Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The addictive nature of pie...

Late last night after work, I had to make a trip to the grocery store. For those who don't know me, you should know I really enjoy shopping for groceries. I especially enjoy going to new (to me) stores to see what they offer. If I could figure out a way to combine grocery shopping, ministry, and watching football, I would have created the perfect job. With it being the holiday season, I found myself in the frozen foods section, staring at the now large display of pies.

As I stood there, contemplating the benefits of pumpkin pie over apple, I began to wonder about the addictive nature of pies in general. Without a doubt, there are good and bad pies. When you get a good pie, you know it. When I find a place that serves good pie, I will continue to frequent that restuarant, sometime just for the pie. I think my fondness is rooted in the pies my great grandmother would cook for each Christmas. Our family tradition was to go out to Bridgewater, SD, and attend Christmas Eve service with our extended family. After church, everyone would pile into my great grandmother's house for oyster stew and pie. I usually skipped the stew (never been a big fan of oysters) and saved myself for what I knew was a once a year eating experience. My great granmother cooked a blue ribbon quality blueberry pie. She cooked many other pies, but it was the blueberry I was after. I could always get pumpkin somewhere else, especially during Thanksgiving. The key to the pie was the crust. I'm not sure all the steps she took, but she had a crust light enough that it would melt in your mouth. I know it was made with real lard, which is from what I am told, the key to a good crust. One piece was always enough, to eat two was to risk diabetic shock or heart stoppage. It was the best pie I have ever had.

So I find myself looking at these frozen pies, wondering about the last time I had pie. Since I moved to the Twin Cities, I'm not sure that I've had pie. I've found Cafe Latte, who make excellent deserts, but no pies. I've been to quite a number of restuarants, but no pie. I know I've had a few bites at Baker's Square in the past few year, but nothing that sticks out in my memory. So if you know of good pie places, drop me a note.

I did end up with a couple of pies in my cart. That will be my contribution to wherever I end up for Thanksgiving later this week. I suspect it will be at my future in-laws, which presents a challenge. My future father in law is what I would call a food inventor. He used to invent desserts that came to be served in places like Red Lobster (the Key Lime Pie for instance was one of his creations). So the expectations are a bit higher there than most other places. So rather than the lower end, I splurged for the high end frozen pies, one apple, and one pumpkin. Hopefully they will pass muster. I don't have the time (or skill) to make them by hand. Hand made is the way to go if you want the best and most fresh pie, but frozen will have to work this year.


Pumpkin Pie

1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 eggs
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
1 1/4 cups milk
1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together white sugar, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon. When these ingredients are well mixed, stir in the eggs followed by the pumpkin and milk. Transfer mixture to the pie crust.
3. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 1 1/2 hours, or until a toothpick inserted into the pie comes out clean. Cool before serving.

Add Whip Cream or Cool Whip to taste. Ice cream especially cinnamon ice cream, can be a great compliment. Home made ice cream is the best if you have the time. This is of course just a simple pie recipe, and you can modify/improve as your taste buds see fit.

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