I didn’t know until a couple of weekends ago that I was a pie snob. OK, here is why my friend and I have declared, “We are pie snobs.” We only like our pies. You see, we both use my mother’s piecrust recipe. It is the best, or at least my friend and I believe it is.
Several months ago, her daughter found what was claimed to be the best piecrust ever. She told her mother to try it. Her mother did, and it wasn’t nearly as good as Mom’s. “I’ll never switch recipes again,” my friend said.
Many years ago, at one of the first Fair Grove festivals, a large, green National Guard tent was erected west of the old bank building that houses Hilltop Pizza. The first few festivals were held toward the end of October, and the weather that time of year is cold. That weekend it was cold.
A church or civic group was selling different types of food, which included homemade desserts. One of the desserts was a blackberry or raspberry pie. Tina, who was about 7 years old, wanted a piece of the berry pie. I could tell by looking at it that it wouldn’t taste a thing like mine, and I told Tina. “But I want a piece,” she said.
During those years we lived paycheck to paycheck. We didn’t foolishly spend a dime that was not necessary. I told Tina, “If we buy you a piece of that pie, you have to eat it.”
“Oh, I will,” she promised. She took one bite, and made a terrible face. “This isn’t good.”
“I told you.” Her dad had to eat it.
Also many years ago, while attending the annual ice cream social, a woman insisted that Terry buy a piece of her gooseberry pie. It pretty well puckered him up. Not nearly enough sugar. Of course Terry never let on. Apparently she preferred her gooseberry pie to be on the sour side.
The Fair Grove Sunshine Club members went to a tearoom-type place that was known for its apple pies. An entire pie was purchased, and after we ate our noon meal, the pie was sliced so we could each have a sample. We were quite disappointed. The apples were not even tender, and not enough sugar had been added.
The other pie snob in this column made a cherry pie for a luncheon I attended. It was really good. “Is that almond I’m tasting?” I asked. Yes, she uses about a quarter teaspoon. I also use almond flavoring in my berry pies. And her pie filling had just the right amount of sweetness. So good!
The problem with being a pie snob, I have made my family pie snobs. We tolerate pie prepared by others or purchased at area restaurants, but they prefer my pie.
Is it that my pies are that much better? I don’t know. Terry thinks we like my pies, my waffles, my cornbread, my mac and cheese, my potato salad made from Mom’s recipe, and whatever else because that is what we are accustomed to.
He hangs onto this theory because of a dill pickle he and I were invited to taste. Slim and Jewell Crouse lived next door to us when we lived right there in Fair Grove, along Mo. 125. They raised a big garden, which included lots of cucumbers. She made her family’s favorite dill pickles, and she thought we would like them. Terry and I thought they tasted awful, but Slim and Jewell thought they were delicious.
An Amish fellow made the cabinets for our current house. Because the Amish don’t drive or have telephones, I had to drive to their house to discuss the cabinets. One of the times I arrived at their house, the Amish fellow’s wife had just finished a batch of cheese. She gave me a fairly large taste. Again, it was awful, but of course I never let on. They loved it. I brought a little bit of it home so Terry could taste it. He thought it was awful, too.
Mom’s piecrust is made using 3 cups of flour, 1 1/3 cups shortening (you can use butter for a portion of this amount), a pinch of salt, 1 cup ice water and 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar.
Cut the shortening/butter mixture into the flour, then add the remaining ingredients and mix until it forms a smooth dough. Refrigerate at least an hour, or overnight for ease in handling. I have been told that you should barely mix piecrust and that it gets tough if you mix it too much. I disagree. I use a KitchenAid mixer. It does an excellent job.
Fruit pie recipe: 2 cups of fruit, 1 cup sugar, 2 teaspoons tapioca and a few drops of almond flavoring. Bring to a boil and put in a bottom crust dotted with butter. Put on a top crust, making sure you leave bubble holes in it. I make a lattice-type crust, like my mother always made. Seal the edges, and bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes, and 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove pie to the counter and allow to cool until ready to eat.
My apple crisp in a crust pie is made by cooking until fork tender 6 or 7 peeled and sliced apples, 1 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water. Season with cinnamon, if desired. Generously dot the bottom pie shell with butter, add the hot apples, and sprinkle with a mixture of 1/2 cup oatmeal, 1/2 cup dark brown sugar and 1/2 cup pecan pieces over the apples. Lattice a few crust strips over the top and seal the edges. Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes, then 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Serve warm with a scoop of ice cream. This is delicious.
Try my mother’s piecrust recipe and become a pie snob.