Pie goals are a noble ambition indeed. Upon retirement, my mom set a goal to enjoy her golden years through pie, specifically in every town in Jasper County. I reveled at her ingenuity and looked forward to celebrating her inevitable achievement — with pie, of course.
Fast forward a few years, and I’m beginning to think she’s allowing this seemingly very attainable goal to slip through her fingers. Because much of her “free” time is spent in the company of my child, I thought I’d do her the service of locating the pies of Jasper County.
Unfortunately, my research shows several of Jasper County’s “incorporated cities, towns and census-designated places” do not have pie opportunities. Let’s do better, Jasper County. Residents must either make the pie or seek out the pie, but there is no excuse for a complete lack of pie in your census-designated place.
When locals discuss pie as we are wont to do, Cooky’s Cafe gets most of the attention. However, for this exercise Cooky’s is not in the running as it is in Golden City, which is not in Jasper County. We’ll be moving through the incorporated cities, towns and census-designated places in alphabetical order from here on out.
We’ll start our pie search in Alba, where Culver Creek Trading Co. calls home base when its food truck isn’t rolling to area events and catering gigs. Because pie is on its catering menu, I’ll let it slide in. Asbury had Cowboy Bob’s, which did serve pie until it recently closed. Airport Drive comes close with Fat and Happy’s deep fried apple turnovers, but alas. A turnover by any other name is still a turnover, not a pie.
Avilla would make the cut, if not for this heat. Our protagonist arrived at Bernie’s Bar and Grill last week in search of pie, but came up short by just a few months. Their pie maker only bakes pies in the winter. I’m happy for that reasonable pie maker, but sad for the rest of the pie-eating population.
Brooklyn Heights has no pie; Carl Junction has Baileys Eats and Sweets, but pie isn’t a guarantee. There is no pie in Carterville, but Carthage gives us pie hopes with The Family Restaurant and The Woodshed.
Carytown and Duenweg are pie dry, but Duquesne comes through with Sami’s Family Restaurant. No pie in Fidelity, but head to Judy’s in Jasper for pie anytime day or night.
Joplin has several notable options, but Big R’s chocolate pie has my mom’s heart. Pie hopes are bleak come La Russell, Neck City, Oronogo, Purcell and Reeds. Sarcoxie has Granny Lee’s Cafe, where pie is not on the menu but it seems like it should be.
We end in Webb City, where pie looks to be available fairly regularly at Webb City Cafe and Spencers’ Sweet Call at the Minerva; the Webb City Farmers Market comes through on the pie front pretty well, too. Please alert me of missed pie opportunities; let’s work together to make this lady’s retiring wish come true.
Until then, try these recipes for pies of the season, as well as my go-to, press-in crust; whole wheat makes it nutty-tasting, a teensy bit healthier and delicious for dessert pies or dinner pies.
Easy whole-wheat pie crust
1 1/2 cups white whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons milk
In a 9-inch pie pan, combine all crust ingredients and mix with a fork. Use your hands to finish the mixing and then form a ball in the pan. Press it into the pan and bring it up on the sides, and then pinch the top with your fingers.
Recipe adapted from www.100daysofrealfood.com.
1 9-inch pie pastry or press-in crust
1/2 cup chopped onion
3 cups chopped tomatoes, squeezed dry
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup sliced basil
2 cups grated cheese (combination of sharp cheddar and Monterey Jack, or Gruyere or mozzarella)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon hot sauce, or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. If you are using a store-bought pie shell, follow the directions on the package for pre-baking, or pre-bake it in the oven for about 8 to 10 minutes (a little longer for a frozen pie shell), until lightly browned. If you are using a homemade crust, freeze the crust first, then press a sheet of aluminum foil into the crust to keep the sides of the pie crust from falling down as it cooks. Fill the pie with pie weights such as dry beans or rice to help hold the foil in place.
Pre-bake the homemade crust for 15 minutes, then remove the foil, use the tines of a fork to poke a few small holes in the bottom of the crust (for venting), and bake for 10 more minutes.
Lightly salt the chopped tomatoes and set them in a colander over a bowl to drain while crust is pre-baking. Squeeze as much moisture as you can out of the chopped tomatoes, using either paper towels, a clean dish towel, or a potato ricer. Sprinkle a layer of chopped onion over the bottom of pre-baked pie crust shell. Spread the drained chopped tomatoes over the onions. Sprinkle the sliced basil over the tomatoes.
In a medium bowl, mix together the grated cheese, mayonnaise, hot sauce and a sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper. Spread the cheese mixture over the tomatoes. Place in oven and bake at 350 degrees until browned and bubbly, anywhere from 25 to 45 minutes.
Recipe adapted from www.simplyrecipes.com.
Key lime pie with coconut macaroon crust
2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 large egg white
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 cups sweetened coconut
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
4 large egg yolks
Zest of 1 large lime
1/2 cup lime juice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-inch pie pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
In a large bowl, stir together the sweetened condensed milk, egg white, vanilla extract and salt. Add in the coconut and mix well. Press coconut mixture into prepared pie pan. Make sure you press the mixture up the sides to form a nice pie crust. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
For the filling: In a medium bowl, whisk together the sweetened condensed milk and egg yolks. Add in the lime zest and lime juice. Whisk until smooth. Pour filling over the coconut macaroon crust. Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until filling is set and the coconut crust is golden brown around the edges. Remove from oven and cool on a cooling rack. When cool, chill the pie in the refrigerator. The filling will set up as it cools. Chill for at least one hour before serving.
Recipe adapted from www.twopeasandtheirpod.com.
Amanda Stone works in educational services, marketing and special features at the Globe. Contact her at 417-627-7288 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.