Unsolved Mysteries

Making something out of nothing is my favorite kind of practical magic. Frugal to a fault, I’m not above trying unlikely combinations for the sake of avoiding another trip to the store. Sometimes this leads to lamentable meals, like the time I tried using breadcrumbs instead of oatmeal. However, more often than not, I’ll find new favorite worth replicating, even when I have a full arsenal of ingredients at my disposal.

This is very well aligned with the spirit of Depression-era cooking. No waste, no regrets. That’s why when I came across the legend of Mystery Pie, I was immediately charmed. It strikes me as a combination of chess pie or vinegar pie plus mock apple pie, being made with little more than sugar and miscellaneous filler that somehow transforms into a rave-worthy dessert. Better yet, this one doesn’t even need a separate pastry crust to hold everything together.

Whipped egg whites traditionally fill the gaps, but aquafaba does the trick for a plant-based fix. Add crushed crackers and crunchy nuts plus a splash of rich vanilla, and that’s it. It doesn’t seem like it will end well, yet it manages to exceed all expectations.

Perfect for unexpected guests when the pantry is running low, or simply trying to keep things uncomplicated when it comes to shopping or prep, this is a good mystery to solve.

Yield: Makes 8 Servings

Mystery Pie

Mystery Pie

A cross between a pavolva and pastry, this impossible, crustless Depression-era pie rises again as a modern dessert. Made from a short list of basic ingredients, it's an easy win for bakers and eaters alike.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3/4 Cup Aquafaba
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 3.5 Ounces Crushed Crackers* (Such as Graham, Ritz, Saltines, Water Crackers, etc)
  • 1 Cup Pecans, Walnuts, and/or Peanuts
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 9-inch round pie pan.
  2. Place the aquafaba in the bowl of your stand mixer with the whisk attachment installed and beat on high speed for 4 - 5 minutes, until fluffy and voluminous. Slowly sift in the sugar and baking powder together until fully incorporated. Continue to whip until the mixture reaches stiff peaks; about 4 - 5 minutes longer.
  3. Add the crushed crackers, nuts, and vanilla, folding them in with a wide spatula by hand. Be careful not to simply stir and smash down on the delicate foam structure you just spend so much time creating!
  4. Gently transfer the mixture to your prepared pie crust, mounding it up slightly towards the center.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes, until lightly browned around the edges. Let cool completely at room temperature. During this time, the center may fall and cracks appear on the surface; don't worry, that means you made it correctly!
  6. Slice and serve as desired. It's best enjoyed the same day, but will keep at room temperature when wrapped tightly in plastic for up to three days.

Notes

*I used Ritz crackers, and this amounted to 1 sleeve or 30 round crackers in all.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 254Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 106mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 2gSugar: 27gProtein: 2g

All nutritional information presented within this site are intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information on BitterSweetBlog.com should only be used as a general guideline. This information is provided as a courtesy and there is no guarantee that the information will be completely accurate. Even though I try to provide accurate nutritional information to the best of my ability, these figures should still be considered estimations.

8 thoughts on “Unsolved Mysteries

  1. We know exactly how you feel about trekking out to the grocery store for just one thing. Not going to happen. Your mystery pie sounds delightful and have everything in the pantry right now to make. That is even better.

  2. I love veganizing depression-era dishes! Most of my creations at home also come about because I don’t have a lot in the kitchen but don’t want to waste anything either. Later today I will posting about something I did over the weekend. It ended up being tasty!

  3. I wish there were a photo of a slice from the side. It’s hard to get an idea of what the filling is like from the top.

  4. My great-aunt used to make Ritz Pie (she gave me the recipe once, but Iā€™m not sure where I put it), and I recall it being similar to this (I think it has even fewer ingredients, if you can believe it). I seem to remember it being mostly Ritz crackers and whipped cream. I look forward to trying this one!

    1. I’ve heard of many incredible innovations using Ritz crackers! I love that creativity.

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