Yeah, I can make pie out of that.'”

There are several pies in this category and I was not familiar with a single one.  I’d heard of several because I read a lot about cooking but I’d never actually crossed paths with one.  Until now!  The promise of taste like “a big chewy oatmeal cookie, or pecan pie with oats of instead of pecans” got my attention. It truly fits the category, too.  If you do any baking at all you’re likely to have these ingredients in your pantry, with the possible exception of real maple syrup. First of all you’ll have to blind bake a pie crust.  I’ve provided you with 4 recipes in a past post.  If you’ve never made a blind-baked crust, here is a video that shows you how.  The video doesn’t mention that you should put the crust in the refrigerator or freezer for 30-40 minutes before baking it, but it’s a step worth taking.

— Joan, 3 March 2016



  • Servings: One 9-inch pie
  • Print

  • 1 single-crust, blind-baked pie crust
  • ¼ cup (50 grams) sugar
  • 4 tablespoons (56 grams) unsalted butter
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup (311 grams) grade B maple syrup
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup (90 grams) old-fashioned whole oats

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Combine sugar and butter in bowl of stand mixer with paddle attached. Cream on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add the cinnamon, cloves, and salt.  Pour in the maple syrup and mix until combined.  Add eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition.  Stir in the oats.

Pour batter into the pre-baked shell.  Bake 45 minutes-1 hour, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. This pie can be stored at room temperature for up to three days.

We happened to have on hand some soft chocolate-peanut butter frosting, which was perfect drizzled over the top of each serving.







One thought on “DESPERATION PIES

  1. Holy cow that looks amazing. Your photos are really great too. I have to admit I do struggle with using a whole cup of my precious grade B maple syrup in one pie. That’s pretty dear for Desperation pie…


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