As anyone who knows me will tell you, I love pie. I love to eat pie, think about pie, smell pie, but most of all I love to make pie. Recently Matt Armendariz of Matt Bites posted an article about his experience learning to make pie with Kate McDermott in her “Art of the Pie” class. I was immediately intrigued, so out of curiosity clicked through to her site and found out that she was located in Seattle! Astounded at my good luck to find her so near, I checked her schedule of upcoming classes and found out that she was very much in demand so I emailed her and asked to be put on a waiting list. Luck continued to smile on me and she emailed me back less than a week later and said she had an opening in a class the next month. I wasted no time and put my check in the mail the minute I was tentatively registered. There was no chance I was going to let this opportunity slip away.
I have always considered myself to be a pretty good pie baker, but I was anxious to learn from a master anything that could elevate my pies to the next level. She holds the classes in her home kitchen in West Seattle and they are limited to four students to maximize the learning experience. I was greeted at the door by Kate and immediately welcomed into her comfortable home which already had the heady scent of freshly baked rhubarb pie. Her dog Lady (breed: Best Dog Ever) also welcomed me and added to the atmosphere of baking with a close friend. My luck continued when it ended up that I was one of only two students for this particular evening. This allowed an even more personal experience for me and my fellow baking student, Pam.
She had a plate of “Tasties” to share with us as we settled in which were made from the pie dough and a cinnamon sugar mixture. She had my interest now – this was indeed, very “tasty” crust.
Although I have been baking pies forever, I promised myself that I would go into this with a completely open mind and am I ever glad that I did. The first revelation came with the combination of European butter and leaf lard used as the fat in the crust. It was magical!
She had many other tips and tricks which I intend to incorporate with all of my pie recipes from this point. The ingredient that I honestly believe I have been missing (other than the european butter & leaf lard, of course) is what she calls intention and what I like to call, a pie prayer. Simply put this is putting your thoughts, hopes and prayers for someone or something intentionally into your bowl. I think this is a fantastic way of adding an extra helping of love to whatever you are baking.
The class took us through the complete process of baking a pie from crust to finished product and we each walked out with a pie that we had made ourselves from scratch. This evening’s pies were rhubarb, beautifully fresh from a local farmer. While our pies were baking we had a piece of pie she had made earlier in the day topped of with a glass of champagne to celebrate our success. It was an entirely lovely evening.
I don’t want to disclose her recipes here, but instead encourage you to visit her site or better yet, take a class! So instead of recipes here a few pictures of the great pie adventure.