Autumn’s Grace Nine: Pie- Glorious Pie!

My friend, Andrea, picked the topic of “Pie”.
I can tell you that she may have just picked one of my favorite things- ever!
pie dough
I have a grand dream to one day own a pie shop. I’ve even named it, and have it’s design and decor in my head. I would have a delectable selection of fresh pies each day, and would spotlight seasonal pies. You could of course get a steamy cup of coffee or hot tea to go along with your slice.
It would also stay open late, and be a great hangout for studying, small-groups, reading, late night socializing…

Well that’s enough dreaming for one day. Someday….sigh.

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My first memories of falling in love with pie, were while standing on a stool in my Grandma Thelma Horn’s kitchen, while she let me roll out pie crust for her. She didn’t hover over me. She gave me the ball of dough and told me to roll it very thin. Flour dust was everywhere, and I remember it sparkling in a bright ray of sunshine, coming through the kitchen window. It’s a cherished memory for me. I have the little red-checkered apron she let me wear while we baked that day.

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As I set up my own home and came to realize that baking was one of my favorite things to do, Pie quickly became my most favorite. I believe that the key to pie, is the crust. I have different types of crust that I like for different pies. It took me many attempts and failures to figure out how to get pie crust just right.

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One morning, while baking pies and feeling frustrated with the dough, I called my Grandma Aman, who makes the best pie crusts, and asked her what the secret was? She said that it was two things:

1. You can’t handle the dough too much. Barely mix it until combined, and then roll out gently. She said that dough that has been over-mixed and over-handled will be tough and rubbery.

2. She always puts 1 Tbsp. of vinegar in her pie dough. She claims this is the secret to a flaky crust.

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My go to pie crust recipe, is Carol McCall’s recipe. Carol was my Pastor’s wife, and mom to my best friend, Julie. Years ago, Julie and I made pies together, and her crust was so easy and quick. All these years later, I still use it. I’ll have to make sure this isn’t a secret family recipe, before I publish it completely.

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I’ve never made it, but when the Taylor family talks about Grandma Olivia, they rave about her Buttermilk Pie. Grandma Olivia Taylor was a Southern Cook and Queen of the Kitchen. She had a reputation of putting on massive spreads for any occasion or holiday. She is now in Heaven, and I blessed to have her box of recipes. I’ll have to give this one a try!

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Probably the most delicious and requested pie I make is Coconut Cream Pie. I have a friend who made it often, and when I couldn’t stand it anymore, I asked her for the recipe. I very quickly found out that this recipe was a HUGE FAMILY SECRET, and that I couldn’t have it. I was grief stricken.
That year, at Christmas, Duane handed me an unmarked present. When I unwrapped the contents, it was a framed copy of the coveted recipe for Coconut Cream Pie, from my friend. I cried with delight! I had to promise that I would NEVER give the recipe out, and so that being said, the following glimpse is all you get….

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“In his bachelor’s heart of hearts, he loved pie with an intensity that alarmed him. Yet, when he was offered seconds, he usually refused. “Wouldn’t you like another piece of this nice coconut pie, Father?” he might be asked. “No, I don’t believe I’d care for anymore,” he’d say. An outright lie!”
― Jan Karon, The Mitford Cookbook

My very favorite pie to make and eat is Pecan. I had eaten Pecan Pie for years, but then I found this recipe I was forever changed. I chop my pecans, before throwing them in.
Pecan Pie is known to be the pie with the most calories. With that in mind, it’s usually only brought to the my dessert table during the Christmas Season.

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“Cut my pie into four pieces, I don’t think I could eat eight.” -Yogi Berra

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