Baby don’t you cry
Gonna make a pie
Gonna make a pie with a heart in the middle

Baby don’t be blue
Gonna make for you
Gonna make a pie with a heart in the middle

Gonna be a pie from heaven above
Gonna be filled with strawberry love

Baby don’t you cry
Gonna make a pie
And hold you forever in the middle of my heart.

-Quincey Coleman, from the movie Waitress

So! One of my goals for this year, before I turn 40, is to become a master pie-maker. My mother is reknown for her amazing pies. She makes the best pies I’ve ever tasted, possibly only bested by my uncle, her brother. She’s the queen of fruit pies; my uncle makes the best merangue. It’s a toss up. A delicious, delicious toss up.

So far, none of my sisters nor I have taken up the pie-making mantle. I am not a good cook, but I do love to bake, and I’d really love to be able to make a pie that’s almost as good as my mom’s. So this year, it’s going to happen.

I’ve decided that to get proper pratice in, I should make a pie about once a week, give or take. Unfortunately, the kids are alien freaks who all HATE pie. It’s not even like it’s their least favourite dessert or that they’d prefer cake. It’s like, WORSE THAN BRUSSEL SPROUTS.

I know! I only hope that they take me with them when their mothership arrives.

So I expect to have a lot of pie to give away this year. Let me know if you’d like to be a taste tester/guinea pig, and if you have some draw-string pants ready to go, I’ll sign you up for the program.

This week I kicked things off with a simple double-crust apple pie. This is my mother’s signature pie, like seriously, her apple pies are a giant slice of heaven. More like two slices of heaven. Okay, okay, three, but I definitely have to stop after that.

So nothing like aiming high or anything. Sheesh.

Here’s my pie. Sorry for the half-eaten state. Sir Monkeypants and I have only seven days to get through this one! We had to act quickly!

apple pie

I should mention here that since the kids totally hate pie, I haven’t made more than a couple of pies in my life. So for an almost-first try, I’d say this pie was not bad. The filling (Empire apples with a little sugar and cinnamon) is very good. I’d give it a B+.

The crust, however, needs some work. It’s a little too heavy and unevenly rolled, although still edible (and better than a lot of cafeteria pies I’ve had, although I guess that isn’t saying much). I made this one with two cups cake and pastry flour (my mom says it’s a must) and 2/3 cup lard (don’t tell my mom, since she is dedicated to Crisco, but the Captain lately seems to be developing a sensitivity to Crisco and I was really hoping he’d try this pie). Also, the edges are a little well done but I could not for the life of me figure out how to “tent with tin foil” as described in the recipe. The tin foil kept squishing the pastry and wouldn’t stay on and eventually the pie started to fall apart so I panicked and put it in the oven as-is.

So overall, I give the crust a C. Although it definitely does not seem to stop us from eating it.

Last night we tried very hard to have the kids try the pie. Gal Smiley helped me with the filling so she was fairly eager to try out her work, but spat out the one bite she tried and declared it to be terrible.


The Captain was even worse, to the point of hilarity. When we told him he had to try the pie, he cried and cried. He was terrified of the horrible, scary, pie. Full of totally disgusting things like SUGAR and APPLES. GROSS.

We were so convinced, though, that he would love it (because it’s PIE, HELLO) if only he tried one little bit that eventually we forced a small bit through his clenched teeth, and eventually he stopped weeping long enough to declare that the pie was, “Okay, maybe,” and then went on to have at least five or six more bites before moving it back to the “totally gross” category.

But hey, progress towards BEING HUMAN, so that’s good!

I’m sure I’ll be trying the apple pie again, and often, this year, but in the meantime, I’m in the hunt for next week’s selection.

Yum, pie!

31 thoughts on “Pie

  1. I will gladly consume your pie for the sake of research (O.k that sounded a little dirty! LOL)

    I am also trying to become an expert pie maker. My Grandmother is the ‘renowned’ pie maker in my family I’m hoping I can be as skilled as her someday. I have found that lard does make a better pie crust and that a food processor also helps. Its also recommended that you use ice cold water and refridgerate the dough for a bit before rolling and baking it.

    Other than that..practice and patience are your best friends. (Its hard not to fly off the handle though when the whole kitchen is covered in flour and the damn dough doesn’t behave properly. LOL)

    1. I think maybe my water wasn’t cold enough — next time I’ll try the refrigerator trick. I think you and I should trade pies and tips this year…by the end we’ll be able to open our own pie shop!

  2. I loved that movie.

    I don’t make pie. My mother never made pie. My grandmother never made pie, so it isn’t really in my genes. But I happily eat pie. And would be more than happy to be a taste tester. And I could bring the jellybean, who is a lover of pie (let’s face it, he is a lover of anything desert). He could be the “bad” influence on the kids!

  3. SirMonkeyPants

    Some people at lunch were interested in the taste testing possibiltities. I believe one even asked me “Do you know how fat you’re getting?”

    1. I almost brought you some apple yesterday morning but I thought it would be weird to show up with a random slice of pie. If next week’s is edible I’ll bring it over!

  4. My kids hate most pies, too, though they do seem to like pumpkin pie for some reason. Perhaps it’s the whipped cream on top.

    When I make apple pies I use a mix of 2 or 3 different kinds of apples. I just find it makes the flavour & texture a bit more interesting.

    If you can’t figure out how to tent foil around the edges (it is a pain to do, after all) you can buy a metal ring that you can place over the edges of the pie plate. I wait to put the ring on when the pies are about 1/2-way through baking. That’ll make sure the edges are nice and brown, but not overdone.

    I second hannah78’s suggestion you use ice cold water. I also refrigerate for a bit before rolling, and when making multiple pies I put the dough in the fridge whenever I’m busy making filling or doing other stuff.

    Oh man, I distinctly remember on one of my first attempts at making pie, phoning my mother in tears because the damned dough just would not behave. I think I forgot the water needed to be cold that time. I’m a good pie-maker now, if I do say so myself.

    1. Yes, you have just described this week’s pie making event. It was just me and Gal Smiley and a LOT of swearing and tears. If only stress was a critical ingredient in pie, I’d be a master!

      I’ll look around for a crust ring. My recipe from this week suggested tenting first, then removing the tent for the second half. Do you find it is better to cover for the second half instead? Hm.

  5. I love pies and it is one of the things I want to be able to get good at, as I am pretty good at eating them now. My husband would love it, if I could make a good pie.

    My mom never made crusts as she and my dad were convinced they were never as good as my grandma’s, so she bought crusts and made fillings. I am now terrified of pie crust making! One pie I would like to learn how to make well for my dad would be flapper pie. It has been two decades since he had his aunt’s, so there is not much to compare mine too!

    1. I had to look up flapper pie — I had never heard of it before. It sounds yummy and the graham cracker crust sounds AWESOME — no pastry rolling! I’ll put this one on my list.

  6. It does take practice to roll out the crust properly, but it’s totally achievable. I don’t put tinfoil over the crust – I cook it at 450 F for the first 10 minutes to brown it, then turn the oven down to cook the rest.

    My basic fruit pie recipe is:
    1 tbsp minute tapioca on the bottom of the pan (to soak up some of the juice so your crust doesn’t get soggy)
    Cut up fruit (until the pan is heaping)
    1/4 cup sugar sprinkled on top
    Cinnamon or nutmeg (if appropriate for the type of fruit you have)
    A little butter cut up on top (I think to help the crust brown, but I’m not sure)

    Lard does make a flakier dough than shortening – it has to do with the melting temperature.

    1. Hmmm…interesting tip about the tapioca. I think this might also help the filling to not be so runny for certain kinds of pie. Does it affect the taste at all?

  7. So far, none of my sisters nor I have taken up the pie-making mantle

    Um, clearly you haven’t experienced LitteSis’ cherry or lemon meringue pie. I’d go so far as to say that LitteSis’ lemon is better than mom’s. Probably not true for the cherry, which I think is mom’s best. However, I haven’t had a LitteSis cherry in a while, so maybe she’s catching up.

    Hey, good news! Apples don’t seem to bother me anymore. At least, not raw apples, so next chance I get, I’ll be sampling some baked apples to see what happens.

    1. Okay, I have to admit I just assumed that LittleSis did not do the pie thing because she always tells me she hates baking. I’ll have to talk her into making us a pie…sometime…maybe in three or four years because I hear she is a little busy these days :).

      I’m totally afraid of meringue. Those kind of pies will definitely be way, way down my list. I think I will stick with fruit pies for a while.

    1. Since the kids continue to hate pie, I guess I’ll mix it up with the lard versus Crisco and see what I think. Next time I’m heading downtown I’ll make a vegetarian one for you :).

  8. My advice also with the crust: stick with lard… it makes a better crust and is so much easier to work with (and frankly, better for you than shortening if there is anything really “good for you” in crust).

    Wish I was in Ottawa to do some taste-testing too!

  9. Shyla

    Totally funny about the kids and pie eating! I laughed out loud.
    I was told that commercial pie crust (I think Pillsbury) has caught up with homemade pie crust making and even the most die-hard bakers now use commercial pie crust. I like the ease of use.
    Wish I were close enough to help with the taste testing.

  10. I love pie more than any other sweet type thing. It’s hard to find good pie, though. I would offer to take some pies off your hands regularly, but you’d have to stop making them with pig fat. My favourite is cherry….I’m just sayin’

    1. Oooh, the cherry pie is a tough one. It’s another specialty of my mother’s — in fact, FameThrowa says her cherry is better than her apple — but I personally don’t like it! It’s probably the only pie my mom makes that I don’t enjoy.

      How about a nice blueberry?

  11. Shyla

    OMG! Love the blueberry pie! I always make a blueberry pie when I visit my brother Terry in Maine, with of course, commercial, frozen pie crust! It’s a hit! Even with my parents (non-dessert eating people)!
    Will definitely have to visit now (with the promise of pie)!
    Holy comments Batman! You’ve certainly hit a popular topic!

  12. I had to click through from my reader to see how many offers you had for pie testers! Too funny!

    Lemon meringue was the favorite of my dad (who died last year this time), so will always have a special place in my heart. Also, we just discovered that, while Simon can’t eat the crust (wheat allergy), he can eat the lemon filling AND the meringue. 2 out of 3 isn’t too bad!

    Back to the testing… Why not make your four pies for the month all at once and invite US ALL over? Sounds fun.

    To me.

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