Clam Pie -- Deitz/Tooker

Edna Tooker was a long time member of the Old South Haven Church in Brookhaven Hamlet, NY.  And more important for this recipe, the wife of an old-time bayman, Richard Tooker.  This is mostly her recipe for clam pie with a few of my touches (I don't remember what though.)


  • 48 steamer clams

  • 2 cups hot boiled potatoes diced in 1/4 inch cubes

  • 2 medium onions, chopped finely

  • 2 cups celery, diced finely

  • 2 bay leaves (optional)

  • 5 tablespoons butter

  • 2 tablespoons flour

  • sea salt and pepper

  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

  • 2 tablespoons parsley, minced

  • Pastry dough for two 9-inch pies

Steam well scrubbed clams to open.  (use a large pot, 1/2 cup cold water. Close pot tight, but stir clams once or twice.  Do not let come to a frothy boil, but see to it that the clams all open.)  Save liquor separately.  Remove beards from clam necks, and chop coarsely.

Line pie plates with pastry dough.

Sauté onions and celery in 3 tablespoons of butter until just golden brown -- but no more.  Add clam liquor, bay leaves and simmer until tender.  (The trick of making this pie so tasty is at this step -- simple yet critical.)

Make a roux of flour rubbed with the remaining 2 tablespoons of softened butter and add to clam liquor, stirring until smooth, making a thin gravy.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.  (Probably very little salt will be needed, as clams usually have enough salt already in them.)

Combine cooked clam meats, potatoes, cream, and gravy, turning carefully so as not to make potatoes mushy.  Taste again to make sure of seasonings.

Turn into pie pans.  Add one bay leaf per pie.  Sprinkle with minced parsley.  Fit and trim pastry dough to top, and prick with air holes.

Bake in a hot oven (450 F) for at least 15 minutes or until brown.  (You'll probably want to put a cookie tin under pies to catch any boil-over.)

Serves 6-8.

26 Jul 2013