Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Easy As Pie

Creating a pie from scratch is a lost art form. It is all too easy to walk into a grocery store or market and pick one up ...and it's "good enough". But, if you've had homemade pie, you'll know there is no comparing.

I'm fortunate to have inherited the pie-making gene from my Mom and Grammie. Growing up, exceptional homemade pie was commonplace at family gatherings. So, you can imagine how it goes over when served the grocery store variety. It just falls a little flat.

I made my first pie as a teenager. Both of my sisters seemed to have perfected the craft but I was being left in the dust. The pie baking contest at the Moore Reunion was the perfect opportunity to learn. Am I right? Nothing like a competition for your FIRST pie.

While flipping through a magazine, I found a recipe for Carmel Apple Pie. Wow, that sounded good. I decided that would be the one. While my sister Jo-Anne worked on one side of the kitchen, I worked on the other and my mom was between us "overseeing" the creation process. When I asked about how to do a lattice top, Mom replied "This is your first pie Janice, you're not going to try and do a lattice top. Use this cutter instead." And with that, she held up a plastic disc with squares cut out. I was NOT going to use that ugly topper for my pie. I insisted on cutting strips of dough and weaving the top to make a beautiful lattice. I must say, it did look impressive.

My scrapbook page from the event
When we arrived at the reunion, there was a bevy of pies vying for the top spot. I think, perhaps, I was not seriously considered to be a contender. However, once the judging started...my pie was getting top marks. As it turned out, I won for "Best Looking Pie" (thank goodness I didn't wimp out on the lattice top). That is not to say my pie didn't taste good too.

Then there was the time I shipped a pie to Halifax. No kidding. My friend Amy & I had worked together at Petrolia Discovery that summer and after hearing about my big win at the reunion, she wanted to try my pie. I made one for our end-of-summer party and all agreed, it was a great pie. So, when she headed back out to Dalhousie in the fall, I decided it would be fun to send her a pie. You know, like a care package. Her brother Scott just happened to be flying out for a visit, and he agreed to take the pie as his carry on. God bless him. What a surprise for her!

This weekend I had my parents over for lunch and decided pie would be the perfect dessert. (Do I know my Dad or what?) I had just inherited my Grammie's marble rolling pin and marble board for rolling and wanted to try it out. I used some rhubarb that I had stashed away in the freezer and it turned out perfect. Seriously, best pie I've had in a long time. Even my Dad, who does not throw around compliments loosely, said it was "excellent". Yay.

I'm glad I have learned from the best in this long-lost art form and when asked about my offering for the potluck, I can see "easy as pie".

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