Superior pie-baking runs in my family though I didn’t inherit the skills my dad’s cousin had, nor those of my mother, her sister, or their mother.
My loyal daughers say they love my pies, and my granddaughter says mine are the world’s best! They’re OK, sometimes they even border on good, but they’re never as good as those made by my female ancestors — Cousin Pauline, Mother Neva, Aunt Dorothy, Grandma Agie.
My pies look like rabbits nibble the edges, then hop across the top.
The recipe on the Crisco label is my guide, although I add a dash of baking powder to the flour. Dad married another excellent pie-maker after my mother died — the baking powder was Martha’s hint.
Though I roll the crust firmly, gently, it never ends up a soft smoothed circle like my mom’s did. No matter how carefully I place the crust in the pan, I have to patch it with scraps of dough pasted in place with ice water. Every November, in spite of threatening to buy our Thanksgiving pies at the local bakery, or to use store-bought crusts, I always return to “from scratch.”
Last weekend, I decided to make the annual July Fourth blueberry pie to honor what would have been my dad’s 105th birthday. I used my little tin pie pan, halved the pastry recipe, but almost doubled the berries. I made my usual botched mess of the crust. But into the oven it went with foil wrapped lightly around the edges until the final few minutes.
I set the timer and headed to my desk. Two hours later, I returned to the kitchen. Why was the oven light on? OMG! MY PIE!
Yes, I’d set the timer, but I can’t hear it unless I’m in the kitchen! I expected to see a charred mess when I yanked the door open. It was slightly browner than usual, but not burned. I let it cool, stuck a little American flag in it, and we had it for dessert after our hamburgers/potato salad/corn-on-the-cob feast.
Best darned pie I’ve ever made! Martha Stewart would pooh-pooh me, but I think I’ve found the secret to a good pie: stick it in the oven and fuhgeddabodit.