Monday, October 13, 2008

The Great Pumpkin Pie Bake-off of 2008 Part 1

This is the one thing from my childhood that I will not part with. It's a sifter that has seen better days, for sure!

My mom was a terrible cook. Thank god we were a "meat and potatoes" family, for the most part, and that, combined with frozen veggies and rice, got us by. I never even knew what garlic was until I left home. I know!!!

But the one thing my mom was good at was baking cakes. And a few other desserty things, but it was the cakes that we always did together. There were two things that were my job. The sifting of the dry ingredients, and the coveted batter remains after the cake pan was filled. I know, it doesn't sound like much, but trust me, this was the one thing we managed to connect with , no matter what else. My mom and I, well, on a good day, we were miles apart. But the baking, that was special.

Then there was my gram, my mom's mother. That woman could bake. She got by in the cooking department (she and I would never agree on the definition of "rare" when it came to meat. To gram , it meant "cook the ass off it". But the baking more than made up for that. I was fortunate enough that she always lived within walking distance of our house. And I was also fortunate enough that I could show up there anytime, no need to call ahead, and I could stay as long as I wanted, which was often days that turned into weeks until finally the phone would ring and I was told I ought to go home. (But I thought I already WAS home). And there was always pie at her house. Always. Honestly, I can't ever remember showing up at her house and there not being at least 2 kinds of pie for the choosing. My favorites were apple and pumpkin. Especially in the fall, because the apples were the freshest and the pumpkin was in season.

Fast forward to Fall 2008. We got 2 sugar pumpkins from the CSA. I offered to take them both and transform them into pie and roasted seeds (the first handfull of which I am munching on right now - yum!). Yesterday I roasted the pumpkins in the oven, and made pumpkin puree to use in the pies.

The first pie has been baked. It is the tried and true recipe I have always used, from the back of the One Pie can. Since I was using fresh pumpkin and not canned, I decreased the evaporated milk to 10 oz. It's out of the oven, and still cooling, but the little itty bitty piece I snuck tastes AMAZING!!!

I had some help though. The pie making thing? Yeah, that comes from my gram. And the sifter? I know not where it came from, if it was something handed down to my mom, or something she acquired. What does matter is that for a little while tonight, 3 generations gathered in my kitchen and created some pumpkin goodness. And I wonder - how might all of our lives have been transformed if but for one afternoon the 3 of us had gathered for some serious pie-making way back then? That I will never know. I do know that I have lots of pie-making and pie-savoring moments to treasure of me and my gram. And that is good enough.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of the Bake-off tomorrow night!


Sonya said...

Thank you. I needed to read that today.
My grandma had a sifter just like that.

Jackie said...

Beautiful. I can almost smell the pies.

SleepyEyes said...

Oooh...pie! I have to admit that I make only 2 pies a year..and not pumpkin, which I dislike (eeek!), but apple. I loved reading about your baking and family traditions ; )

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