Monday, September 7, 2009

Making Pies

A week ago I took a trip cross state to visit my Grandmother in the small town of St. John, WA, population 558. St. John is about forty miles northwest of Pullman. Main street is two blocks long, a walk around town takes about fifteen minutes, the gas station is closed on Sundays, and you can still put your groceries on tab and pay at the end of each month. Life is good.
It isn't everyday I get to spend one on one time with my Grandma so this trip was special for both of us. Last year I took a similar trip to visit her with my sister and we learned how to can nectaries and make jelly. So, this year I thought it would be fun to learn how to make one of Grandma's pies. Let's just say they are famous. Famous for all the reasons I pie is good, for its delicious flaky crust and fresh from the garden fruit filling. In this case, we used transparent apples from a tree growing in her backyard. Transparent apples have a yellow skin and are tart and sweet, perfect for making an apple pie. Pie crust can be very challenging, but my Grandma's way, mixing oil and a little bit of milk into flour, salt, and some baking powder, makes the process much easier. For all pie dough, it is important not to over mix, so I stirred the ingredients together just until they were barely incorporated. I sandwiched the dough in between two pieces of wax paper and rolled out a top and bottom pie shell. We then added the apples that had been mixed together with some lemon juice, cinnamon, sugar, and flour. The last step is perhaps the best part, the drizzling of melted butter over the apples before the top pie shell was placed. By all means, a no calorie weekend (we could only hope!). Once the top pie shell was in place, I sprinkled some cinnamon and sugar on top, put a couple of fork holes through and placed the pie into the hot oven.
Let's just say the pie was amazing. Now, not only do I have the memory of my Grandmother teaching me, I have the ability to make dozens of pie recipes! Dozens? It is possible. Read about the Eat-A-Pie-A-Day Project by Evan Kleiman, host of KCRW's Good Food radio show and podcast. She is making a pie each day of this summer. I am thinking a trip to the mountains is in order. A wild huckleberry pie would be great for ending out the summer and welcoming in the fall. What pie are you going to make?

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a wonderful time with Grandma! I will have to get you to teach me how to make those Apple pies. So good! Thanks for the tips!