Updated: Dec 19, 2021
I made my first pie crust when I was 29 or 30. I had never really been a lover of any pie, except chicken pot pie. I remember going to restaurants when I was young with those ginormous turning tower displays. They were spectacular and utterly fascinating.
Which pie would you taste because you could only pick one? As a child, it seemed that the ice or whip cream a La Mode part was the best. I was enchanted with the way pie had looked and was attracted to its allure because people went out for pie. People talked about pie, they met for pie and it was something people were excited about. As pretty as they were, I had secretly always found pie a bit of a let down …except for when I had my first taste of coconut cream pie !!
One day, I accidentally pointed to a coconut cream pie thinking it was a banana cream pie and was in love. At 4yrs old, it was like I had entered another world, I was delightfully transported to another realm, a small journey I have never forgotten. Many years later, with great anticipation, I tried the cream pies again and it wasn’t the same. I also found that I still did not understand the fascination with the double crusted fruit pies and maybe that was because of ED Smith’s mediocre canned fruit filling or maybe it was a rushed crust that held this fruit.
After first meeting my in-laws, I was overwhelmed at the incredibly huge and varied collection of heritage apples they had stored in every available cellar climate area around the house. He grew them on vines and she cooked them.
She was always making and eating apple things, and she loved apples. She was quite elderly and I wanted to please her so I offered to make some apple pies to help with the abundance of apples. I found a recipe that felt right and followed it to a tee. I really wanted to make a beautiful crust but I had no idea what I was doing and felt for certain that it, most likely, might disappoint but ..... I was going to learn about pie.
I made the crust with joy and good intentions; in a place that I felt safe and comfortable. I made it with love for a family that loved me and I had found a home with. The house smelled of apples and the yard was a wild garden full of beauty coaxed to its best and also let to be its natural self.
When it was time to try the pie after dinner; I was still quite nervous that it would disappoint. I hoped my crust would be flakey and do what it was supposed to do. I didn’t even know what that was exactly.
They took their bites and I could see it seemed okay. I heard some mm murmurs of approval. Good sign !
I took a bite and all of my worry melted away. My face relaxed into surprise and relief while pleasure and comfort overwhelmed my senses. I think I might have finally understood and felt the beauty of the double crusted fruit pie.
She mumbled through mmmm’s while her mouth was full, and quietly let out “it’s perfect.”
In this moment everything was perfect.
For her funeral I made many pies to the same effect. It was unbelievable to me that all of these pies were so beautiful. I think it was all the love that was just there. The elements were all there, all aligned in perfect symmetry, the love was there for the perfect pie.
I know for sure that it’s love and pure ingredients from scratch that are the true secret to pie. Even if all of the elements are there, something gets lost in the big kitchen, something gets lost in the hurry. Slow and savoury time, thoughts and good intentions make the pie that melts us.
Love makes Good Pie.
Tracy Lynn Gilson