My Dad had heart ablation surgery in Panama City, FL a few weeks ago. Nothing terribly serious. The procedure would take a few hours. Dad would be in the hospital overnight for observations but we could pick him up the next morning. We thought he might have the double room to himself, but just as we were leaving for the night, the surgical nurses wheeled in Leroy and parked him next to Dad. Oh well. It was late and Leroy was alone and sedated. Plus Leroy looked like he could have been Dad’s bunker mate during the war. They’d be fine.
Mom, Maggy and I were at the hospital promptly at 9:00 am the next morning to whisk the patient home. We arrive at the room where Geraldine and Don are also waiting to collect Leroy. Little did we know at that early hour that none of us would find our way out of that hospital maze until 3:30 that afternoon.
We start to collect Dad’s things, but the nurse arrives and we get the word. The doctor hasn’t released Dad or Leroy. Until then, no one’s going anywhere, so sit back, relax, and enjoy the wait.
There we are, all seven of us—Mom, Dad, Maggy, Geradine, Don, Leroy, and me—unlikely roommates just waiting to bolt. Leroy finally does the sensible thing and turns on TV. Turns out he loves the Food Network. Yes! We work our way through the morning lineup—Tyler, the Neelys, Paula, Giada, and finally Barefoot Contessa.
All this food watching gets us talking recipes. Geraldine asks if I’d heard of Don’s absolute favorite—Bob Andy Pie? “What?” I said. She repeats the name. I’m both stumped and intrigued. She promises to send the recipe.
Geraldine is true to her word. She doesn’t do computers, but by the time I get back to Connecticut she’s mailed me a 4- by 6-inch index card with a recipe for Bob Andy Pie that I promptly make.
Turns out it’s a simple cinnamon-flavored custard pie (although some recipes call for cloves and even nutmeg) with Amish roots. Even though Geraldine and Don live in Cottondale, FL he grew up among the Indiana Amish and the recipe came South with him.
So how did the pie get its name, I wondered. There are conflicting stories, but the most common seems to be that after tasting this pie, an Amish farmer declared it as good as his two prized work horses, Bob and Andy.
The unbearable hospital wait seemed pointless then, but now I get it. If it hadn’t been for the unlikely gathering in that Southern hospital room I wouldn’t even know about my new favorite pie.
Andie Reid says
How nice! Having been through hospital overnights twice now, I know good and well that your kiester is going to be parked in the room waiting for the doctor until at least 2:00 PM. This pie certainly looks better than what they bring you for lunch while you’re waiting. 🙂
What a day that was. Thank goodness for the Food Network or we would have been bored out of our minds. And thank goodness for Geraldine too – otherwise how would we have found this recipe? I really love this pie. I think if of it like Midwestern creme brulee, haha. I love how the cinnamon rises to the top to form that delicious, slightly crispy upper crust.
Lisa Brisch says
I love this story! When I was looking at the recipe – which I saw in your Facebook status update – I thought “Sugar Cream Pie” which is just another variation of this one. And, yes, it’s from Indiana. A few years back my husband had me on a quest to develop a recipe based on description only – no name. When he finally found the name, then it was easy to find some recipes to tinker with. This one is different so we have to try it!
Carolyn Miller says
Oh my goodness. My mother is from Indiana and yes, she was Amish. Our version of this involves separating the eggs and beating the egg whites and folding those in last. It gives the top a wonderful texture. We also use evaporated milk instead of milk and 1/2 of the sugar is brown sugar – it adds depth and richness to an already amazing pie. It’s our favorite. My mothers family also made it as ‘everyday pie’ – except in German which sounded something like ‘wodaches boy’. I’m sure that is spelled incorrectly – I’m trying to spell it phonetically – the w has the v sound…that just meant that it wasn’t a Sunday pie – it was something you ate during the week.
Okay, this makes me all nostalgic!
Thank you for this story and recipe! It reminds me of the time my sister came to visit. She didn’t have cable and spent hours watching the Food Network and copying recipes. Also, my grandmother used to make custard pies and this one will be a good one to remind me of her. I love that memories are connected to food! PS Glad all went well with your dad.
This looks lovely! I’m so glad Poppa is okay. Don’t you just love that old fashioned recipe swap? It’s how many of my grandmother’s favorite recipes came into her hands, and I hope it’s a tradition that never ends.
This is very similar to my Grandmother and Great Aunt’s Egg Custard Pie. Although not Amish, we are Pennsylvania Dutch and share many of the same eating habits and recipes. There are many Amish in Western PA where I grew up. Very timely too since my Mother just gave me two of her old enamel pie pans when we visited last weekend!
What a lovely story!
What a great story and what a great looking pie. Will remember to try that one soon!
All good stories end with pie, and this one sounds wonderful – I love cinnamon! I think I remember a mention of Bob Andy pie in “Cooking from Quilt Country” by Marcia Adams. I’ll have to pull that one off the shelf today. Prayers for your Dad’s speedy recovery!
This pie has been my favorite since childhood! My great grandmother used to always make it for me every Christmas – it was our families tradition. Our story is a little more simple, it was a friend of the families recipe and their childrens’ names are Robert and Andrew. The Interesting link between them though is that they were also from Amish Country! I got so excited when I saw this on your website, I called my mom and grandma about it haha!
Jeff Vinyard says
My aunt Floyd (we called her Flossy) made this pie. I have only had one thanksgiving without it when in college and couldn’t go home. I think it is in the Equality Cookbook from Equality Ill too. For me Bob Andy pie IS thanksgiving…the turkey is optional.
Today, I was listening to a Book on CD while driving to work and heard a reference to this pie. Being a librarian and having never heard of it, I started a search and found this wonderful string of comments. It sounds like it needs to go in my recipe file which is now electronic except for a few of the ones my mom had clipped from newspapers or had gotten while playing Bridge with lifelong friends. My favorites are the ones with the dates noted and who actually won the game. Speaking of which, now, when I get a recipe from someone, I always write down the date and circumstances so that I can recall happy memories when I make the item.