If you have followed this blog for any amount of time, by now you will have come to the realization that I really like to bake pies. I have posted about pies, taken pie classes, experimented with pies, documented my pie failures and now I have started teaching pie classes of my own.
This past week has been a whirlwind of pies. My first ever pie baking class was held at Bella Kitchen Essentials right here in Gig Harbor on Thursday evening. This was going to be a “hands-on” class for 12 people and the kitchen only has one oven. How do you get 12 people involved in the process to the point where they can go home and feel comfortable making pies in a three hour time period and still have time to sample pie and shop for accessories? This is the question that kept me up at night as I prepared for my teaching debut.
My solution? We divided into four teams of three and had a little friendly competition with apple peeling (brilliant – this meant I didn’t have to do it), rolling, filling and finishing the pies. Since time would prevent us from tasting the pies we made in class, I brought in a pre-made pie and then “winners” were randomly selected to take the baked pies home. I still really wanted every single person to take something home from the class, so we also made individual hand pies with a fabulous Red Wine & Marionberry Fruit Compote.
Mission accomplished. By the time the evening was over, 12 happy women were leaving with the confidence that they too, could bake a pie.
Take a deep breath and get ready to do it all over again. I was invited by Frances Gough to do another class at the Canyon River Lodge as the kickoff of the destination culinary program. That is a lot of pressure for someone who is not a professional chef.
Working in my favor, however, was the “home team advantage”. This was the site of my recent Pheasant Cooking demonstrations, so I was familiar with the kitchen layout and knew that it would lend itself beautifully to this type of hands-on program. Once again, we had 12 participants, but this one includes all ages and abilities. Two college girls joined their mom, we had a four-year old who worked first with her mom and then with her dad and grandpa and a great group of women, some of whom had never baked a pie in their lives.
We learned the techniques for and assembled two Double Crust Mixed Apple Pies and two Espresso Pumpkin Pies and then took a well deserved lunch break with a wonderful wine pairing from Kana Winery.
With our stamina replenished, we began work on our individual Pasty Pies. I have posted about these before, but have continued to practice and modify to achieve what I imagined would be the best pasty. Here was my moment of truth – the owner of the lodge was the person that first asked me if I could make them and “the expert” I was hoping to please. Much to my relief, the verdict was positive!
My hope for everyone that attended one of the classes is that they will lose their “fear” of pie and continue to share the love by teaching another person how to make a pie. One day the world may be free of Costco pies at Thanksgiving.
Listed below are links to a few of the indespensible tools and ingredients I use for my pies. Recipes to follow soon for the Red Wine & Marionberry Fruit Compote and final version of the pasty pies.
* Leaf Lard can be ordered from: Dietrich’s Country Farm in Pennsylvania
* Vic Firth French Rolling Pins can be ordered from Amazon.com
* Pastry Cloths can be ordered from Amazon.com
* Emile Henry 9″ Pie Plates can be ordered from Amazon.com
Note: All pictures were taken by my husband or various attendees. I set the camera to full automatic and asked people to pick it up and take pictures as they saw fit.