Adventures in Pie baking.

by Dawn Hoff

I probably needed to write this post back for PIE day, but as par for my course, I am always a wee bit off. I love most pie. My Gma taught me to make apple pies in her kitchen many years ago when I was a small child, spending my summers with her. She showed me how to cut the butter into the flour and add a tablespoon or two of ice water to form the crust dough. Don’t tell my mother, she even let me use a real knife to peel and cut the apples too. She taught me her secret trick using a round teaspoon to remove the seeded core with the flick of a wrist. My Gma would prep hundreds of pies for her freezer. Each Thanksgiving she would bring coolers filled to the rim with pies for us to enjoy through out the year. One of the many wonderful things my Gma did to express her love for us. One of the benefits of owning an apple orchard: Pies, lovingly and completely, handmade until the day she passed away.

I love how a pie can always liven up any boring dinner. I love black bean and rice dinners. I know. So boring. I also love having a beautifully prepared pie for dessert. One way to my husband’s heart and to jazz up a plain Jane meal is Pie. I have branched out in my pie fillings. I used to only ever make apple pie. Now, I make custard pies. Oh I know, such a leap!😂 I made my husband a brownie pie for his birthday and baked little letters “Happy B-Day” to sit upon the top of it. He was so surprised. Our meal must have been rather boring, because I can not tell you what I served. However, that beautiful brownie pie is a fixture in my memory. 

Any shallow dish can be a pie dish. It is true! Any shape can bake a pie too. Muffin pans can make mini pies 6 to 9 at a time for regular size and up to 24 for the mini pie bites. Need pie for 50? I highly recommend a rectangular baker. You know which one I mean. The super duper large one your Great Auntie Bette gave you for that holiday way back when, or that ginormous engagement lasagna pan you have never once used. It is time to break it out and set it free, in your oven. When making a pie this large, I do recommend making your fruit and custard fillings  a wee bit thicker than normal. Some pie slices will only have a bottom crust, or top and bottom crust, with no side crust to support themselves. Trust me 3 or 4 huge rectangle pies will make you happy not to be baking 10-12: 9”-10” round pies; unless, you really like your kitchen. In that case, go right a head. I like to over estimate when making pie. Everyone loves pie. I make 2-3 slices of pie per guest. But then, I am a Southern Woman and we always over estimate. 


Pasties, which are little filled hand held pies. They are smaller but somewhat similar to a modern hot pocket. These pies are delicious and easily baked on a flat surface. Any Polish Pottery cutting board, cookie sheet, or flat platter will work just fine. Most all fruit or jam can be used as filling. If you are the grab and go type, any savory meat stuffing works fine too. My Gma used to make these with the leftover filling and dough from her pie baking adventures. I call them adventures, because, who today besides a professional baker makes 200-500 pies? 

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