As the Thanksgiving holiday quickly approaches my thoughts turn to pie. Pie has been a huge tradition in my husband’s family for Thanksgiving…and by huge I mean LOTS of pie. I was amazed at the quantity the first time I ate with his family for the Turkey Day festivities: TWELVE pies. Yes, twelve; 12; Ten plus two; Six plus six…you get the picture. His mom prepared a feast for not only their immediate family, but for aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. There were a lot of eaters – and a lot of pie. Once my husband and I married we spent practically every Thanksgiving with his family. And when our boys were born they eagerly looked forward to the pie tradition every year. So you can imagine the angst incurred when we finally realized we had to give up traveling for the Thanksgiving holidays. The first time the subject was brought up my husband asked, “But what about the pies? The boys will really miss all that pie” Translated: “But what about the pies? I will really miss all that pie”. So I agreed to make several pies. I knew 12 pies were absolutely out of the question, but I agreed to make 6…
Fast forward many years…Each year I have made more and more pies. I finally broke my record last year, making not only 11 pies, but the equivalent of 2 other pies in the form of mini-pies. Yes, some were duplicates. There were 2 Bourbon Pecan, 2 Cherry, 2 Apple (one had brandied raisins) and 2 pumpkin. Then I made 1 Chocolate, 1 Banana Cream, and 1 Coconut Cream. The final two ‘pies’ were Lemon Meringue and Cranberry Meringue, made into bite-sized portions to ensure meringue on each serving (don’t you hate when you have a slice of lemon meringue and get no meringue?!?).
I can hear all of you trying to wrap your brain around this concept of (essentially) 13 pies…”But why?” you ask, and “Do you EAT all that pie yourself?” and, the most common question, “ARE YOU CRAZY???” (to that one I of course say ‘yes’). I make all those pies because I love to bake, and I love a cooking challenge. And I especially love to continue a long-standing family tradition, one that my boys will remember and hopefully pass along to their kids someday (my apologies to their future wives). As to whether or not we eat all of that pie, well, we do solicit a bit of help. See, we do not have the good fortune to have our family near during the holidays. Usually it is only the 4 of us and my nephew (and my parents one year)…a lot of pie for five people. So we have ‘Pie Day’. This is usually the day after Thanksgiving – and on this wonderful day we invite our friends to join us in the eating of the pies. Often, they bring over their own leftover desserts from their Big Day…There are a lot of desserts! Everyone comes hungry and leaves full!!
So now here I am, fully in the process of readying for Pie Day. I have pie crust in the freezer and am looking for one or two new flavors/recipes to add to the mix this year. Many of my ingredients have been purchased and stored…the fresh ones will be bought a day or so ahead. And on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving I will spend the entire day in my kitchen, happily paring, dicing, slicing, rolling out crust, assembling and baking all those glorious pies…That night I will fall into bed tired (read: exhausted) but happy, and will drift off to sleep dreaming of eating lots and lots of pie!