This is the 4th in a series of Pie Camp stories…and recipes.
This story is from Tom, who came to make pie with me when I was teaching for many years in Seattle. As with many who come to Pie Camp, we met as strangers, but departed as friends. Pie seems to have a way of doing that…of connecting people. Tom has become a tremendous pie maker and teacher of the craft!
Pie: A Sum of Its Parts
I remember the day when I made a pie for friends, and thought, I can do better than this. Cobblers and crisps have more structure and substance than my sad little pie imposter. I knew of Kate, Seattle’s Pie Whisperer, and decided to take her class. With apron, and pie pan in tow, I took Kate’s class in the shadow of Pike Place Market, and by the end of class, the clouds had parted and angels sang. I became a willing convert in the ways of butter, flour, fillings, fruit, lard, and pie fearlessness.
Kate helped me realize that making a pie was more about doing a whole lot of little things right, that a pie is the sum of its parts, and those parts and techniques are easy to learn and master. Kate is one of those rare individuals who lives her passion daily, whether pie, people, teaching or sharing. Her enthusiasm is contagious, and her Art of the Pie transformative.
Tom’s Favorite Pies
Having a favorite pie to make is as elusive to me as having a favorite color to choose; it all depends on everything from season, to hankerings, to fruit availability. In the summer, peach pie is my favorite. There’s something about the perfume, texture and flavor of the fruit when paired with a dreamy double crust. In the winter, I relish Shaker Lemon pie, which for some is an acquired taste. Each bite is a pop of sweet-sour goo, chased by a chew or two of flaky rich crust, resilient rind and simple unadulterated flavors of homespun goodness.
My favorite pie to eat is good old-fashioned pecan pie, perhaps because I grew up in the South where it’s the pie of choice. When my tastebuds reunite with the savory crust and crunchy, yet custardy filling, I’m a kid back at the kitchen table in South Carolina and Alabama. A family tradition continues each autumn as my mother sends me a box of fresh Georgia pecans. I ration them so as to have at least one pecan pie a month, at least until the next harvest finds its way to my doorstep and childhood heart.
Here’s a list of recipes that you might enjoy!