The women of my family have a long history of making great pies. My grandma cooked pies when she worked at the county home, when she volunteered at the shelter and for her family. One of the things that made her so well-known for her pies was her ability to make great crusts every time. It is one of those things she gave to me, the ability to make good pies and enjoy doing so.
Now I am the pie baker of choice for the holidays with my Montana adopted family. Each year for Thanksgiving I am asked to bring the pies. There is always the required pumpkin pie, with my secret ingredient Penzy’s cinnamon. What makes this cinnamon so special is that it is a mix of different cinnamon’s giving it a depth of flavor not found in your run of the mill store cinnamons. I struggled with fruit pies at this altitude and have discovered they turn out much better if I par-cook my fruit. This year I repeated my highly sought after apple filling cooked in cider, brown sugar and butter. The cider gives it a really great apple flavor and yet not too sweet. The kids demand a chocolate pie, and each year I turn up with a version of chocolate. I am always on the look out for a new one for each year. This year I settled for an old-fashion chocolate cream pie with a crust of crushed “Famous Chocolate Wafers”. Three is usually my limit, but this year I had a hankering for pecan pie. Knowing full well this was not a nut crowd, I made my pecan pie anyway. Real maple syrup is my secret ingredient. It makes a rich filling that isn’t that gooey sweet, I attribute to the corn syrup I used to use. Real maple syrup is not overwhelming with maple flavor and most folks don’t even realize it is in my pie. In this case only two of us ate it. It won’t likely be a repeat performance for this crowd.
At the end of the night, the only pie left was my pecan pie, though the nut eater took home an extra piece. I took my leftover pie home and will be eating it the next few days, and then I will be satisfied. I got my slice of pecan pie and then some.