We totally did it – we had a pie party. Lots of you came, and brought pie, or bubbles, or both. Between the people and the pie and the whipped cream and the sunshine and the bubbly drinks (prosecco, pink moscato, sangria and mint lemonade) it was a pretty fantastic afternoon.
This was the scene at on Saturday at 1:59. I had goosebumps. I tried to photograph them, but it didn’t work. We cleaned up, but didn’t manage to get the walls did, as I keep forgetting to pick up this magic eraser everyone keeps telling me is such a good idea. I’m not convinced it will be less work than painting at this point. But who cares? Everyone’s coming for pie! When the kitchen’s full, no one notices the fingerprints on the walls.
I made a couple pies: a rhubarb-raspberry galette that used up the last of my (still spindly) rhubarb, and a sauteed apple galette on white cheddar crust with a hazelnut crumble topping. (It sounds all fancy when you put it that way, doesn’t it? – really I just added some grated aged white cheddar to the pastry, a handful of hazelnuts to the crumble and didn’t bother with a pie plate.)
And then people started to arrive with pie. Is there a better sight than friends arriving at your door with pies wrapped in tea towels? (And with bubbly bottles of prosecco?) Lauren came! And brought her friends! Astrid had only eaten three types of pie in her life – we fed her three lifetimes worth’ of pie to catch her up.
I heartily endorse a pie potluck as a great kind of a get-together – pie just makes people happy. And it’s the sort of dish you tend to make when you have a group of people to feed. Some people get nervous at the prospect of a potluck. But it’s so risky! You don’t know what you’ll get! That’s part of the fun – that element of surprise. Earlier this week a few people tried to warn me – you’ll get a dozen apple pies! But really – a) who cares? and b) doubtful – the diversity of the dishes that show up at a potluck always amazes me. Especially at harvest time, when there’s so much produce to choose from. Also? If ten people made ten apple pies, they’d all be different.
There was bumbleberry pie, and Saskatoon pie. (One came from Fifendekel in Edmonton, another from Pearson’s Berry Farm.) Jenna brought pecan pie – which was pie perfection, and turned out to be her very first pie made from scratch. Everyone agreed she nailed it. (I’m on her to post that recipe!) There was a stunning peach pie with a lattice crust that disappeared in record time, and chocolate chip cookie dough pie – cookie dough baked right in the crust! Andy brought a ginger pear galette with Greek yogurt for spooning on top. (She also happened to be a calligrapher, and sat down to make signs for each pie as it arrived.)
Aga brought tequila lime pie and two boys for W to play Star Wars with.
Carol brought pink drinks – Foxy Ladies – with Evans cherries from her own back yard. (She said, after a few plates of pie, “I think I’ve pied and gone to heaven.”)
Catharine brought gorgeous peach-plum galettes, sprinkled with sugar she said she rubbed with fresh mint. Hello. I almost snuck off with one of them for some alone time.
And Avery brought pie fries! Sticks of cinnamon-sugared baked pastry that you serve with sweet dip – she brought dulce de leche and strawberry cream. Of course because her pastry was fantastic they were a bit fragile – but a delicious hit! I guess with pie fries the goal is tough pastry?
Darrel and Corrine brought a graham cracker crusted no-bake cheesecake pie, topped with sliced peaches, blueberries and wee strawberries from their back yard. And Lauren‘s pie? A stunner, just like her – blueberry-blackberry-peach, and gluten-free, of course. Her crust was made with almond, sweet rice and millet flours and was incredibly tender and delicious. I may just start making her pastry from now on. She wrote a great pie post, by the way, that sums up the essence of pie and its influence on people.
I’ve had a lot of people tell me I’m crazy for inviting people I’ve never met over to my house. Life is too short not to, I think. Anyone who is willing to bake a pie to bring to a potluck with a bunch of people they’ve never met is probably someone I’d like to hang out with. It’s so much easier to be talked out of doing something because there might be a risk involved (do axe murderers even like pie?) than to just go ahead and do it – most often the potential for greatness far outweighs any potential (imagined or not) negatives. And pie takes care of the rest.
Sautéed Apple Galette on White Cheddar Crust
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup butter, chilled and cut into pieces
1/4 cup shortening, chilled and cut into pieces
1/2-1 cup grated old white cheddar
2-4 Tbsp. ice-cold water
1/4 cup butter
3 lb tart apples (such as Granny Smith) cut into 3/4″ pieces (don’t bother peeling them)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose or whole wheat flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup flaked hazelnuts
Make the pastry: in a large bowl or the bowl of a food processor, stir together the flour, sugar and salt. Add the butter, shortening and cheese and use a fork, pastry blender, wire whisk or the “pulse” motion of the food processor to blend the mixture until it resembles coarse meal, with lumps of fat no bigger than a pea.
Drizzle the minimum amount of water over the mixture and stir until the dough comes together, adding a little more a bit at a time if you need it. Gather the dough into a ball, flatten it into a disc, wrap it in plastic and chill for at least half an hour. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out into a 14-inch circle (don’t worry about it being perfect); drape over the rolling pin and transfer to a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet. Put the fridge while you make the filling.
Meanwhile in a large, heavy skillet, heat the butter over medium-high heat. When the foaming subsides, add the apples and cook until they start releasing their juices. Sprinkle the sugar and salt overtop. Cook for about 10 more minutes, stirring often, until the moisture evaporates and the syrup thickens, and the apples start to turn golden. Remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl to cool.
To make the crumble topping, blend all the ingredients in a bowl or food processor until well combined and crumbly. Preheat the oven to 375F.
Pile the cooled apples onto the pastry, mounding it the middle and spreading it out to within 2 inches of the edge. Fold the pastry over, letting it fold where it wants to. If you like, brush the folded-over part with a little milk or beaten egg and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Scatter the crumble mixture over top.
Bake for 45 minutes, or until bubbly and golden. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before sliding carefully onto a cutting board to serve. Serves 8-10.