Thursday, September 19, 2013

Pie Remnants

I am no expert on pie making. I think if I made a pie more often I could master creating the crust from scratch but it would never taste like my grandmother's. Her idea of mixing ingredients for a pie crust was a pinch of this and a dash of that and lard was always cut into the sifted flour with a knife. She was a Master Maker of Pies-berry, raisin, mincemeat, strawberry-rhubarb, and of course, pumpkin and apple.

It didn't have to be a holiday for pies to be in her oven. You knew the minute you walked in the door if she was baking. That sweet aroma was all through the house. And it didn't end there for once the pies were cooling-she'd gather the remnants of crust dusted with flour sitting on the counter and roll them into one ball of spongy dough with her hands. Then she'd roll the dough out with her wooden rolling pin-and cut through the dough with a cookie cutter-and repeat the process until all the dough had been recycled into shapes and those shapes were lying on a pan waiting to be baked. That didn't take very long. And it didn't take long for them to disappear once out of the oven. No one walking through that kitchen could resist having a few of the piping hot tarts. Served with jam or cinnamon or sugar, they were always anticipated after the pies were baked.

Another variation of that basic tart was to spoon a little jam into the center of the cut-out pie crust. Then the sides would be folded in, covering up the jam, before baking until the crust turned a golden bronze. Pulling them out of the oven, the jam would be oozing out onto the baking sheet which made them all the more tempting with a glass of milk or cup of coffee.

Funny how something as simple as a small tart made of leftover spongy pie crust and sweetened even more by jam or cinnamon or sugar can taste so absolutely delicious. I think it was really all about that kitchen and who was rolling out the dough and baking the pies and tarts-with a pinch of this and a dash of that of course!

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