National Pie Day - January 23rd

It's worthwhile to remember these two quotes:


When you die, if you get a choice between going to regular heaven or pie heaven, choose pie heaven. It might be a trick, but if it's not, mmmmmmmm, boy.”  -- Jack Handy


And, in response to the suggestion that pie every day might be gluttony and 2 slices of pie per week enough..:


"It is utterly insufficient...as anyone who knows the secret of our strength as a nation and the foundation of our industrial supremacy must admit. Pie is the American synonym of prosperity, and its varying contents mark the calendar of the changing seasons. PIE IS THE FOOD OF THE HEROIC. No pie-eating people can ever be vanquished.'" --  New York Times, 1902

My birthday is near, but unfortunately not on National Pie Day.   My dear mother, pie baker extraordinaire,  knows how much I love pie and made me a fantastic Michigan cherry pie for my birthday.  I get to have one of my favorite treats, pie for breakfast, this morning. 


Today would be an excellent day to make a pie. I always use:


Gramma Bayer's (Never-Fail) Pie Crust Recipe:

Makes at least 3 single crusts, more if you roll it out thinner


3 C. flour

pinch salt

1 1/2 C. cold butter (3 sticks), cut in 1/2" pieces*

5 T. ice water

1 T. vinegar

1 egg


Stir together flour and salt in a large bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs - largest no bigger than a pea.  In a separate bowl, whisk together ice water, vinegar and egg. Pour this over the flour mixture in a circle. Use a large fork to stir the dough until it just holds together in a shaggy ball.  Pat dough into a ball, handling it as little as possible and keeping it as cool as possible. 


At this point, most recipes say to rest the dough at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator but I'm often in too much of a hurry. I find it still works. :)  Either way, my mom's technique is to take a piece of dough (about 1/3 for one crust)  and pat it into a coherent disk on a well-floured pastry cloth. Flour the rolling pin cover/sock thingy to prevent sticking also. And roll to the size you need. 


*Gram always used Crisco to make her dough, but I've switched for taste and health(!) to using all butter.  This makes the dough a little harder to handle. Half Crisco and half butter is probably the best compromise for taste and handling. 


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The American Pie Council suggests celebrating National Pie Day with Random Acts of Pieness including:


- Share pie.  Whether you make or buy pie, share it.  By its very nature, pie is meant to be eaten with others. 


- Delight your family.  Share the love and share your favorite memories together over a warm, fresh pie.  Have older family members talk about the history behind the family favorites.  Start a new tradition and publish pie memories and recipes, then send them to family members. 


- Spend time with your kids and make a pie together.  Let them pick their favorite pie and show them how it’s done.  They’ll be proud of their creation and have fond memories of you as the best parent ever for years to come!


- Get caught up with friends and invite them over for some afternoon pumpkin pie.  You can dish on all their latest news. 


- Throw a pie potluck get-together.  Have everyone bring their favorite pie and exchange recipes.  We’ve heard of events where more than 100 folks come with 100 pies.  Have a contest to see who can come up with the most pie songs.  The winning prize?  A pie!


- Hold a charity pie-throwing or pie-eating contest or a pie auction.  You can donate the proceeds to your local community food bank.


- Hold a pie-making contest.  Invite the best pie makers in town to compete for prizes in various categories.  Ask cooking teachers, pastry chefs and pie lovers to be judges.  Be sure the kids are involved – you can include pie poetry and pie art contests for them. 


- Register for the 2008 American Pie Council (APC)/Crisco National Pie Championships  


- Eat pie.  Whether you make it yourself, buy it at a supermarket or bakery or order it at a restaurant, perform a random act of pieness on yourself and enjoy some pie on National Pie Day – it’s great with lunch, dinner or as a late-night snack.


- Pay it forward.  Hand out pie slices to strangers and encourage them to do the same for others.   It could spread the peace on earth and goodwill to mankind that we all hope for.


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