In which she makes four pies for the fair and nearly looses her marbles!
Each year I would think about entering the pie contest at the local county fair. This is the story of what happened in 2009 when I finally did.
FRIDAY: It’s late Friday night and I’m looking at the county fair website. Deadline for pie entry: Monday 3 PM. “OK, this is the year I’ll go for it,” I think. Monday is still two days away and as I want the pies to be as fresh as possible, I decide to wait until Sunday night to make and bake but there’s plenty of prep to do.
SATURDAY: I spend much of the next day gathering ingredients which includes a trip to the farmers market to see what fruit might be ripe and ready. Blueberries and late season rhubarb both look great. I buy enough for a few pies, add them to my basket, and head home.
SUNDAY MORNING: I put on a long sleeve shirt, always important when picking in brambles, and head up to my favorite blackberry spot on the hill where I know there will be plenty of beautiful just ripe berries and the picking will be easy. I’ve been eying them for the last week waiting until they are at their peak to pick. When I get there I can not believe that the patch—my patch— has been hacked back severely. Canes are all over the ground and the berries look horrible and are not useable. After getting over the initial shock, I look again to see if there is anything salvageable. There are enough ripe ones, maybe for one pie, but they are scant and high so the picking is not going to be easy. I reach and pull on the branches, getting a few scratches in the process, and pick a bucketful while thinking…
Who would cut down the blackberry patch?
SUNDAY NIGHT: It is mid-evening when I finally get around to starting the pies. I get my apron, put on some favorite music—James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, CSN&Y, Carol King—and start with dough. After it chills I realize it is going to be one heck of a late night as the clock says 10:30 PM and I am just pulling the first chubby dough discs out of the fridge to roll.
It’s now 11:35 PM, the first two pies—blackberry and blueberry—are in the oven, and it’s time for tea. I think maybe these two pies will be enough and I’ll stop when they finish baking.
MONDAY IN THE WEE HOURS: It’s now 12:49 AM. Black and blue are just out and cooling on the counter. Time for bed. Then I hear the the do-do-do-do-do chorus of Suite Judy Blue Eyes I get my second wind. “Okay,” I think. “Three pies it is!”
roll out bottom dough and place in pan
turn filling into dough
roll out top crust and place over filling
It comes out of the oven and it joins the others on the cooling rack. But something inside me says
"Make one more."
“Nope,” I say. "
“Make one more." The voice is louder this time.
“Make. One. More.”
Who am I to disagree with a yet to be made pie that is speaking to me in the middle of the night.