"I can't imagine any other food that symbolizes as much happiness and love."
My Grandma Frankeny was a pie maker extraordinaire. When I was a little girl in the fifties and sixties, my family ate Sunday dinner with my grandma and grandpap every week. Those were meals, folks. Roasts and mashed potatoes and chicken and corn and green beans. Oh my. But best of all were the pies. Grandma Frankeny always made pies. Pies plural. Always three or four or five or six big lovely pies. She specialized in pecan pies, regular, of course, but also lots of little odd variations like chocolate pecan and pecan cream and banana pecan, as she and Grandpap raised pecans on their hundred-acre ranch here in Texas. She could make any sort of pie, and the pie just seemed to flow from her fingers, effortlessly.
When she and Grandpap passed away, we grandchildren were all given the opportunity to select something of Grandma's to keep. I chose her recipe box. I was a little saddened to see that lots of her pie recipes were not there or were incomplete (she'd had a stroke some years before her passing) but I loved going through all the recipes I found there. I try to keep her tradition going by baking a pie whenever I can, on holidays, on special occasions, and even, now and then, for Sunday dinner.
Her savory pie, a chicken pot pie, has to be one of her best. My mom often would bake up one of these for each of her children after we left home and married and surprise us by delivering it for our supper.
"Pie is a comfort and balm to many a weary soul."
Do you see why I couldn't help myself when I saw the cover of Art of the Pie at BookExpo in Chicago last year? I never do this, but I contacted the publisher and asked to read and review (and bake up) this book. Pie seems to be in my genes, in my heart, in my soul.
And the publisher sent me a copy at the end of last year. I've been lingering over this book ever since.
"...whether we are baking, sharing, or eating pie, we seem to tap into something that is much greater than the sum of its baked ingredients."
In her introduction to this fabulous new book about pie making, Kate McDermott shares all the pie secrets she's accumulated over the decades she has spent making pies. I love her rules of pie making and life, especially number one: "Keep everything chilled, especially yourself." So wise.
I've now tried out a savory pie recipe, Chicken Pot Pie.
It was right up there in taste and appearance with my grandma's chicken pot pie. And that's saying a lot.
I had to also try a sweet pie recipe, the Quintessential Apple Pie.
Keep it cold, McDermott says. The dough. The bowl. And your hands.
Look at that crust. I used the half butter, half shortening. Best, McDermott says, is half butter, half lard.
Four kinds of apples: Fuji, Granny Smith, Pink Lady, Jazz
McDermott says you don't have to peel the apples. The peel adds to the flavor. And, oh my, was there flavor.
Just out of the oven.
"Made with hands and heart, pie is love, and love is best when shared."
This book is the perfect book for any pie maker, beginner or advanced. You can be happy just reading about making pie, I think, even if you never get farther than that.
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