The Baking Issue

Crawfish Pies


When I was a youngster (in the 1950s), my father often boiled crawfish for supper on Friday nights during the spring. Back then, crawfish was mostly caught in the Atchafalaya Basin, and it was sometimes referred to as “the poor man’s meal.”

A fisherman caught the freshwater crustaceans in big nets and brought home his catch, keeping enough to feed his family, then selling the rest out of the back of his pickup truck for as little as 10 cents a pound. Daddy, always a kidder, often teased us, saying that we were so poor we had to eat crawfish at least once a week during the spring season. Boy, we were so lucky to be poor!

During the 1960s, Mama often ordered a crawfish pie from a friend of hers who made them in her home, then sold them to the locals. They were superb…juicy crawfish tails smothered down with the usual onions, bell pepper, celery and a handful of tomatoes, then poured into a pie crust and baked. But sadly, the lady became so overwhelmed with orders, she quit making them.

Not to be deterred, Mama announced that she could make her own crawfish pies. Her method was simple and easy. She used a pre-made pie crust, and the filling was much like her étouffée (with the addition of tomatoes).

Here’s my recipe.