*Note: This was meant to be published two months ago, but alas, I suck.
When I was at The Glimmerglass Festival, I started Friday Pie Day, wherein the development team and other various Glimmerglass employees and I would eat pie and drink coffee around 3:00 PM each Friday once we opened the season. Just off Highway 20 was a baked goods stand open on Fridays and Saturdays, run by a wonderful Amish family. Saying these pies are some of the best I’ve ever eaten is not an exaggeration. I have dreams about their blueberry pie. In an attempt to create an atmosphere of community at my new job, I decided to institute Friday Pie Day while we’re in production. Because I am unsure if the Amish have settled this far South and I don’t want to shell out $20 every Friday, I’ve decided to up my pie game and bake my own each week. As you may recall, dear Annes, I have experimented with pies in the past. In the last couple weeks I’ve baked an apple pie, a peace pie, and a strawberry crostata.
The first pie I made was apple, and because one of my coworkers is vegan, I needed to find an alternative to the traditional butter crust. I ended up making an oil pastry crust, courtesy of the 1980 revised 8th edition of the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book (of old food no one ever makes because it’s actually pretty gross). Some of the food pictures in the front cover are pretty gross. There’s this broccoli casserole/salad concoction that looks like it has marshmallow with ranch dressing drizzled on top, sprinkled with breadcrumbs. (I’m all for broccoli and ranch dressing, but how do the marshmallows enter this equation?) There’s another picture of what can only be described as a pistachio green jello mold with sugared grapes delicately placed atop the jiggling obscenity. (Side note: Were you ever present for Kim’s recounting of the jellos Dr. Larsen makes the music staff eat at his annual Christmas dinner?) Despite the fact that I wouldn’t dare prepare 75% of the recipes in this cookbook, BH&G saved me this time with a quick, easy pie crust that used ingredients I already had. I would have just used Crisco, but I didn’t have any and it was too late to go to the store (read: I was lazy and I didn’t want to get shot leaving my apartment at 10:00 PM).
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup salad oil
5 tablespoons cold water
1. Sift together flour and salt
2. Pour salad oil and cold water in measuring cup (do not stir)
3. Add all at once to the flour mixture and stir lightly with fork
4. Form into 2 balls; flatten dough slightly
5. Roll out (Pro Tip: Roll dough between two 12-inch squares of waxed paper (dampen table/counter first so paper won’t slip). When dough is rolled in a circle to the edges of the paper, it will be the right thickness for crust.)
For the filling, I cut up the 4 gala apples I had left from my weekly bag of apples and poured an amount of sugar, cinnamon, and maybe some nutmeg, and a dash of vanilla. I was a little worried about the crust because when I tasted the raw dough, it was overpoweringly salty. Fortunately, the end result was just fine. The salt balanced with the sweetness of the apples, though I might reduce the salt to 1 teaspoon in the future. I didn’t want to do a double crust because I was a little low on filling, and I wanted to hide the saltiness of the crust, but I didn’t want a single crust/tart. Instead, I cut out some tiny hearts with a cookie cutter and placed them on top. Since I didn’t use all the dough for the second shell, I made a quick strawberry crostata. This was so simple. I cut up some strawberries that were teetering that fine line between perfectly ripe and rotten, tossed them on the dough, and rustically folded the sides. I took a leap of faith and hoped during the baking process the sugars would caramelize and sweeten the strawberries. I can’t actually tell you how this turned out. I didn’t get a piece of it. The feedback was all positive, but here in the South, I can’t tell if people are being genuine or just being nice.
The last pie in the baking tale is a beautiful peach pie with a lattice crust. My boss invited a bunch of people to his house in Indiana (gross, but at least it’s not Ohio) for Labor Day. You can’t celebrate the symbolic end of summer without a pie. I don’t know where this rule came from, but I stand by it. In traditional Carolyne style, I didn’t really use a recipe. I loosely followed this one from Taste of Home because it mentioned the Great State (Iowa). The pie was a smash success. Again, I didn’t taste of this pie. I had to head to the University of Louisville Football season opener before we got to dessert.
Friday Pie Day caught on. I haven’t baked a pie in a while because my coworkers have decided to bring in pie as well, which is great! Lastly, there is a place in Louisville called Homemade Ice Cream + Pie Kitchen, which sells homemade pies and ice cream. Delicious. If/when you come to Louisville, I will take you to Pie Kitchen. That’s a promise.