It is a lovely cool morning, this last day of July. I think I shall make a pie: peach with a sprinkling of blueberries and a buttery crumb topping. I love pies and would never be able to name a favorite. My favorite is whatever pie I happen to be eating at the time, be it fruit, custard, nuts or meringue. My friend Margaret once said she'd crawl across the desert for one of Peg's pies, which was the most flattering (or maybe the most drastic) thing anyone has ever said about my pies, hence it has stuck in my memory. I am a perfectionist when it comes to pie, from the crimping the crust to the finished product. I always want them to look like a work of art and much as though I have probably made a few thousand pies if you count my bakery days, every one is an individual. I use butter in my crust; I do not like vegetable shortening and will, sacrifice a bit of flakiness for a melt-in-your-mouth chunk of crust left on the plate (a bit of chemistry: butter has a much lower melting point and so will melt at 98.6* while shortening will not). Today I have local peaches and blueberries, both organic. I have a mix of wheat and white flour, which will make a nuttier flavored crust, and I have my grandmother's rolling pin, the only one I have ever used. It is a french pin , tapered at the ends and perfect for fine tuning the rolled out crust. Lastly, I have my passion for pies. That means I will work slowly and mindfully as I prep the fruit, roll my pastry, gently crumble the topping and bake to perfection. Pies are too much work to take chances so there is a lot of peeking involved once in the oven.
I always envisioned myself with a big windowsill on which to cool my pies, a pile of messy children wanting to pick at the crumbs, waiting impatiently for dessert. Unfortunately, the windowsill idea would attract wasps, of which I am deathly allergic, and the children were a physical impossibility. So I will call a friend or 2 or 3 and offer to have dessert at my house, bring your own milk. Those offers are rarely turned down.
I had best get to work. Come on over!