Authors in the Pantry: Recipes, Stories, and More Corpses, Coffins, and Crypts; A History of Burial

Find out about the many customs and traditions surrounding death and burial in many cultures when you read Corpses, Coffins, and Crypts: A History of Burial by Penny Colman.Corpses, Coffins, and Crypts: A History of Burial┬áby Penny Colman.  One of my favorite connections is the Raisin Pie/Funeral Pie.  Penny Colman was interviewed for a feature entry in Authors in the Pantry: Recipes, Stories, and More by Sharron L. McElmeel (Libraries Unlimited, 2007) and said,  that food seems to a part of burial rituals in all times and cultures. One food that she found in many cultures throughout the United States is the funeral pie.

"Funeral Pie" is a popular food shared at post-funeral dinners throughout the United States. Quick and easy, and made from non-seasonal ingredients, it was often taken to the family of those grieving over a passing. Funeral Pie is made of raisins which were readily available even in communitys (and during decades) when food preservation methods did not allow for cream pies or for other fresh fruit to be readily available. For many years raisin pie was served with the meal prepared for family and friends at the wake following a funeral. The probable reason was that this pie could be made at any season and kept well when prepared a day or two before the funeral. It does not need refrigeration. This pie traditionally is served at funerals of Old Order Mennonites and Amish .

Funeral Pie
Prepare or purchase pastry for a two-crust nine-inch pie. Set aside.
In a saucepan, bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for five minutes
    • 2 cups raisins
    • 1 cup orange juice
    • 1 cup water
    • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
Combine the following ingredients and then add to the raisin mixture and cook until mixture thickens (stir as the mixture cooks):
    • 1 1/2 cups sugar
    • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
    • 1 teaspoon allspice
    • 1 cup chopped walnuts or other nuts
    • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
Line a pie pan with a pastry crust and pour in filling. Cover with the second pie crust and flute or seal the edges by crimping with your fingers or with the tines of a fork. Brush the top of the pie with a bit of milk and sprinkle a tablespoon of sugar onto the top crust. Bake in a preheated oven (425 degrees F) 20 to 25 minutes or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Let cool before serving. Serve with ice cream or with whipped cream.

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