Growing up, my family made weekend jaunts to Cape Cod, where we frequently ate lunch at a small cafe called The Brown Bag. Their specialty was Kentucky Sky High Pie. Pecans, molasses, chocolate and pure heaven. The Brown Bag no longer serves that pie and our backyard cherry tree is long gone, but the memories remain.
The Magpie luncheonette and bakery is featured prominently in the series I am currently writing. For the sake of literary accuracy and not wanting to steer my readers down the wrong pie path, I find it necessary to research various types of pies. I’m always on the lookout for new recipes to sample and add to my collection.
While I can never duplicate my fondest pie memories, I have come to realize the ones that now win my heart over are the simplest to prepare, like my rustic apple pie. Place three sliced apples with a smattering of sugar and cinnamon in the center of pie crust and loosely fold the edges over leaving the center exposed. No pie plate necessary. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes or until golden brown. You can easily substitute pears, peaches or other fruits. I promise, you’ll never feel guilty about a slice.
In the northeast, pie was reserved as a summer treat. I live in South Carolina now, and pies are a year round staple. Candles adorn birthday pies. Pot luck suppers mean multiple pies. I’ve even seen pies replace the traditional wedding cake.
Pie crust is an art in itself. There are even television cooking shows devoted to it. The best one I’ve seen is the series Alton Brown did for The Food Network on the science of pie crust for his Good Eats show. I have to admit, sometimes (not always) I cheat and buy the premade pie crust you thaw and unroll. Shhh. It will be our little secret.
Now that I’m craving a slice, tell me, what is your favorite pie? Feel free to share a recipe or two.
Betting on Texas (March 2013)