Thursday, July 5, 2007

Furr's Millionaire Pie

Lest you think that I bake a pie, cake or cookies nearly every day, I don't. I made this about 2 weeks ago when our daughter, her husband and grandchildren were here - we had 9 for dinner, and I made two pies. The leftovers from this are long gone. But, here's the story . . .
What a funny name, Millionaire Pie, huh? This recipe goes wa-a-a-y back in my life. For a couple of difficult years (during my first marriage) I lived in Oklahoma City. A born and bred California girl sometimes doesn't adapt well to such a different place. Lots of things contributed to my unhappiness there: the obsession - absolutely maniacal obsession I'm talking about - with football for one. Hunting and fishing for another. Beer for one more. I don't do football, hunting, fishing OR beer. I didn't drink much during that time in my life - I hadn't discovered wine yet, but beer was not on my list at all. The weather was another formidable obstacle (wind, more wind, heat and tornadoes). And shopping was not what I was used to. Yes, there was one department store, but mostly it was out of my price range. Yes, there were drug stores. And yes, there were grocery stores, but they didn't carry lots of the things I was used to - fresh tortillas for one thing. Fresh fish for another thing.
At the time I lived there (this was the early 70's) there was not a single place in Oklahoma City where you could buy fresh fish. Zip-zero-nada. Frozen was all that was available, and very a meager selection at that - mostly fillet of sole, cod or shrimp. Or frozen fish sticks - those were available in most markets. But that was IT. Cilantro? They'd never heard of it. There were very few good restaurants - at least that I thought were good. Oklahoma is a BEEF state, so you can find steaks and burgers and not much else. In the ensuing 30 years, I'm certain the restaurant and grocery situations have improved. I don't mean to give OKC a bad rap, but I found it really tough to be a very imaginative cook. Fortunately I didn't stay there long.

But during those 2 years my family frequented a modestly upscale cafeteria called Furr's. It's still going strong in about 6 states. Unlike the buffet dining establishments now popular here in Southern California for the big-on-appetite and short-on-funds, in the 1970's this was a fairly nice restaurant, and all their food was home made. I don't remember much about the place now but this was a favorite dessert. The origin of the pie - and hence its name - was that during WW II there were lots of food items cooks couldn't get, and if you were able to find pineapple and walnuts, you must be rich (a millionaire). And while I lived there the local paper printed the recipe for this pie. There is a website out there called copykat recipes (famous and not-so-famous restaurant recipes), and it has a similar one for this pie as well in case you want to research this or other restaurant favorites. Its version suggested using Eggbeaters or similar product in lieu of the raw egg, which is probably a very good idea.
It's a baked pie shell, filled first with a butter/sugar layer that firms up when refrigerated, then it's topped with pineapple and walnuts, folded into whipped cream. Not difficult. And if you used Trader Joe's pie crust shells it'd be a cinch. I didn't, so made a short tart shell and put it into a regular pie plate. Once baked and cooled, I filled the shell and covered the completed pie with plastic wrap and refrigerated it until ready to serve. I used fresh pineapple, and added more than the recipe indicated and also sprinkled additional pineapple and nuts on top of the pie. It will hold for a couple of days, but I think it's probably better to serve the same or the next day. So, here's to the old Furr's.

Furr's Millionaire Pie
Recipe from Furr's Cafeteria restaurants in the Mid West
Servings: 8

1 whole pie shell -- 8-inch, baked
1 cup powdered sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter -- softened
1 small egg or egg substitute
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream -- whipped
1/2 cup crushed pineapple -- well drained
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

1. Cream together sugar and butter. Add egg, salt and vanilla and beat until fluffy. Spoon into prepared pie shell and chill.
2. Combine whipped cream, pineapple and chopped nuts and spoon onto top of the filling. Chill thoroughly before serving. Sprinkle top with additional nuts and pineapple if desired.
NOTES : Use fresh pineapple if you happen to have it and want to use it.
Per Serving: 303 Calories; 20g Fat (58.7% calories from fat); 4g Protein; 28g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 62mg Cholesterol; 294mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1/2 Grain(Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 0 Fruit; 0 Non-Fat Milk; 4 Fat; 1 Other Carbohydrates.
To view a printable recipe click on title at top.


Anonymous said...

I tried your recipe for Millionaire Pie... I think you forgot to put powdered sugar in the whipped topping. It tastes strange and I looked at some other postings and it said to add 1/2 cup into the whipped cream then fold in nuts and pineapple. Just wanted you to know in case you meant to add it.

Carolyn T said...

Hello anonymous - sorry you didn't like the whipped cream without sugar. I went back to my original recipe to verify and it didn't have sugar added. My recollection is that the powdered sugar filling was so sweet, it didn't seem to matter that the topping didn't have added sugar. But, by all means, add some if you'd prefer it!