Friday, July 5, 2013

American Gothic Pie

An article about the Pitchfork Pie Stand BHG July 2013 caught my interest. I did a bit of sleuthing to learn more and found the following information fascinating.
 The American Gothic House, also known as the Dibble House, is a house in Eldon, Iowa designed in the Gothic Revival style with a distinctive upper window. It was the backdrop of the 1930 painting American Gothic by Grant Wood.  It is generally considered Wood's most famous work and among the most recognized paintings in twentieth century American Art. The painting has been the model for hundreds of parodies in every creative medium imaginable since 1930 when it was first painted. Grant Wood, who observed the house only once in his lifetime, made only an initial sketch of the house and then completed American Gothic at his studio in Cedar Rapids.
Wood's painting portrays Wood's sister Nan and his dentist Dr. B.H. McKeeby in front of the Dibble House. The original painting is now housed at the Art Institute of Chicago.
First owned by Eldon resident Charles Dibble after its construction in 1881 and 1882, the home was (with one 1897 exception) a private residence until the late twentieth century. After a thirty-year preservation effort culminated with the donation of the house in 1991 to the State Historical Society of Iowa, the site now includes the original house in its 1930 form and a visitors center. 

In 2001 Beth Howard quit a lucrative web producing job to bake pies at a gourmet deli in Malibu, California. While she enjoyed her new found status as “pie baker to the stars” she couldn’t pay her rent on her baker’s salary. Still, she recognized how happy pie made people and watching Robert Downey Jr. devour her apple pie

 was proof enough! — and Howard knew there was no turning back. In her Pie Baking Parties she teaches groups how to make pie. In her blog http://theworldneedsmorepie.blogspot.com/
she writes stories about living the pie-life. Her book, "Making A Piece: A Memoir of Love, Loss and Pie" is the story of how pie helped her heal from the death of her 43-year-old husband. Howard lives in Eldon, Iowa, where she is the proud (and privileged) resident of the famous American Gothic House where she sells pies to tourists from her Pitchfork Pie Stand and teaches pie making classes.

The Pitchfork Pie Stand is open summer weekends inside the American Gothic House, Saturdays & Sundays, 12 to 5 pm, until Labor Day. 


Every year 10,000 plus visitors pose in front of the iconic house for a piece of history and stop by Beth's Pitchfork Pie Stand for an award winning slice.  
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Fruit Hand Pies
Cook's notes: The following recipe has been adapted from Midwest Living July/August 2013 using refrigerated pie crusts. You will need two 15 oz. packages (four crusts) let them stand according to package directions to soften. On a lightly floured surface use a 4 inch round cookie cutter or rim of a large jar or glass that is 4 inches. Roll each circle to 1/8 inch thickness. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Spoon 2 heaping tablespoons of fruit filling into center of each circle leaving 3/4 inch border. Brush border with an egg wash. Take another pie crust circle and use a small star cookie cutter to cut out center. Place this circle on top of other pie crust circle that has pie filling. Crimp edges with a fork. Brush top with an egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sugar or a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. 
Another alternative is folding one circle over so it looks like a half moon pie. You will need less filling. Crimp edges and brush with a egg wash.

Bake  375 for 19-20 minutes and recipe filling makes 8 pies   Need a video tutorial check this one out at
Cherry Pie Filling
  • 3 cups pitted fresh or thawed frozen unsweetened tart cherries with their juices
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 2-3 TB. cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. orange zest
  • 2 TB. orange juice 
  • optional 1 TB cherry preserves and 1 TB cherry brandy
Blueberry Pie Filling
  • 3-1/2 cups of blueberries
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1 TB. lemon juice
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp. cinnamon 
Peach Filling
  • 3-1/2 cup chopped peaches
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 TB. cornstarch
  • 1 TB. butter
  • 1 TB. lemon juice
  • 1/4 -1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • optional 1 tsp. peach schnapps
Directions are the same for all fillings
  • In a large saucepan combine cornstarch with juice and blend well
  • Add rest of ingredients listed under the fruit filling of your choice to cornstarch mixture
  • Cook over medium heat till thickened and bubbly
  • Remove from heat if adding cherry brandy to cherry filling or peach schnapps to peach filling stir in at this time 
  • Set aside to cool and pour into a bowl and chill 2 hours before making the pies



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