ANN BAILEY: Pie is no piece of cakeAlong with my regular day-to-day duties at Good Samaritan Society — Larimore, I help with a variety of events that the center holds. I enjoy the people I’m working with, get to visit with the people who attend the events and help serve — and eat — good food so it’s definitely one of the perks of my job.
Along with my regular day-to-day duties at Good Samaritan Society — Larimore, I help with a variety of events that the center holds. I enjoy the people I’m working with, get to visit with the people who attend the events and help serve — and eat — good food so it’s definitely one of the perks of my job.
One of the most recent events I helped with is the Good Samaritan Ladies Auxiliary’s pie social, an annual event held in May to raise money for the center. The combination of “pie” and “social” makes the event a lot of fun to be part of. Not only do I get to visit with people, but also to eat my favorite dessert.
I love pie both because it tastes so good and because it brings back memories of dinners on the farm where I grew up. My mom served pie for dessert every day. Apple pie. Rhubarb pie. Chocolate cream pie. Lemon meringue pie. Sour cream raisin pie. Banana cream pie. The list went on and on.
My mom didn’t cut any corners creating her pies and made every crust from scratch, rolling it out expertly. Her crusts weren’t just something to tolerate as you ate the flavorful filling, they were an essential part of the pie; tender, flakey and melt-in-your mouth delicious.
Harder than it looks
My mom, characteristically humble about her pie making as she was about her other accomplishments, didn’t think that her pies matched up to some of her friends’. She often commented that the saying “easy as pie” wasn’t very true because making good pies was hard work.
Though it may not as been as effortless for my mom as she made it look, the results of her labor showed that she had mastered the art of pie baking. Unfortunately, I did not, mainly because I suffer from “crust anxiety.” No matter how many crust recipes my mom and other good pie bakers have given me, I have yet to master the art of making crusts.
Maybe I have a mental block when it comes to rolling out crusts because of the traumatic experience I had when I was in high school home economics class and we had to make a pie for a class project. I chose to make a sour cream raisin pie, my dad’s favorite.
Practice didn’t make perfect
I had seen my mom roll out crusts many times and it didn’t look too hard, so I thought sour cream raisin would be fairly easy. I was wrong. The crusts I rolled out either were too thin and broke into pieces when I was transferring them to the pie tin or too thick and looked like pizza crust.
I can’t recall how many times I rolled and re-rolled before I made a crust that was halfway decent, but I do know that I was so crabby by the end of the pie-making project, which took up most of the morning, that the rest of my family hoped that I never would make one again.
Occasionally, over the last 30-some years, I have made pastry crusts when I’ve made quiche or a pie for my family, but haven’t been pleased enough with the results to feel confident enough to make them when I have to take them for a bake sale or an event.
For those, I make pies with crumb crusts. I’ve had good success with those because it’s pretty hard to mess up the crust when it involves crushing up graham crackers or cookies and adding sugar and butter to them. My contributions to the Good Samaritan Ladies Auxiliary pie social were peanut butter pie and double chocolate cream pie, both with crumb crusts.
The social was a pie lover’s heaven, an assortment of berry pies, apple pies, cream pies, rhubarb pies, peach pies and a host of others, filling an eight-foot long table. In these busy times, sitting down to visit with neighbors over a piece of pie was just what I needed, body and soul.
Reach Bailey at firstname.lastname@example.org or (218) 779-8093.