Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Year of the Pie? Oh, my!

According to Weekend Edition Sunday from January 2nd, pie just might be a trendy food this year - surpassing the ever-popular cupcake. Granted, it was a short story, it still made me happy. I'm a little nervous about the whole trendy "thing" but I loved pie before it was trendy and I will stay true no matter its status.

While I am a huge fan of cupcakes (and have been known to vacation in cities that have shops devoted to the cupcake) I am a much greater fan of pie. I love the entire process, from crust to filling to assembling to enjoying the first slice. Pie for breakfast the next morning can't be beat. A dream of mine is to open a pie shop possibly with my friend R from CO who is a much better pie crafter than I. Perhaps someday.
wedding pies!
Prior to that, I plan to steal an idea from friends who were married several years ago; rather than the traditional cake, or the now-trendy cupcake (both of my siblings went with this option so I figure I need to mix things up a bit), they opted for wedding pies. I arrived in Durango late the night before the wedding and helped R finish off the fleet of pies. The variety was enough to satisfy all the guests, and the bride & groom wore aprons to cut their pies. It was fantastic.

One of the great things about the island are the potlucks, and pie is my favorite contribution. I tend to stick with standards - rhubarb, apple, berry, etc. I've even been lucky enough to source each of those locally on island; rhubarb from the yard, blackberries and blueberries from the hill behind my house, and apples from various trees around the island. I'm on an eternal quest for the perfect crust (I think that's a goal of most people who bake pies), and lately I've come pretty close. The recipe involves a mix of whole wheat and white flour. The whole wheat makes the crust a little more crumbly, but I like the way the crust tastes after baking.

 Every 4th of July, Partners in Island Education (PIE) holds a pie sale (get it? get it?) to fund raise for their programming. They always sell out which is no surprise considering the number of people on island for the 4th (it's crazy - people are three or four deep to watch the parade!). The past couple of years I've gotten adventurous and made what I like to call pielets. I suppose they're really just tarts, but I prefer pielets. Either way, they're still delish. I cut out small circles of crust and press them into a muffin tin before filling, usually with berries that I've cooked down with a little sugar.

So, where is this all going? Well, partly inspired by a blog I started following early last year, New Dress A Day (which was partly inspired by the idea behind the movie Julie & Julia), and partly inspired by a cookbook I have called Pie, I've decided to get slightly ambitious. I'm going to embark on a year of pie, though given the actual time I expect I'll devote to the project may occasionally result in only a pie a month. The book has 300 recipes, so I don't think I'll have a problem finding pies to make. There are a bunch of crusts and tons of fillings. I've already made the key lime pie, which is probably the most foolproof version I've seen. And with options like the Osgood pie, and several recipes that call for maple syrup, I really can't go wrong. The recipes are primarily sweet pies, which I have no problem with. I'll save the savory for another year.

The plan isn't that ambitious, but it's something to keep me entertained and perhaps keep some my friends on VH happily fed.


  1. SO CUTE! And by the way, when is the best time to visit someone on an island off of Maine? :)

  2. The old Daylight Donuts building is empty right now and every time I drive by those vacant, curved glass front bakery display counters I wish they were filled with pie. Maybe someday . . .

    I have the Pie book too. I highly recommend the caramel apple pie. I don't know that I should even be mentioning it in public. Use it wisely as it has great powers.

    Let me know if you ever want a guest entry for your blog.

    R from Colorado

  3. I hate store bought pie crust so much that I won't eat a pie made with it (or if I do, I wish I hadn't). Cooks Illustrated says the secret to perfect traditional pie crust is the substitution of vodka for some of the water. The alcohol helps wet the dough to hold it together but then burns off, leaving a perfect crust. It does work quite well. I'm always torn between the perfect crust and the one that won't add too many extra pounds to my own waist line. Key lime (lime juice and zest, condensed milk, egg yokes, gram cracker crust) is one of my all time favorites! Cheers Meg. Jen in Spokane.

  4. Meggy I love you! This is wonderful! If you open a pie shop know that I will be right there with you baking away!

    :) Good luck with the quest! I can't wait to come to VH and make/eat pie - love sibling #1 (chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting @ wedding!)

  5. Rebecca - come visit ANYTIME :)

    Robyn - when you find a financial backer to help us buy Daylight Donuts and get us up and running, I will move back to Durango :)

    Jen - I'll have to try vodka, though I don't think I actually have any in the house. . . I'm more of a beer kinda girl. And as for the crust being "good" for you - I figure it's pie, it's meant to taste good, forget the waistline :)

  6. The cupcake will not go down without a frosted red-velvety fight. You can count on that.