I hope to share research, information, tips, and a little of my family history with others following the path to greater genealogical awareness. Let the search for enlightenment continue...

Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Little Slice of Heaven


A Recent Effort: Strawberry Pie
 (Original Image and Text, Copyright (c) 2011 Cynthia Shenette) My mother-in-law can whip up a homemade pie crust in less time than it takes me to get a frozen one out of the box.  As someone who's had more than my share of unfortunate crust mishaps, I can't tell you how much I admire her skill. Burnt edges, tough crusts, and soggy bottoms are my lot.  My mother-in-law's crusts are tender and flaky.  Perfect every time.  Whenever we visit there is almost always a pie of some sort cooling on the counter to be offered for dessert during our stay.  Strawberry rhubarb, cherry, apple, squash, and my favorite, blueberry.  Yum!

I love blueberry pie. No, I mean I REALLY love blueberry pie.  I've even been known to go blueberry picking at my in-laws' in the hope that my mother-in-law will make a blueberry pie upon my return.  Shameless?  Maybe.  Effective?  Definitely.  Not that I haven't made my share of blueberry pies.  Do you know the best part of making blueberry pie? Blueberry picking with my son. The funny thing is he doesn't like pie. He doesn't even like blueberries. I think he'll come around though. After all the love of pie is part of his genetic make up, kind of like his being Polish, Ukrainian, or French-Canadian. It's deep inside the DNA.

My mom made the world's best apple pie.  She used just the right amount of cinnamon and brushed the crust with a little bit of milk before popping it in the oven.  Is there anything that smells better than an apple pie baking in the oven on a cool fall day?  When Mom took the apple pie out of the oven, it was perfectly browned and slightly sparkly from the sugar she sprinkled on the top before baking. Despite my best efforts, I've never been able to get a pie to turn out the same way as my mother's.

While I love to eat pie at home I also love to try regional specialties when we travel.  A couple of years ago my family and I visited Lexington, KY, and I was pleasantly surprised by the delicious bourbon pecan pie offered on the hotel lunch buffet.  I was amused on the first day when the buffet server offered me hush puppies with my lunch.  I made the mistake of asking, "What's that?"  His response, "Where might y'all be visiting us from?"  Needless to say we bonded for the duration, especially when I kept coming back day after day for more hush puppies and yet another piece of that pecan pie.

While the bourbon pecan pie was yummy, I will say nothing can compare to my search for the best Key Lime pie in Key West.  I was on a mission.  I tried Key Lime pie everywhere.  Sometimes twice a day.  Frankly it was embarrassing.  I tried it all--the good, the bad, the so so.  The best was amazing.  A traditional tart Key Lime custard inside a chocolate cookie crust, with a thin layer of chocolate ganache on top, whipped cream and lime slice on the side.  I dream about that pie.

Once my husband and I were driving through the Arizona desert, giant cacti and desert as far as the eye could see.  The legendary, "middle of nowhere."  When we did return to small town civilization, we noticed what appeared to be a restaurant off to one side of the road and decided to stop for lunch.  When we walked in I was an awe.  Pie everywhere!  Chocolate, coconut cream, lemon meringue.  Cream pies, fruit pies.  There was a dessert-go-round thing filled with pies and a refrigerated counter case with pies.  Glass-covered cake stands lined the lunch counter.  It was like a pie oasis in the vast Sonoran Desert.  Over the years I've tried to find information on that pie place on the Internet, and every time without luck.  Neither my husband nor I remember the name of the place, and we don't remember exactly where it was located.  I've found a couple of places that seem like they might be the right one, but I'm just not sure.  Sometimes I wonder if it was all a lemon meringue mirage.

While I love fruit pies, cream pies, and custard pies, I love savory pies as well.  I love French-Canadian meat pie, tourtiere, during the Christmas season.  I love chicken pie, turkey pie, and Guinness pie from the Irish restaurant nearby.  On a slightly related note, can you guess my favorite Broadway musical?  Yep, Sweeney Todd.  How can you not love a tale of meat pie gone disturbingly wrong.  Maybe I am just a wee bit obsessed.

What's your favorite kind of pie?  Blueberries, raspberries, and peaches are in season.  Make a pie today.  You know you want to.  And when you do, don't forget to invite me over.  I'll just have a small piece, a sliver really.  Ice cream?  Sure.  Do I mind if you have a second piece?  No, not at all.  Go ahead.  You know you want to.  And while you're at it, could you cut another small piece for me?  Just a sliver, really...


Other Posts You Might Like:

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun...
Meditation: The Strength of Ordinary Women
Wordless Wednesday: Glorious Gladioli!
A Slice of Life: Confessions of a Lunch Box Trader

16 comments:

Carol said...

What, no cheese cakes?? Ya, they are really pies!

NUMMA NUMMA, I am cleaning drool off the keyboards! LOL

Greta Koehl said...

You describe the Pie Passion so well. Pie is one of the Perfect Foods. And as much as I love chocolate and other pudding-like gooey stuff, I think fruit pies are the best (I'm including cobblers, the cousins of pies, here as well). Peach pie. Apple pie. Berry pie. With cinnamon and sugar on the crust.

Joan said...

Straight to a pie-lovers heart. Ymmmm! My favorite of favorites is a deep dish apple pie, with a crisp crumbly topping --- and don't forget the dallop of ice cream on top

Kristin said...

I want a piece of PIE! One of my grandsons is a pie fanatic. I just like pie ;-)

Barbara Poole said...

What a nice sense of humor, I laughed the entire way through. You must have had fun writing this and the pen wouldn't stop, until you wrote abt. the last pie. Enjoy the blueberry pies, you can always have my slice.
Thanks for a great Sunday evening read.

Susan Clark (Nolichucky Roots) said...

Pie lovers of the world united! I'm in - esp. when it comes to the fruit pies. Give me an apple pie filled high with thinly sliced galas, jonathans, granny smiths, sprinkled with sugar and dotted with butter.

One tiny quibble - your key lime pie was the best in Key West, but the best key lime pie ever has a crust made of crushed gingersnaps. It, too, induces dreams.

Cynthia Shenette said...

Carol - I'm glad you enjoyed the post! I will admit, I'm not sure how I come down on the cheesecake thing. I see your point, but in my mind I kind of think they are different. The fruit pies and the cream pies are what really do it for me. Anyone else on the cheesecake/pie controversy?

Greta - The Pie Passion. Boy does that describe it! You are right. Pie definitely is one of the Perfect Foods. My all out favorites are the fruit pies as well, but I will say my mother-in-law make a chocolate pudding pie that's to die for. Thank you for your comment! It's nice to know there are other pie fanatics out there!

Cynthia Shenette said...

Thank you ladies for your comments!

Joan - What's deep-dish apple pie without ice cream? ;)

Kristin - I like your grandson already! Pie fanatics unite!

Barbara - "I'll be happy to take your slice," she says graciously. "I never turn down a piece of pie..." ;)

Susan - Frankly I'm surprised I missed the Key Lime pie with the ginersnap crust. Sounds delicious! Another reason to return to Key West...

Jasia said...

This is such a great post I'm thinking I should use "pies" as a COG topic by itself! (I'd credit you for the idea of course ;-) Someone else wrote about cakes and the same thing occurred to me. Why didn't I think of that? LOL!

I have never met a pie I didn't like and I've met some I just love. If you're ever visiting in my neck of the woods, be sure to check out my favorite lunch place... the Grand Traverse Pie Company. They do fabulous pies!

One of these days, I'll have to write about my mom's apple pie, the Polish version. It doesn't have a traditional pie crust but has very different sort. The recipe was passed down by my grandparents who owned a Polish bakery in Detroit. This pie's crust is a cross between a cookie and a cake. It's very, very good if you're in to non-traditional pies.

Thanks for a wonderful contribution to the COG!

Nancy said...

I love blueberry, I love apple, and I love pumpkin pie. You didn't mention eating them for breakfast, but I'm sure you do! Right?

Great post, Cynthia.

Cynthia Shenette said...

Jasia - Thank you for your nice comment! What is it about pie that seems to appeal to so many people? I think it would be a great COG topic! I remember a while back you posted a photo from the Grand Traverse Pie Company on your photo blog. They looked delicious! The Polish pie sounds interesting. I don't remember my grandmother making pies so much, but she LOVED fruit squares. I wonder if your Polish pie was kind of like that?

Cynthia Shenette said...

Nancy - Thank you so much for your nice comment! Pie for breakfast! What a good idea. Why didn't I think of that. Hmmm...

Bill West said...

When it comes to pies, nothing will ever taste better to me than the homemade lemon meringue pie my Grandaunt Frances and her sister Katy made. It was served with a scoop of their homemade vanilla ice cream. Best. Pie. Ever!

Great post, Cynthia!

Cynthia Shenette said...

Bill - Thank you for your comment! If you have your grandaunt's recipe do send it my way! Lemon meringue is also one of my favorites. When we were on vacation a couple of weeks ago lemon meringue was on the hotel lunch buffet. Let just say I visited the buffet more than once...

ancestral archaeologist said...

Heehee, now you've got the Sweeney Todd soundtrack playing in my head: "More pie! More! Pie!"

Also: Sour cherry pie. I'm thinking of it now.

Cynthia Shenette said...

Ancestral Archeologist,

I can hear the songs in my head too, "We'll serve anyone at all..."

Sour cherry sounds good, BTW. I read a recipe recently that mixes sweet and sour cherries together in one pie. I haven't tried it yet, but it sounds delicious!

Thank you for your comment!