I grew up with a mother who made magical cakes. People all over town would hire my mom to make cakes for birthdays, retirements, special occasions. She made towering wedding cakes, and funny over-the-hill cakes, and beautiful princess cakes too.
The problem was that I didn’t like cake. You see, I am firmly on the side of pie.
I loved all kinds of pies—lemon meringue, chocolate pie with whipped cream, tart cherry. I love pie from tired diners, and homemade bake sales, and those cafeteria-style restaurants where you pulled slices from an assembly line of other technicolor pies. I’ll take pie over ice cream, over candy bars, and yes, over cake.
With such an affection for pie, you might wonder why I’ve never learned to make them for myself. That’s not to say I have never made a pie, per se. No, no, no, I have made many pumpkin pies that follow—exactly—the directions on the back of the pumpkin puree can. I’ve endeavored to make my mother-in-law’s beloved Derby Pie a handful of times (with a pre-made crust of course). But those pies felt too easy and they lacked the spirit I’ve come to appreciate in a proper pie (i.e. a meringue crust so thick and firm your spoon disappears inside it).
I know enough to know that perfect pie dough is illusive (yet precious!), so I’ve largely left it up to the professionals (whose pies I consume, rapturously). All the same, I feel that if someone comes to my home, the least I can do is serve them pie that will delight them even half as much. For the next little while, I’m rolling up my sleeves and putting some work into learning more about something that brings me so much joy.
There are bound to be some glorious fails, so come and sit at my virtual table until my pies are edible enough to invite you to join me at my actual table.