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What can one say on National Pie Day? It’s not as if, dear readers, you don’t know what pie is, or like B’s recent mousse [see, i remembered the extra "s"!] I’m boldly going where none has gone before. I’m not going to bore you with the history of pie. I’m just going to use the space today to tell you about one of our newer but dearly loved traditions: Pieapalloza and share with you my family’s recipe for rhubarb pie.
What is Pieapalloza you ask? It’s a celebration of pie held at my house in late summer or early fall, when the fruit is luscious. You see, I have amongst my circle of friends, some truly top notch pie-bakers. While nobody is a professional chef or baker ( quite the opposite, rather we are lawyers, a helicopter pilot, carpenter, artist, etc. ) these folks have GAME. And when you have a gift — something capable of bringing joy to the world – you just need an event like Pieapalloza to come along so you can share your gift, and your pastry, with the world. A pie party is a great way for your guests to show off their secret family recipes, to talk a little trash, and to celebrate the bounty of the summer. It was also shortly before pieapalloza that I decided that I was going to stop eating eggs or dairy, so for me it was also a heck of a last hurrah! to those beloved food groups.
The rules of pieapalloza are simple:
(1) Bring a pie.
This year we had 26 people, 2 babies, and 13 pies. Kind of an epic night. There were apple, lemon, and peach fruit pies. Spicy jerk tarts and hearty meat pies. A shepherd’s pie and a south african milk pie. There was even what we lovingly dubbed floor pie – after one guest’s concoction fell to the floor before it could be served…The 5 second rule was observed and we all thought it was delicious. There was cheese, icecream and whipped cream to tart up your favorite pies too.
(2) Suffer for your art.
First, come hungry. No *really* come hungry. This is the kind of event where you want to follow the sage wisdom of Anthony Bourdain and try to not eat during the day before, and then have a lot of water to stretch your stomach before hand.
Also, be prepared for that dreaded sugar hangover. I here relate a facebook convo from “the day after” this fall’s Pieapalloza:
Evan’s current inner monologue: “Why does my head hurt? Is this what a pie hangover feels like? Maybe Deanna found my hedonistic achilles heel? ‘Hmmmmm…..floor pie…’”
September 27 at 11:24am
Deanna: My head hurts too. I just got out of bed now- totally pie hangover. … I would however take great pride in being told that I have enabled someone to discover their “hedonistic achilles heel”.
September 27 at 11:26am
Evan: So, how do you cure a pie hangover? This is new territory for me! And this is a once a year thing for me….no pie-hedonism until Pieapalooza III…
September 27 at 11:58am
Deanna: I think lots of water. and some drugs.
September 27 at 12:21pm
Evan: Drugs? Deanna, you are such a bad influence on me…
September 27 at 1:30pm
If you’ve read through my ode to pie gluttony thus far, you may have what it takes to participate next year. And if you’re going to come, you’ll need a great, truly great, pie recipe. So I’m sharing my grandmother’s Rhubarb Pie recipe, which is all sorts of delicious, and super easy to make. Bookmark this page and come back to this recipe in a few months – this pie is the perfect harbinger of spring.
Florence’s Rhubarb Pie
Makes 2 standard 9″ pies.
Preheat oven to 400c
Wash and chop 6 cups of rhubarb into 1/4-1/2″ pieces. Split between two unbaked pastry pie shells.
Mix together: 2c sugar, 6 tbsp flour, 1 tsp nutmeg, 2 tbsp butter. Mix in 5 eggs, then beat well.
Pour egg mixture over rhubarb (you might have to jiggle the pies a bit to get the custard to seep down between the rhubarb bits).
Bake for 50 min.