Gentle Readers, did you know that there is a National Pie Day? Even more importantly, did you know that it is today–January 23? No? How about this: did you know that there is an American Pie Council? I happened upon this website the other day and was poking around and saw that to get the pie recipes on this website, that you have to be a member. No problem, thought I, I’ll just join up, then. Yay! More pie knowledge to be had!
But then I clicked on the link for joining: Yikes! $45.00 annual fee for the “Amateur” level of membership. Whoa, the professional must pay $75.0o. Happily for the seniors, they get a price break and only have to pay $35.00.
Oh well, I sighed. I have plenty of great pie recipes at my disposal, without having to join a club like the “American Pie Council.” I just liked the sounds of it: “Hello, I’m Amy, and I’m a member of the American Pie Council.”
I can always, always use a new pie recipe. I am a pie devotee, after all. I love pie, I crave pie; I think about pie quite a lot. I am a member of the Young family, for whom the motto might just be “Pie. It’s What’s For Dinner.”
My family of origin, the Young family, takes the subject of pie fairly seriously. Especially the non-pie makers in the family. The long and lanky, stretched and always-hungry segment of the family. Last year we had 17 pies at Thanksgiving. The more sensible members of the family (i.e. the bakers of the pies) agreed that 17 pies might be overkill, for 35 people. After all, if my first-grade math skills can be trusted, that’s nearly half a pie for each man, woman, and infant there that day. We all love pie . . . but . . . that’s a lotta pie.
Consequently, this year, there weren’t so many pies at Thanksgiving. The number was so unremarkable (possibly, even, disappointing) that I don’t even remember it. But you know, I think that a national holiday celebrating something as sweet and wonderful and as guileless as pie is a great idea! We make a big to-do over pie at Thanksgiving every year. But any day is a good day for pie, don’t you think? A special day in the bleak midwinter to focus on pie? Yes, please!
For, you know, Pie is not just a special dessert. It is a concept. Pie is Goodness. Gracious living. Generosity. Gentility. Hospitality. Pie reminds us all that there are important things in life that take time. It is a reminder that though life is fast-paced and frantic all too often, that it is worth it, after all, to take a bit of time and spend it making something that will invariably make somebody smile and light up and feel warm all over.
Pie. It’s all that, and more.
Here’s a quote I found about pie: “ . . . a few seconds later, someone on the internet mentioned pie. I don’t blame them. It’s a good subject. But pie was mentioned and I remembered there was strawberry-rhubarb pie in the refrigerator. So I went there. And pie there was none. I suspect the teenaged boy has inhaled it. And now I cling to life and hope as best I can, because my world is dark and pieless.” –Tad Williams
. . . also . . .
So. Now that you know that it’s such an important day: National Pie Day, what are you gonna do about it? I’ll tell you what I’m going to do (surprise!): I’m going to make pie.
I love to make the traditional-shaped pie, and I also dote on these neat handy (tehee) Hand Pies (here’s my recipe!) but today I’m going to share with you my ultra-popular recipe for Cherry Pie Squares. This is actually my mother’s recipe, and it is quite wonderful. If you need pie for a large group, and if being able to eat said pie out-of-hand is an important element to the success of the gathering to which you are bringing it, then this recipe is for you.
I’ve got a few precious quarts of frozen Montmorency cherries that we plucked from our orchard trees last summer, squirreled away in my freezer, and I’m going to use them (yay!) to make this uber-special treat, and then I’m going to share it with a new neighbor and also my ‘rents, since I’m going to their house this evening. But shhhh . . . don’t tell. It’s a National Pie Day surprise!
Here’s what they look like:
Here’s a close-up to drive the knife in a bit deeper . . .
And here’s the recipe!
- 2½ cups flour
- 1 cup + 1 Tb sugar
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 cup shortening or butter
- 1 egg (separated)
- ⅔ cups crushed cornflakes
- 2 Tb lemon juice
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 5 cups well-drained cherries
- Glaze: combine 1 cup powdered sugar with 2 Tb lemon juice
- Combine flour, 1Tb sugar, and salt.
- Cut in shortening.
- Add enough milk to egg yolk to make ⅔ cup.
- Mix in so dough shapes into a ball.
- Roll half of dough into a 15" x 11" rectangle and transfer to jelly roll pan.
- Cover with crushed cornflakes.
- Add cherries and 1 cup sugar. Roll out the other half of dough for top crust.
- Place over cherries and pinch edges together to seal.
- Brush with stiffly-beaten egg whites.
- Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes or until golden and your family is drooling.
- While hot, drizzle glaze over top. Slice into squares. Eat out-of-hand-oooh! ooh! ooooh! hot! Yum!
By the way, if you enjoy all things PIE (and who doesn’t, really?), you’ll want to check out The Pie Academy, run by the engaging and droll Ken Haedrich. Once you join (and it doesn’t cost anything, either) he’ll send you some very helpful videos about the finer points of making pie. He knows so much about pie, I’d suspect that he’s got some Young blood running in those veins! He’s got lots of helpful resources on his website, too. I am a student of Ken’s Pie Academy, and probably you should be, too!
I do think it’s our responsibility to celebrate National Pie Day in whatever way we see fit, don’t you? Life is too short, after all, to deny ourselves of an occasional slice of pie. Please share this post, if you agree, and *hugs* and *smooches* from me in advance, if you do! Thank you!
🙂 <—–smiles all around
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