Happy National Pie Day!

January 23rd, 2012

It’s that time of year again — my favorite minor holiday — yes, you guessed it, NATIONAL PIE DAY!

No, not THAT kind of pi, silly — THIS kind of pie:

Next to homemade bread, pie is my favorite thing to bake.  I like just about any kind, too–apple pie, strawberry rhubarb pie, coconut cream pie–you name it, I’ll be sitting at the table, fork in hand, ready for my slice.

I love pie so much that I named two of my books after it:

Here’s a link to a blog post I wrote last year about this wonderful holiday, and my mother.  Enjoy!  I’m off to bake a pie (marionberry this year, in case you’re wondering)…

 

National Pie Day

January 23rd, 2011

It’s time to bust out those rolling pins, America!

I just love living in a country that sets aside a day each year to celebrate my favorite dessert.

What could possibly be better than pie? Not that I don’t love cake, cookies, cupcakes, candy, and sugar in all its many wondrous forms, but there’s something special about pie.  For one thing, it’s, well, baked into our history. Humans were making pies as early as 9500 B.C., when those clever Egyptians wrapped honey in an oatmeal crust.

Pie is baked into my family’s history, too.  I come from a long line of great pie bakers — and pie eaters.  I remember my mother telling me of the day she left Canada for “the Boston States,” as Nova Scotians used to call New England.  It was a big step for a small-town girl fresh out of nursing school, and as she boarded the train in Halifax that would carry her into her future, she was filled with mixed emotions: excitement, trepidation, self-doubt.  My grandmother saw her off at the station with homemade goodies to keep her well-fortified until she reached her destination:  a Thermos of beef stew, oatmeal bread, and apple pie, her favorite dessert.

I don’t know if the apple pie had anything to do with it, but my mother survived the journey and flourished in her new job in Connecticut.  On her days off, she’d board another train — this one bound for New York City, where she’d shop a little, explore a little, buy herself a ticket to a Broadway play, and then take herself out to lunch someplace fancy — I remember her mentioning Sardi’s as being one of her favorite spots.  And yes, she’d have pie for dessert.

Marie MacDougall Vogel (left) in Times Square, circa 1955

Isn’t she something?

Gotta love those white gloves.

And so, in honor of National Pie Day, and in honor of my darling mother, here’s the Frederick family’s favorite recipe for apple pie!

FRENCH APPLE PIE

Unbaked pie shell

6-7 cups tart apples (we use Granny Smith’s), peeled, cored, and sliced paper thin

1 c. sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. nutmeg

A little extra butter for dotting on the apples

Topping:

½ c. butter

½ c. brown sugar

1 c. flour

Preheat oven to 425.  Roll out pie crust and pat it into pie plate.  Crimp edge.

In a large bowl, mix sliced apples with sugar and spices.  Pile into prepared crust and dot with half a dozen or so thin slices of butter.

In a separate bowl, cream butter and brown sugar, then add flour, working it in until the mixture begins to come together and the crumbles are about the size of peas.  Sprinkle over pie.  Cover loosely with tinfoil (this prevents the crust from burning) and bake at 425 degrees for 1-1/2 hours.  (Yes, it needs to bake that long!)  It’s a good idea to either cover the rack you’re baking it on with foil, or place the pie plate onto a cookie sheet or something to catch any drips.

Remove foil.  If topping is golden brown, pie is done.  If not, let it cook without the foil for another five minutes or so.

Cool and serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.  Yum!

Be still, my pie-loving heart

September 5th, 2010

Sunday afternoons chez Frederick means two things — reading the Sunday paper over lunch, and later, at some point, a nap.

I haven’t gotten to the nap part yet, but I just finished the Sunday paper, and in case you missed this week’s Parade magazine, here’s a link to a fun article for fellow pie-lovers by Jane and Michael Stern, two of my favorite foodies.  What’s not to love about a couple who met a Yale, and have spent the last 25 years driving around America in search of good food?  Someday, I want to go on a road trip with those two.  Preferably next time they decide to head off and sniff out more of America’s greatest pies…

Pie chart, anyone?

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