Articles tagged with: pie

04
August
2017

Pie Mode

Off the back burner!

Cherry Pie

Back in pie mode

Do you ever go through phases when you don’t do something, even though you love it and want to do it and think it would be great to do it but you just don’t do it?  It’s been that way for me most of this year around something I love to do:  making pie.  I hadn’t really made one in months.  I just wasn’t in pie mode.

Why?  Can’t say for sure except that something in me said:  not now.  Wait.  

I think it’s OK to put things on the back burner sometimes, to let priorities shift around the multiple things for which we are responsible or to which we are connected.  For me, the main thing is to stay clear about the reasons things are shifting:  to be clear about the emotional and other factors operating.

Looking back, I can see that the primary force in my life this spring was the fact that I was preparing for retirement.  I’ve been working for 45 years.  Mostly I’ve worked for either myself or for social-profit organizations (formerly called non-profits) on behalf of health and social justice issues.  I’ve never made much money and haven’t saved enough for retirement.  

So, retirement feels like a huge stretch, one I’m not entirely ready for but one that I’m embracing.  It’s taken a lot of energy to finish up my most recent contract with the NM State Dept. of Health.  It’s taken energy to reconstruct my self-image, to start this next phase of life as an open book waiting to be written.

What does this mean for you?  You can expect more from me now:  more pie ideas, more tips and tricks, more fun.  And I’m going to start “teaching pie” one of these days.  Watch for that!  Maybe someone you know would love to come to the Land of Enchantment for pie camp.  Now that’s “pie mode!”

05
March
2017

Pie Palooza! Come & get it!

Celebrate Pi Day, 3.14, on 3.12 (March 12th)!

Pi Day Pie!  3.1415926535898 and so on

If you're in the Albuquerque area, here's your chance for a pie blowout.  It's a fundraiser for SAGE* and there will be all kinds of delicious pie for sale by the slice ~ or take your chance on willing a whole, homemade pie by participating in the pie walk!  Mmmm, will it be apple?  Pecan?  Chocolate?  Blueberry?  Lemon?  Mocha Cream? 

Best of all, you can donate a pie you made.  It's a good cause and every baker who brings a pie to donate will receive a "Pie Pals" refrigerator magnet to keep you inspired.  Please try to deliver your pie no later than 12:45.

When:  Sunday, March 12 (as close as we could get to actual "pi day," which is 3.14).  Location:  Pie Paloosa at the N'MPower Center, 136 Washington SE, Ste. E, Albuquerque, NM 87106.  Time:  Starts at 1:00 p.m.  Come early for the best selection!  Event ends at 3:00, and all pie must go!

*Pie Palooza benefits SAGE Albuquerque and their efforts to support LGBT elders. They provide training to senior service organizations on the unique challenges for older LGBT adults and they have ramped up efforts to create many more social opportunities for the older LGBT community.  They offer 4 different monthly gatherings and are creating more events of interest all the time.

03
January
2016

What is a "Pie Crust Promise"?

Why beware?

What is a

Well-intentioned resolutions:  We all know them, remember them from earlier Januarys.  Like neighbors you never really liked but who live nearby, unfulfilled resolutions keep showing up.  Sometimes those noisy old resolutions even party together into the night, keeping you awake. 

Usually, we want to look better, feel better, do better.  We want to be better. 

But beware "pie crust promises."  Guess who said those words?  Mary Poppins, the movie nanny who flies with her umbrella, guiding the young children under her care.  Julie Andrews played Mary Poppins in the old movie with Dick Van Dyke, where they created a world of belief and magic.  The family she comes to help is dysfunctional in Part 1, with the father figure working too much and ignoring his family, especially the children.  In Part 2, Mary imparts wisdom along with playful imagination, and in Part 3, healing occurs and the dad comes around to value his children.  Then Mary Poppins flies off.

So how are New Year's resolutions like pie crust promises?  As Mary said, they are, “Easily made.  Easily broken.” 

It's true that we only get to be humans on the planet when we have a body with which to do that.  Going back to the idea of resolutions, then, "being better" for me this year is about just gently (so as not to break it) agreeing with my Self that I'm going to love this body better.  I'm going to listen more to what it needs and wants and less to what my mind says “I” need and want.  

So, I know that my body loves:

  • sleeping for 8 or 8 1/2 hours almost every night.  I can do that.
  • sinking into warm water and drinking lots of clean water.  I can do that.
  • getting low-impact aerobic exercise almost every day.  I can do that
  • sipping the green juice from Trader Joe's that I thin out a little with sparkling water.  I can do that.
  • releasing stress and embracing creativity through meditation.  I can do that. 

And my mouth loves good pie, of course!  And sometimes my mind likes a glass of cool, dry champagne.  I can do those, too.   That’s all part of being human. 

This year, I'm being careful about promises to myself.  I'm only making ones that are positive and loving, ones that are easy to keep and less likely to be broken.  Then I know I will look, feel, do better.  

Join me?  Let's be better, together!

I'll be your pal,

Rebecca

24
November
2015

The Real Big Apple

Check this out!

The Real Big Apple

The biggest apple ever?  I think so!  It more than fills my extended hand.  It's a doozy, anyway, and it makes me happy.

OK, of course New York City is the other big apple.  But this isn't about cities, it's about ranches and really big apples.

Where do your apples come from?  Seriously, where do they originate?  For that matter, who's tending the soil that grows any of the plants that you eat?  Where do those people live? 

My food people live all over the world.  Coffee from one place, grains from another, turkeys from somewhere else.  We all know it's pretty global when it comes to food these days.  Many of us are making an effort to pay attention to fair trade and organic and other values when we can.  I hereby acknowledge that paying attention to those things represents a level of privilege than many people do not have.

Because of the secondary costs of shipping food -- like apples -- around the world, it is worth thinking about our food choices and from whom and where they come.  We humans are connected and it does matter.  When apples come from New Zealand or blue berries come from South America, the pollution from that air or sea transport adds up and becomes a cost that the Earth bears.   

I’m no angel about all of this.  The berries I buy in winter don’t come from around here (the Southwest U.S.).  But I do make an effort to buy food grown or produced in the United States and even more locally when I can. 

That’s why I have to give a shout-out to this apple.  It came to me as a gift from a friend, Jeannie, who lives on a ranch in Northern New Mexico, a ranch that has apple trees at least 100 years old.  This apple, she promised, was perfect for pie.  There are many varieties of apples on that old ranch, names unknown, but they can be pegged for what they’re good for:  pie, fresh eating, or applesauce.   And Jeannie was right:  this apple is perfect for pie.

She gave me a whole, full bag of these apples:  what a beautiful bounty.  The actual big apple pictured above is going into my Red Hot Apple Pie this Thanksgiving.  I’m looking forward to sharing this new favorite recipe made with perfect pie apples.

In this season of thanks, my gratitude is especially for such a gift, such a reminder that the best can come from close by, that good apples made into a good pie can be the very essence of the season:  kindness, warmth, and home, shared with those we love.   

Whatever your version of a perfect big apple is this season, I hope you find it and celebrate it!  And, thanks for sharing, Jeannie!

24
July
2015

A Mystery

Sweeter than Expected

A Mystery

Things don’t always go as planned, right?  Normally, when we have visitors I make them a pie.  Not this time.

I meant to make our recent guests a pie.  They arrived from Australia with the intention of visiting here in Albuquerque, then seeing more friends in Denver and Portland, finishing up in San Francisco before flying home again from Los Angeles.  Nice trip!  It was their first visit here and I was ready to show them around New Mexico, wine and dine them a bit, even serving up a “blue ribbon” pie.

As things unfolded, I was made aware again that we aren’t in charge of much and that it’s good to allow for mystery. [More than the mystery of how to succeed with meringue!]  The usual jet lag and dehydration seemed to take their toll on our gentleman friend, and his wife and Havens and I thought he’d recover after a good night’s sleep and plenty of water.  Instead, his health continued to fade.

Of course our attention turned to his care.  Plans for touring were cancelled, meals were had quietly, the great scotch we’d intended to share over laughs was shelved, and concern grew.  Eventually he ended up in the hospital, then hospice.  He died there are few days ago.

I share this with you because it has been a wonderful experience.  That may sound surprising, and it is even to me.  The truth is, we have found a sense of wonder and peacefulness about this process, as challenging as it has been.  It has allowed us to give from the heart, to stay in the present, to “hold space for what is,” and to expand with a sense of knowing that, somehow, everything was turning out as it was meant to.  We have embraced the mystery and found love everywhere we looked.

There’s a sweetness to this that goes way beyond pie. 

Blessings and love, Rebecca

02
June
2015

It Is What It Is

Pie in the Andes

Jon & Don liked the blueberry pie

“It Is What It Is”

Seems like it must have been good.  Here they are, Jon & Don, licking their pie plates.

A recent trip to visit Pie Pal friends, Kristin and Jon, took us to their cabin in southern Chile.  Their friends Don and JoAnne (from Montana) are building a home nearby.  With all of us being there together, the occasion called for pie.  Three pies, in fact, in 3 weeks:  blueberry, apple, blueberry, each one adapted to fit the circumstances and ingredients available. 

That’s one of the things I’ve learned over time:  the value of being flexible and adapting.  Being a rather fixed person (my partner might kindly call me strong-willed), it’s been a challenge for me to let go of my own expectations for how things should be.  This “how things should be” framework has two sides:  caring enough to do a really good job on whatever it is, like making a perfect pie for the state fair pie contest, and knowing when to be more in the moment with what is and what is possible and what is good enough.  Sometimes, as Kristin says, “It is what it is.”

How has this change in myself – this willingness to be more in the flow – come about?  Self-compassion.  This self-compassion is about a willingness to see life through kinder eyes, to see myself through kinder eyes: to love this simply human self.  It is about accepting whatever is going on in the moment, taking time to breathe and enjoy this life as it is.

That’s the thing:  It is what it is.  In the moment, we can’t change what is, we can only see it – see the situation, see ourselves, see others – honestly, with compassion, with love, and then go on from there. Rebecca serving pie in Chile

So, 3 pies in 3 weeks: baking in unfamiliar kitchens with stoves that measured heat in Celsius rather than Fahrenheit, making do with the tools on hand [Yikes!  No pie server!], and using the ingredients that were available there, tucked way back in the Andes.  One pie (blueberry #1) was made with my preferred thickening agent brought along with me from home; the apple pie was made with fresh, local green apples piled high (it was Fall there!); and finally, the pastry dough for the last one (blueberry #2) was rolled out in Santiago with a wine bottle (in the absence of a rolling pin).  It was a wonderful feeling to be open creatively and to have the experience of going with what was there.

Here’s to making pie with what’s available, putting love into it, sharing it with new & old friends, and expanding compassion for ourselves and others.  And thank you for reminding me, Kristin!

apple pie in Chile

 

22
January
2015

"I need to make pie!"

National Pie Day, Jan. 23

Frangipane Pear Tart

“I need to make pie!”

My neighbor friend told me over the wall that her uncle’s wife is dying, and her uncle feels lost.  “I need to make pie!” he had exclaimed.  His heart is breaking, and he needs to make pie.

What is it about making pie that grounds us, gets us quiet and centered, back at peace with the world, even if just for a few minutes?  Is it the fact of doing something with our hands?  Or making space to do something creative?  Maybe it’s because it’s a solitary activity, one done without a lot of other people?  Perhaps any solitary, creative activity would serve.  Probably so. 

Whatever your reason for needing to make pie – or to eat it – here’s as good as any:  Friday, January 23, is National Pie Day.  It’s official!  Go for it.  Make a pie, buy a pie, but share pie on Friday!  Teach someone else, if you can.  Take a pie to your favorite nonprofit agency for the staff to enjoy, or to the fire station, or to your book club.  Take one to your neighbors.  You’ll be making people very happy and, hey, does it get better than that?

Personally, I’ll be taking pie to my women’s group.  Doesn’t matter where – just know that if you share pie, the world will be a little sweeter, and hearts will be a little happier, even if just for a little while.  Even hearts that are breaking with the loss of a loved one.  May we always be united by love and, if we’re lucky, pie.

Warmly, Rebecca

P.S.  Want ideas for pies to make during winter months?  Check out:  www.piepals.com

05
October
2014

Juicy News from the Pie Contest, NM State Fair

Best of Show Pie, Fresh Raspberry & Chocolate, 2014

People – Pie Pals, specifically – have been asking, “What happened?!” 

Let’s get to the juicy details!

New challenges emerged this year.  There were 17 categories, up from the previous 16.  The Home Arts Division decided that they would eliminate “Dutch Apple” (it was rolled into the “Nontraditional Apple” category) and they added “No Sugar” and “Citrus.”  Hmmmph!  Here I thought I’d won all of the categories (which I had until they changed things) and could just bake for fun.

I worked and worked on creating a great sugar-free pie.  I’m not willing to use those weird artificial sweeteners that often have a bitter after taste, so I focused on more natural ways to make things sweet. First it was the “Nutty Buddy” Pie, based on frozen bananas whirled with unsweetened chocolate, frozen, and topped with chopped peanuts.  Analysis:  terrible texture (icy, frozen shards).  Then it was on to the “Sweet Potato Sweetie Pie,” which used apple juice boiled down to a thick syrup as the sweetener.  I was looking for a soft, custard-like texture and, instead, got what would gag a dog (if I had one).  As one of my favorite pie testers, Jon, said with such understatement, “This doesn’t measure up.”

Ha!  The final entry was an apple pie, double crust, sweetened with raisins and condensed apple cider.  It was quite lovely, thick with apples and raisins, and I really liked the flavor – probably because I’ve cut down on sugar so much in the last few years.  The judge, however, said she was a little confused by the flavor – maybe too much cinnamon?  And she didn’t get that the raisins had been soaked in rum. 

Sugar-free Apple Pie  So…it didn’t win a ribbon.  But you know what?  I enjoyed it for the next several days!

Meanwhile, they were judging the peach pie category which had an unusually large number of entries this year.  Guess who won?  A Pie Pal, Havens!    Here’s a picture of her gorgeous lattice-top peach pie, and you can find the recipe ("Stars & Moon Peach Pie) on www.piepals.com

Blue Ribbon Peach Pie

Then they judged the nontraditional apple pies.  And guess who won again?  Pie Pal Havens!  I’ll ask her to post on the web site the recipe she used for her winning Dutch applie pie along with a picture.

Finally, they got around to judging the “Fruit Pie” category.  It catches everything that doesn’t fit in one of the other fruit groupings.  That’s where I entered my raspberry chocolate creation.  And I say creation because this is a recipe I made up 25 years ago.  That was the first blue ribbon pie I ever made! 

It’s a labor of love, for sure.  The crisp crust holds a thin layer of chocolate buttercream (like dark chocolate butter frosting), then there is a double layer of fresh raspberries covered by a lush, scarlet-red raspberry glaze.  Small chocolate cream swirls around the inside edge of the crust made it all come together. 

So the two judges tasted a sliver of the raspberry pie and also someone’s pineapple pie and all of the others in this category.  As usual, I watched to see if their expressions gave away their impressions.  They did not.  I tried to remember to breathe.  They lifted each of the slices to check the bottom and see if the crust was properly browned.  They pinched off bits of crust to check for flavor and flakiness.  They tasted the fillings each one more time. 

Finally it was time to announce the winners in this category.  One judge took the microphone and started, “Third place goes to…” while the other judge lifted my pie.  My heart sank.  “No, not that one!” the announcer corrected.  Whew.  They discussed and displayed the third place and second place winners.  And then judge #2 held up my pie while judge #1 pronounced it to be “perfection.”  Yay!  A blue ribbon in the “Fruit Pie” category!  I could breathe again.

Near the end of the pie contest, all of the blue ribbon pies (one from each of the 17 categories) compete against each other for “Best of Show.”  All 6 of the judges circle up and compare notes on their favorites among those 17 pies.  They go back and forth, a little more tasting, a lot of kibitzing, and finally one of them takes the mic again.  Guess what?  They agreed on the raspberry pie!! 

Raspberry Chocolate Pie

So, there you go.  Well, actually, there we went.  We, friends and I, took the remainder of that pie outside and ate it up.  We sat at a shady picnic table on a sunny September afternoon, forks, little plates and bottles of cold water at the ready.  We also ate up most of the peach pie and the Dutch apple and some of the sugar-free apple.  Does life get any better than moments like this? 

Special thanks to Havens, Jon, Patty and Carla for making the day even sweeter than the pie.

Cheers & love from Rebecca, your Pie Pal

P.S.  The recipe will be posted soon under Scarlet Raspberry Pie.

 

 

 

 

09
July
2014

Pie in the Sky

High Hopes

Pie in the Sky

Sometimes we have high hopes:  We see things going our way, see ourselves being successful and having fun.  We hold thoughts of what could happen that would be really cool.  The hopes may be a little out there, really high, but we hope anyway!  Why not?

Check out this “pie in the sky” slice.  I had very high hopes for this pie.  People often ask me what my favorite pie is and, without hesitation, I always answer “fresh peach.”  Oh, those ripe, flavorful peaches, dripping with sweet juices, all wrapped in flaky pastry, baked into round deliciousness.

Serenading some peaches recently, I was attempting to seduce them into a perfect pie as I peeled and sliced them with love and anticipation.  They were ripe. They smelled good!  They had good texture.  Yay!  The crust came together easily.  I even made a lattice crust, which I think is perfect because it lets you see the juices bubbling and the pretty blush color of the peaches.  First peach pie of the season.  I could hardly wait.

Ever have times like that -- where you are happy with the doing, with the expected outcome, with yourself?  Fun in the present moment with an eye on what’s ahead.

Well, then, you also know how things turn out sometimes:  not at all like you expected.  As so it was with this.  It looked inviting, complete with tiny pockets of peach juice sweetened and thickened, peeking through the lattice as expected.  The underside was golden brown.  I let it cool, waiting for the moment when I could finally have some with a little cup of espresso.  It was awful. 

What happened?  This is “gakky,” my inner critic said.  Too much tapioca and sugar, I am sure.  But the main thing was that the peaches had so little flavor. That was the deal-breaker.  I nearly cried with disappointment as I put most of it down the garbage disposal, not even sharing it with trusted pie tasters nearby.

What’s up with fruit these days?  Am I the only one consistently frustrated by the lack of flavor in store-bought fruit?  It’s starting to get depressing.  And I’m not just talking about everyday big grocery stores.  The same tastelessness applies to fruit from most high-end grocery stores as well, with the exception of some produce from the co-op.  But that’s really expensive, even for those of us dedicated to spending more of our shopping dollars at locally owned stores that pay their employees living wages and that provide high quality food.

Well, I’ve renewed my commitment to shopping for fruit at the farmers’ markets in town, even though I am so NOT a morning person and you have to get there early for the best selections.  I’ll go for the peaches, raspberries, apricots and rhubarb.  I’ll go for the zucchini, too, and the greens and peppers.  Kale?  Not so much.  But whatever I get there, it’s got to be better than whatever was shipped 900 miles or more to get here.  If I only get to make one really good peach pie per year, using peaches from a nearby backyard or farm, then so it is.

I’m keeping my “pie in the sky” hopes.  I’m willing to try and have things not turn out the way I’d hoped, and then try again another time with a new version.  We all need hope! 

Keep baking, friends, and share your current version of good summer pie here http://www.piepals.com/my-account/submit-recipe .  Because we all need good pie, really good pie.

 

14
March
2014

It's Pi Day!

It's Pi Day!

Pi* day is here!  It is March 14th today (3.14), near the “Ides,” about which we’ve been warned.  Is there some warning related to the 14th?  Heck, no.  Only that we not have too much Pi. 

What would that be, too much Pi?  Maybe being too numerical, too caught up in calculating, in figuring, in trying to plot things out, needing to have an explanation that makes perfect sense, where everything adds up and comes out as expected, according to the formula.  While math is exacting and can be beautiful – as with fractals – how much of life is precise like that?  Why do we seek that?  I think we seek that kind of left-brain calculation because we’re uncomfortable with the unknown, the fluid, with the ebb and flow of “that which is taking form” and “that which is releasing form.”  In other words, with the messy truths of life on planet Earth.  Things are always taking form and leaving form.  With every breath, we ourselves change.

Yet we try to establish truths and constants, with some hope that they will comfort us, make us feel safe, make us feel like we understand and have a measure of control. 

What significant thing in your life came out exactly as you expected?  Name one thing.

Me either.  Can’t name one thing.  And today, I find that comforting.  I’ve reached a stage in life where it’s no longer important to invest in expectations, or at least not in calculating and planning so much.  

Now, it’s more about setting intentions and then letting go of expectations about how things will actually turn out.  Now, I tend towards, say, the intention of having a good time, or of being relaxed, or of enjoying time with friends, of being healthy, of being productive or compassionate, or of creating a garden I’ll enjoy, rather than investing energy in any details about those things.  It’s so freeing this way.

Which isn’t to say that I don’t get exacting sometimes!  I do, including around pie.  There are times when measuring matters, like getting the proportions among flour, salt, Crisco and ice water just right, or making the “perfect” lattice.  It’s also true that if my intention is to put love into what I’m doing, it seems to come out well enough and meanwhile, I’m not stressing.  Yay!

So, while I’m glad there are numbers like pi (3.14………), and that some people get a kick out of them, I’m not invested in them.  I’m more interested in any excuse to make and share pie, so if it’s Pi Day, that’s good enough!

Special thanks to a true Pie Pal, Peter, who found this photo of a Pie Day pie.  May you always have good pie, dear friend.

 

*Pi is a special number, representing the ratio between a circle and its diameter.  It can only be expressed in an exact way through the Greek letter “Pi,” as the numbers to the right of the decimal never terminate (thus 3.14159265359…).  Can you tell my partner is a math nerd?

 

Photo credit: Real Science-4-Kids

 

20
February
2014

Passing on Pie?

Can you? Will you?

Rebecca & 2 young friends make pie

There are two kinds of Pie People.  Those who will eat any pie and those who are pie snobs.  I’m the latter.  Both types love pie.  How great is that?

Can you pass on a piece of pie?  It depends?  What about a piece of mass-produced pie?  You know – crust that can bend a fork and overly sweet canned fruit filling?  Maybe, maybe not.  Can you pass on a piece of really good pie – one with a flaky crust and flavorful fruit inside?  Less likely!

But that’s not the point.  There’s passing on a piece of pie, and there’s passing on pie:  the knowledge of how to make good pie and the recipes that go along.  That is passing on pie and is something I value.

Check out these photos that celebrate both of those 2 essential things: 1) teaching others to make pie, the craft of pie, the love that goes into making a delicious pie, and 2) passing on favorite pie recipes.Chocpiepaperedsm

Look at this gem!  It’s a hand-scribbled recipe shared by a Pie Pal who’s now in her 60’s.  It’s a recipe she’s been making for friends every year for G.O.K. (God Only Knows) how long.  Thanks for sharing it, Chris!  (It was our pie of the month recently).  How many of us have family recipes like this, written out by hand and tucked somewhere in the kitchen?

 

And check this out:  another Pie Pal teaching her granddaughter how to make a pie.  How sweet is that? 

PatAddie12.13ed.sm

This is happening all over the country and it makes me very happy.  If you have a pie-teaching story or picture, share it!  The rest of us would love to see you in action, teaching a friend or family member your techniques.

Why does this matter – passing on pie?  Ours is a culture that’s all about fast:  fast food, fast information, fast work, racing through our days.  You know all this.  Even those of us who try to choose a more mellow pace are still swept along sometimes, finding life going too quickly, feeling pressure to keep performing and producing. 

Pie is about slow.  It’s about taking care, doing things by hand, like peeling apples or washing berries or separating eggs.  It’s hands-on, for sure!  It’s about being in the present and humming. 

Back to passing on pie.  If we, those of us who still make pie from scratch, don’t teach the next generation or two how we do it, what will become of our recipes and knowledge?  I’m pretty sure a YouTube video won’t compare to being shown by you how to roll a crust and crimp it.  I’m pretty sure a 30-second clip on Google won’t really help your grandchild understand what “cut in the shortening until it looks like cornmeal” means.  Who will teach children the importance of chilling the dough or using a pie crust shield to prevent the outer edge from burning while waiting for the juices to bubble at the center of a cherry pie?  And who will help the children in your life learn how to weave a lattice?

Please!  Be inspired by this recipe and make a folder full of your favorites to pass on to others in your family.  And, even better, share two or three of your favorite pie recipes here on Pie Pals.  It’s easy to enter your recipe and then you’ll be sharing it with the whole world! 

Please!  Be inspired by this photo and teach someone who’d like to learn how to make pie.  Spend a morning together and create a fabulous memory.  How the pie turns out is irrelevant, even for pie snobs, because it’s the making it that’s good. 

And for sure, someone will eat it. 

02
February
2014

What are your hands doing today?

What are your hands doing today?

Hands.  Recently I was in the occupational therapy area of the Healthplex getting therapy on a smashed (but recovering) right index finger.  The other person getting treatment was a guy who seemed – from appearances, I didn’t ask – to be recovering from badly burned hands, arms and scalp.  He struggled to do basic therapeutic movements with his stiff hands, transplanted skin stretched tight across them, fingers cracked and bleeding.  He worked very hard at simple things, like moving pegs on a board.  Whew. 

How much of what we do every day is dependent on having the use of our hands?  You could make a list that would be almost endless, I’m sure.  Please take a moment to at least think about your list.  Hopefully one of the things on it would be the ability to touch those you love – family, friends, pets, other animals, even plants or books.  And I would include food on the list of things we might touch with love.  The ability to choose and prepare nutritious, good food with love and care is a blessing.  Now I’m not saying pie is nutritious, but you know I think it’s an important part of the food pyramid and deserves to be an occasional treat!

The next time you make a pie, think about how cool it is to have your precious hands to bake with.  Love your hands, love pie.  It’s all good.  Very good!

 

 

 

07
January
2014

Pie Poetry Contest!

Put your love of pie into words! Win a prize!

Pie Poetry Contest!

This contest has closed, but feel free to send us your "pieku"!

The Pie Pals Team. 

 Go ahead, write a little poem about pie! 

What:  We want poetry about pie.  Send in your original poetry about pie and win a prize! 

When:  Due date is February 28, 2014.  Send any time between now and then.

Where:  Send to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. *

Why:  You love pie.  Good, homemade pie.

First prize is an original Pie Pals apron, and all honorable mentions will get a free Pie Pals magnet.  Winners announced in March, with winning poems posted on the Pie Pals website. 

Haiku poems are welcome!  I guess that makes them pieku? 

 

 

What else? 

  • Any style of poetry is fine, keep it clean, fun is good, family stories as poetry are interesting, say what’s true for you about pie. 
  • Attach as a Word document if your poem is longer than a half page.
  • Must be your very own original poem(s).
  • Limit 2 poems per person. 
  • Anyone can enter.
  • Entries need to be in English.
  • Drawings, illustrations and photos are welcome but certainly not required.
  • Decisions are final, blah, blah, blah.  You know the routine. 

Just write something and wax poetic about pie!

*Include with your email the following:

 

  1.  Your name and the city/town/village/pueblo where you live, and the state/country.  Also let us know your age if you’re under 20.

  2. Your statement, “I agree to the terms of this contest, and confirm that I wrote this poem and I am giving Pie Pals, LLC, permission to publicize it as they see fit.”  Cut and paste this into your submission email if you want to, or type it in.  This statement must be included for your poem to be considered!

  3. Any tidbits about the poem, your love of pie, your history with pie, or anything else you think we might find interesting about you.  Don’t be shy!  This is all in the spirit of being pie pals – people who love pie and want to share that enthusiasm!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

29
October
2013

Top 8 Pie Recommendations for Fall

Apples, Nuts, and Maple...mmmmmm!

Dutch Apple Pie

Nothing like smashing your index finger in a car door to set back blogging and pretty much everything else you do with your primary hand.  So, Deep Dish friends, let me keep this brief!

The Fall season is upon us and it’s definitely pie time.  Here are my top 8 recommendations for pies to enjoy this season in no particular order:

Pick one or two and go!  All recipes are free at www.piepals.com

Watch for the November “Pie Pals e-Newsletter,” coming soon, where you’ll get suggestions on how to make and freeze fruit pies for easy holiday desserts, info on the Slow Food movement, Q&A on tapioca in pies, and the recipe of the month.  Not already getting the newsletter?  Sign up here.

Here’s to cozy and sharing pie love with family and friends,

Rebecca,

Your Pie Pal

30
September
2013

"Pie Story," by Sandy Bryan, "Best of Show" Winner 2013

How I Got Hooked on the Pie Contest

STATE FAIR PIE CONTEST

By Sandy Bryan

Guest Blogger, Pie Pals

The State Fair Pie Contest is one of the most fun things in my year.  I got started years ago (1986) after a visit to the Torrance County Fair, where I visited the exhibit building and saw the Pie Contest entries on display with their ribbons.  There were only a few pies, of course, and I was fascinated to realize that there was a pie contest, that regular people brought their pies and entered the contest, and that they were awarded ribbons. 

I remember thinking, I could do that!  I wondered, where and when is the Bernalillo County Fair?  Then I realized that in Albuquerque we have the New Mexico State Fair.  I was a little daunted, but I found out where and when to enter, then baked a blueberry pie sweetened with maple syrup, and off I went.  I won a blue ribbon, and I was hooked!

The next year I baked a cherry pie with cherry brandy for Pie Contest.  I won a blue ribbon and Best of Show!  Now I was really hooked!  Since then I have entered every year except one, when a family emergency took priority.  Some years I have come away with a second or third place ribbon, and a couple of years ago I came back empty-handed for the first time. I realized that probably needed to happen at least once and accepted it as a part of the life of a hard core pie baker.

After the blueberry pie and cherry pie successes, I moved to another pie I liked, perfected that pie, eventually won a ribbon for it, then moved on to another pie.  I say eventually, because in some cases I’ve won a ribbon the first time I entered a particular pie category, and sometimes I went back two or three or more times. 

I recall my quest for the blue ribbon for pecan pie.  After the first time I entered and failed to garner a ribbon, a friend remarked to me that her neighbor had been the judge, and he was a fan of a very sweet pecan pie.  Well that’s okay, I don’t do that.  I went back the next year, and there was a different judge, who raved about the beautiful whole pecans in the winning pie.  My pecans were chopped. The next year, the judge went on about the way chopping the pecans releases the volatile nut oils, enhancing the wonderful flavor of the pie.  What to do!  Meanwhile, my loyal friends who served as pie tasters were going through the agonies with me!  What to do to get that ribbon for pecan pie?  Finally, on about the fifth or sixth year, I had my partner, a former precision machinist, come to my kitchen and cut each pecan half crosswise into four perfect pieces, mixed my filling, put it in the pie shell, then covered the top in concentric circles of pecan halves.  Whoever’s judging, here’s your pie!  I finally got my blue ribbon and moved on.  Thank goodness!

All this is to illustrate the trials and tribulations of a pie contest.  You really challenge yourself to do your best.  Sometimes you get a ribbon, sometimes you don’t.  It sure is fun!  I’ve involved the people in my daily life, giving ongoing updates on my research and test pies, having pie tastings to get their input.  Sometimes I’ll make a batch of pie filling, divide it into several parts and add different ingredients to different samples, then bake into mini-pies for side-by-side testing.  That’s one way to figure out what tastes best. 

After winning several ribbons, I challenged myself to see if I could win blue ribbons in every category.  This has meant developing skills in baking pies I’d never particularly considered, and it has widened my pie baking knowledge considerably.  Without meaning to, I’ve become an accomplished baker, far beyond where I was at the beginning. 

This is exactly what pie contest should do for all of us.  All it takes is stepping out and entering your first pie, and the road opens up before you.  Whether you win or not, you learn.  The judges give their critiques and often point out how to remedy the problem, so you know what to do next time. 

Probably the main thing a competitor needs to know, and what people complain to me about when the subject of pie baking comes up, is how to make a good crust.  Do that, and you’re on your way.  There’s lots of information available on every aspect of pie baking, whether you’re looking at your cookbook collection or searching on line.  No reason not to learn it, and do it, and dazzle your friends and wow the judges!

As for this year’s contest, I entered the “Tart” category for the second time.  Last year I won second place for a dazzling coconut tart.  This year I brought a Chocolate Coconut Tart that was inspired by a conversation with a friend about German chocolate cake.  The tart consisted of a pre-baked classic tart crust with a cooked bittersweet chocolate custard. This was topped with coconut and chopped pecans which had been tossed with a bit of melted butter.  The whole thing went into the oven just long enough to toast the coconut and pecans, and it was off to Pie Contest.  I was hoping for a blue ribbon, of course, and I got it.  And, joy of joys, it also got Best of Show!  I am over the moon!

People who come to Pie Contest see their comrade/competitors year after year. It’s a great sense of camaraderie.  And we cheer new entries to the group.  I’ll be back next year, of course.  I hope to see you there!

Sandy has won 13 blue ribbons and four Best of Show rosettes over the years at the New Mexico State Fair Pie Contest.

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