Pie Addict’s First National Pie Day 2015

Today is National Pie Day in America, and it is the first National Pie Day for The Pie Addict! As always there’s so much I want to do and STILL have to do to truly become the Pie Master I hope to be, so what project to plan this weekend in honor of National Pie Day 2015! hmmm…

My goal as I’ve stated before in this journey was to master making fruit pies, then on to cream pies and finally make my way to savory meat pies like chicken and beef pot pies. My daughter has eagerly sought to influence my decisions as to what pie should come next and being that I am still engaged in the ‘fruit pie’ phase of the plan she has vehemently opted for a Strawberry Pie every waking chance she gets. I have countered her ‘demands’ with a short and direct ‘Summer time’ answer, although I am leaning more and more towards maybe trying to throw a Strawberry Pie together only because a special moment like National Pie Day DEMANDS special sacrifices!

The Strawberry Pie recipe at Try Anything Once has caught my eye, and it may well be the one I will tackle come the weekend, but before I move this direction I’d like to know what others are thinking for National Pie Day 2015? What’s YOUR big pie baking project for this special weekend?

As American as Apple Pie… American IS as American DOES!

Sorry, I let my ‘terrible’ half get the better of me just now. It’s just that after having just read this nonsensical piece by Nathan Heller titled PIE: It’s gloppy, it’s soggy, it’s un-American, my initial reaction after having muddled through this ridiculous argument was to put it mildly, not for the feint of heart. However, I have taken a step back and now as my blood pressure slowly levels out, am ready to respond to such pointlessness.

History Tells Us…

As American as Apple Pie. If you’ve been around any length of time you have probably heard this statement at one point or another. Well, Heller goes on this historical tirade arguing that pie is NOT American at all, but in fact originated from ‘across the pond’ so-to-speak and we essentially ‘adopted’ it as our own here in America. I hate to put anything from Heller’s article on my blog but to belabor my point:

Pie is an interloper trading on a false history and a tangle of confusion about its cultural role. Its past is unremarkable and un-American. As you may recall from your middle-school history books, many accoutrements of Western life first appeared in Egypt and then spread to the Romans via Greece. Prophylactics are a notable example. Pie is another one. The pies of the ancients, rather than being oozing desserts, were combinations of savory foods baked in a pot made of tough dough. (In our evolutionary tree of Western cooking, pies, tellingly, share a branch with the most hit-or- missof all edible things, the casserole.) This crust-pot baking method spread through Europe and gained popularity through the Middle Ages, since the dough shell, called a bake-meat (later, just as appetizingly, a coffin), allowed meats to stew without losing moisture. It also helped seal off the meal and slow down spoilage. “For hundreds of years,” Janet Clarkson points out in her jaunty account of pie development, Pie: A Global History, “it was the only form of baking container—meaning everything was pie.” Pie culture grew with the advent of modern pastry dough during the 16th century, at which point cooks in more ambitious kitchens started to experiment with sweeter fillings. (Queen Elizabeth is said to have eaten some of the first fruit pies.) This is the true origin of our pie tradition. Early apple pies weren’t American and sweet at all. They were unsugared, tough, and manufactured by the British.

pie-historyWhat is American? America, is a land of IMMIGRANTS. IMMIGRANTS who migrated from every corner of the planet. IMMIGRANTS who have brought with them their traditions, their culture, their language…THEIR FOOD! THIS IS AMERICA MR. HELLER!! The country is a patchwork everything planet Earth has to offer. That is the beauty of the country! Everything that we are is from somewhere else!

So just because you find pie very ‘foreign’ doesn’t make it any less American, and I’m sure there are millions who would back that notion up.

The Great Thing About Food

In the end, the great thing about food, especially in America, is that there is such a HUGE variety of it. We are fortunate enough to have access to many great dishes and recipes from around the world right here within the U.S. and NO other country can boast such a claim. So if Mr. Heller detests pie that’s his choice, but BOOOO on him! He’s got me so upset I’m going DEVOUR a warm slice of BLACKBERRY PIE just to spite him!

Mini Peach Pie Recipe

I don’t know if it’s because I’m suffering through the cold winter days or just plain love the smell of peaches, but I have been on a peach pie kick since the beginning of these chilly days in Boise. But since I’ve already tackled my Winter peach pie I figured I give my mini pie dishes a whirl now with a mini peach pie recipe from For the Love of Cooking.

You know how it is when you get a new ‘toy’ and how anxious you are to play with it? Yea well that’s how it was with me and the set of four mini pie dishes I received for Christmas from the wife.

To tell the truth, I really wanted to throw together a 9-inch pie, and actually ended up talking myself into making mini pies, but am I glad I did. Making and baking a mini pie is a little different than baking a regular sized 9-inch dish, and there are certainly things I learned on this first attempt that I’ll share below.

Ready…Let’s Do This!

Again, this was my first attempt so I opted for a relatively simple mini peach pie recipe. I scoured my favorite resource – Pinterest, and happened upon the recipe listed on For The Love of Cooking.

Although the original recipe called for a lattice pie top, since this was only going to get ‘devoured’ by yours truly, a regular pie top would do. Quickly and now almost effortlessly, I whipped together my flaky buttered pie crust and got started on mixing together the ingredients for the pie filling.

Quick Funny Note

I originally was going to throw together a berry pie of some sort, maybe another raspberry or blackberry, but when I ran to the local grocer to grab a few bags of the frozen fruit, the only thing on ‘sale’ were the frozen peaches, so long story short, I chose those. My 9yr. old daughter was accompanying me at the time, and so when my wife asked why I decided on peaches, my daughter belched out… ‘THEY WERE ON SALE!’

Anyways, per the recipe, I kicked on the oven to 350 degrees, and threw together the now ‘thawed’ peaches, white and brown sugar, cornstarch, vanilla and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl. Then I gently mixed the ingredients.

I rolled out my pie crust, and used the mini pie dishes, turned upside down to cut out enough round shapes to create top and bottom pie crust for 4 mini pie dishes. Positioning and pressing the bottom pie crusts firmly into the mini pie dishes, I then scooped enough peach filling to fill each of the 4 mini pie dishes.

pie-crust

Slapping on the pie crust tops, cutting a few vents and sprinkling a little nutmeg, cinnamon and sugar, I slid the four pies into the oven. I didn’t have any eggs on hand when I made the pies so I couldn’t egg wash them like I wanted but next time for sure.

I baked the pies for the 30 minutes or so, but since the top crust hadn’t browned I actually ended up keeping the pies in for at least 40 minutes give or take a few. Juice had started to bubble from the vents and some from the edges, so out they came.

Fabulous! The pies tasted wonderful, although maybe baking a little over, bubbled out more of the juices than I would of originally wanted, so although not ‘dry’ there wasn’t much juice which was kind’ve a downer. But even more than the taste (surprisingly), was the mere fact that the mini pies were THE perfect portion. Scarfing one down was no different than having a slightly larger than normal slice from a 9 inch dish.

finished-pie

What I’ll Do Different Next Time

Some things I will do differently next time around…

  • Egg wash. I originally wasn’t BIG on egg wash. Not that I didn’t like it but that it didn’t bother me much whether the crust was brown or not. Over the last several months of baking however, I have come to appreciate a nicely browned and golden pie crust. Now I can hardly do without it!
  • More juice. This may be more of a result of baking the pie beyond the stated 30 minutes and having some of the juice bubble out but it may be because I just didn’t have much juice to begin with. In any case, I like juice, fruit pies are juicy, and that’s just the way it is!
  • Different Filling. Lastly, as I mentioned above, I initially wanted to do a mini blackberry or raspberry pie recipe, as I am feeling after this first experience that maybe a smaller fruit for the filling would produce more juice? I don’t know for sure so I’ll have to try it out and let you know!

Here is the recipe I used on For The Love of Cooking