My Commitment to Pie

by marilynk

I’ve always preferred cake to pie. These are shocking, and sometimes argument-inducing, words to many that I know and love. To me, cake has everything: yummy crumbly cake, delicious and varied fillings (if you want), and an infinite variety of icings (although I am picky about my icings). Pie has great fillings, sure, but I would often leave the crust uneaten – again, sacrilege to the pie-devout.

See, the crust is the crux of the issue. I’ve never made a pie crust that I really liked. The pastry was hard to work with, the rolled dough broke when I tried to move it to the pie plate, and the taste…was never all that good. For a while I used pre-baked pie shells or the unbaked rounds from the grocery store, but the taste still wasn’t great. Better, but nothing that was going to rival a homemade cake.

In July, my friend Nicole gave me this sage piece of advice:

Know when to take good's a life skill.

She also offered to teach me how to make pie crust. In fact, we made plans to pick Saskatoon berries and make pie from them – this was an opportunity I could not pass up. So a couple weeks later, armed with our Saskatoons picked on public land (read: free!) and the Smitten Kitchen pie crust tutorials (this was my introduction to Smitten Kitchen’s site…and you have seen what an affect that’s had!), we made pie.

You know you want it!

Doesn't it look great?

It was fun! The recipe is easy, Nicole’s instruction was top-notch, and my apartment smelled AMAZING. I invited my family over to be my taste testers and the pie got rave reviews. My dad, especially, loves pie crust and he was trying to steal bits off other people’s plates. Between the four of us we finished half the pie basically straight from the oven. I liked it so much that I finished the rest of it…for breakfast…over the next few days.

I need to get better at food styling/photography.


The other piece of advice Nicole gave me was to gift someone with 12 pie gift certificates for the year. That way I would  get the practice and really perfect the art of pie crust. I don’t have one person I want to gift with 12 pies, but I like the concept. So, that’s my commitment to pie: I will bake a minimum of one pie per month, starting with this August Saskatoon and Rhubarb Pie. And while I’ll take the Jonathan Swift quote to name this category, this is a promise that won’t be broken.

“Promises and pie-crust were made to be broken.” – Jonathan Swift

August 2011 Pie #1: Saskatoon and Rhubarb Pie



We sort of free-handed the filling, so all amounts are approximate.

  • 3 cups fresh Saskatoon berries (picked locally in Edmonton’s river valley)
  • 1/2 cup frozen rhubarb
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 – 4 Tbs. all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

Place a rack in the centre of your oven and preheat to 375° F. Once your bottom crust is ready in your pie plate, add the filling ingredients to a mixing bowl and gently toss together to combine. Pour into your bottom crust. Roll out the top crust, place it over your pie, fold under the edges, and crimp to seal them. Don’t forget to cut a few vents in the top to allow steam to escape. Bake at 375° for 15 minutes, then turn the temperature down to 350° and continue baking until the fruit bubbles (Nicole says this is usually 35-45 minutes). Enjoy!


2 Comments to “My Commitment to Pie”

  1. Somehow I didn’t read this til now. Bad friend. I have one more (dare I say last?) piece of sage pie advice… if you get sick of making dessert pies and the like, mix it up with a quiche or a tortierre!

  2. Not a bad friend, just a busy one. Oh, man…tortierre is totally on the list for December! I usually do crumb crusts for quiches, but I think November’s might be a quiche. Not sure yet, though!

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