At Amish funerals, hot or cold sliced meats, cheese, vegetables, and breads are laid out on the tables. But even the local women can’t prepare all the food; with families that large, funerals can be frequent, leaving little time for chores of a normal workday. Therefore, even mourners who have to travel a great distance to the funeral also contribute food to the dinner, which is how Raisin Pie – a/k/a Funeral Pie – became a traditional dessert at Amish funerals, since it travels well. Only after everyone has finished eating – and the women who have spent the day preparing and serving the meal have paid their respects to the deceased – does the funeral continue with a trip to the cemetery.
In a mixing bowl set on medium speed, beat the yolks for about two minutes. In a separate bowl, whisk together one cup of sugar, the flour and the salt. Slowly add the sugar and flour mixture to the yolks. Beat this mixture until it falls in ribbons from the beater blade. Scald the milk; add it very slowly beating all the time.
Pour yolk mixture into a saucepan. Add the butter to the saucepan. Cook while stirring, over medium heat, until the custard thickens; this will take 3 to 5 minutes. Do not let boil. Remove from heat, and add the vanilla and the raisins. Cover immediately with plastic wrap.
Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks. Beat in, slowly, 6 tablespoons sugar and cream of tartar. Make sure the filling is still hot, and pour filling into the crust. Top right away with the meringue; spread to the edges.
Bake at 325°F (163°C) for 20 to 25 minutes, or until browned. Cool pie on wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Nutritional analysis does not include pie crust of your choice.