Black Bottom Oat Pie-Not sure what went wrong

We love this pie in the shop so we were very excited to try it at home. The flavor was great, but the texture was all wrong!. The biggest problem was that when we took it out the crust was done, the pie was beautifully golden, and it had been about 65 minutes, but it was a little more jiggly than we would have expected. We thought it would set as it cooled, and it did seem to be well set until we sliced it and found it was liquidy inside. Please tell me if you know what could have caused this mistake?

Lynn Pollock
Black Bottom Oatmeal Pie
Recipe question for: Black Bottom Oatmeal Pie


Lynn P. November 28, 2020
Thank you so much for that great explanation! At what point should I foil the pie? Our pie was a gorgeous color when we took it out. The other thing I remembered is that when we poured the filling into the crust, we noticed it was airy. And when we took it out the top had little pinholes instead of oats like in the picture. Should I not be using an electric mixer? The other thing that could have been an issue was that I got distracted after I added the butter to the brown sugar and when I went back it started to congeal slightly so I had to mix a little longer I think.

I'm sorry for all of my questions! I hope I am not a nuisance.

Thanks again,

Lori T. November 28, 2020
Yes, what you see on the top is the result of foam created when you mixed it up. It's not the end of the world though, and honestly- it doesn't affect the taste. But it does displace some of the oats- same as it does with smaller nut bits, or even pecan halves. You will still get a few bubbles no matter what you do. To help avoid them in the future, you have a few options. You can do all the mixing with a fork, of course. A bit laborious, even for loved ones sometimes, and awfully rough on the wrist. You can also opt to use a whisk. However, you can use a hand mixer, set on low speed- which is my favorite method. Then let it sit for a bit before you add in the oats- so foam rises and you can skim it off if you like. You can also thump the bowl on the counter to break a good many. Then add in your oats, by folding them in, not too energetically so you don't also mix in more air. Then carefully pour that into the waiting crust. So far as worrying about the butter congealing, I don't think that's an issue. It would still be pretty soft stuff, and still end up mixing evenly through. Nope, your issue was simply a few too many air bubbles. The other reason the pie in the picture may look more evenly layered in oats may be a sneaky one. When you make a pecan or other nut pie, you can put the nuts in the bottom of the pie, and pour the liquid filling over the top. Or you can artfully place them on the top, once the filling is in- and then use a spoon to "dunk" them. That way you know there is even distribution, especially if you use pecan halves and want them arranged "just so". Of course, with oats, that's not really a thing as a rule. If I were making one to appear on the internet, I suppose I might consider one of those options. Mine are meant to be eaten, not photographed, so I don't. And that's probably why the recipe directs you to stir the oats in and then spoon it into the crust. You won't always end up with a photogenic distribution of oats- but it will still be quite tasty. As far as when to apply the foil shield - you want to put that on when the pie has browned just almost as much as you want. That should protect it for the remaining baking time required. And you are not a nuisance by any means. How can you learn if you don't ask??
By the way, I hope you didn't toss out the runny pie. Even if it doesn't hold up for slices, it makes a dandy topping for ice cream.
Lynn P. November 29, 2020
Thanks so much! I feel ready to try it again! And as for the runny pie, that was my idea exactly! I told my family last night and we had vanilla ice cream swirled with that delicious oaty sweetness!
Lori T. November 28, 2020
A pie like this is a sort of custard, only without the milk. That means it is going to take a long time in the baking, and from the sounds of it, yours just needed a little longer in the oven. It all depends on how much moisture is in everything, and how long it takes the "custard" part of the filling to hit about 200F, when it will set. That isn't something you can always set a timer for- which is why you have to watch and feel the center of the pie. In this case, they tell you to poke it, and go for a feel like set jello- which is a bit more than your usual pecan pie filling. My pies have cooked to appropriate doneness in times that vary from just under an hour to almost 80 minutes, with me fearing for the crust and praying my foil offering would appease the pie gods. With this sort of pie, you just can't bake by the clock. You shield the crust and top with foil, which helps prevent overbrowning, and just keep baking and looking, and feeling. That's the reason some people give up on making pecan pies or their variations. But if you can hold your nerve, and leave it to bake, you will succeed in the future!
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