Posted on

The Education of and “In Honor of Pie as Art”….

Inviting folks wandering around Traverse City to stop by the Art-Off and Pie Social at Right Brain Brewery on Saturday, June 11th, 3-6 PM….and….

…re-sharing my writing about the honorable pie, from last year’s Summer Solstice musings:

“….The thing about a pie crust is the way it feels. Pie crust, ingredients combined with human hands, becomes a living thing. And, like any other living thing and with the human who’s hands mix, shape and roll it out; it breathes. If there is no breath, there is no life or goodness going into that pie. And then, what is the point?

Pie therapy. A way to bring life. as I know it, back into balance. Much needed, as always, in this present moment. All lists of this and that are inconsequential. Conversations and tellings cease. A gathering of ingredients, an open-space with elbow room. Counter tops at the proper height. Pie as art, and in the making. Ahh….I’m feeling I’m in the right place for pie-making, and it’s been a very long time.

What does making and baking pie have to do with “community”? This is not a hard question for me to answer. Everyone, and I mean everyone, wants a slice of the pie. Unless it’s mincemeat, of course. Cake is over-rated, and been capitalized on. Wedding and birthday cakes are the products of the Hallmark Card Holiday propaganda. Before there was even the thought of Marie Antoinette and her nasty attitude about filling the masses on cake, there was pie. Pie is the wise guiding and just-so grandmother and ancient one. (Truthfully, I only bake a chocolate or cardamom cake when absolutely necessary.)

Pies happen often. The pies I bake are ceremonial. There is a real and unspoken need for them. My pies have taught me their purpose; to be shared and eaten with intention and reverent thanks. A crust carefully concocted with a filling inspired; binds those sitting round it. Around it and within it, as it were.

Sometimes it feels right to make declarations, once you realize them. And, so I’ll make two: I’m not a kitchen witch. Like many good women before me, I’m a pie witch. And like this Summer Solstice day, and this pie-making endeavor I’m embarking on, it seems good energy is coming into balance already.

As I tie on my grandmothers’ purple checked and cross-stitched Cinderella apron, I wonder out loud to my son, will this new heat box do it’s part? How many pies can I fit in this tiny tot of an easy-bake oven? He wanders in and out of our little kitchen as I work. These rituals have been going on for most of his twenty-something life, and it gives me a mama-thrill that he is here with me now, on the longest day of this year, to witness, and to later partake.

My pies are created for artistic delight, well-being, and, for love. And sharing is essential. Eating a pie alone is like trying to take over the world. Pies are not for selfish eaters. I pity the fools who have mocked and perverted pies in Hollywood movies. Like pie therapy, there is also pie karma. So, if you live alone, I suggest you think about the sharing part well in advance of rolling out the crust. I myself schedule one or two “Pie Socials” each year for a larger, community gathering and pie-healing through my O’k CSAe bizness.

In my new little oven, I was able to bake four; one big mama, two little pot pies, and a turnover. Good even heat, not much bubbling over. Pulled out and cooling 40 minutes later, shared with my family and with our new neighbors.

Sometimes, I also share the recipe, when the traditional one I’ve followed in my falling apart Joy of Cooking cookbook, has been properly altered and I can call it my own, expecting someone will soon alter mine. The filling always depends on the goods you have, and what is calling out to your pie-making sensibilities. This is what called out to me, and turned out to be a lovely, slightly tart pie filled with mostly deep, red burgundy, with a smattering of dark blue and purple….”

Summer Solstice & Almost Full-Moon Pie

2 cups fresh rhubarb diced
1 cup fresh strawberries, whole
1 cup berries: blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, mulberries — whatever is in season; or frozen, any combination
2 Tablespoons of dried elderberries
1/2 cup sugar or sweetener
4 Tablespoons flour
1/2 Tablespoon orange juice
1/2 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Combine above ingredients, let sit for 15 minutes.

Mix up crust:
3 cups flour
1/2 to 3/4 cup butter, properly chilled
1/2 tsp sea salt
3/4 cup very cold water

Once the crust ingredients are mixed, maybe a little crumbly still, but mostly wet and softly-breathing…put the pie crust bowl into the refridge to chill for 10 minutes more. Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees.

Roll cold crust, fill with your lovely filling, lay at least 6 chunks of butter on top of filling, roll out top crust, cut your signature design on the top, sprinkle with a bit of sugar and put it in the oven.

Bake ten minutes at 425, then turn the oven down to 350 degrees. Usually another 30 minutes check to see if the filling is bubbling. Let it bubble out a few more minutes, before removing it from the oven.