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Think Write Thursday: A Favorite Recipe

Today’s Think Write Thursday topic is to write about a favorite recipe and tie it to Thanksgiving and gratitude if possible.

You know I’m going to talk about pie, right?

peggys blueberry pie for carole knits

My mom was the queen of pie. She made pie for every occasion. Thanksgiving, of course, but also birthdays and Valentine’s Day and any other minor holiday that inspired her. And her pies were wonderful. Beautiful and delicious and, in my view at least, absolutely perfect. So perfect that I never really wanted to learn to make pie myself because I felt like I wouldn’t be able to live up to the ones she made. Until, that is, my mom was diagnosed with cancer and I knew that if I didn’t learn to make pies like her that this simple pleasure would be gone forever.

cherry pie blog size

So, on the day before Thanksgiving in 1996 I made my first pie. I chose to make mincemeat because it’s Dale’s favorite and I wanted it to bring to his brother’s house for our first Thanksgiving together. I made it in my mom’s kitchen, following her recipe, with her right by my side. I was nervous and thrilled and terrified all at the same time. And guess what? It came out great. The crust was flaky, the filling was delicious, and it looked pretty, too. I’ve made a lot of pies in the last 20 years and, while I’ve tweaked the recipe and improved my technique, no pie will ever be as special as that first one.

Pie Mosaic

I think of it often, probably just about every time I make a pie. And I think of my mom and how much I miss her and wish she was here to enjoy a slice of pie with me. Sometimes I cry but mostly I smile and feel such gratitude that I was able to learn to this from my mom. There is something incredibly soul satisfying and special about making a pie for someone you love. It takes time and effort and, for me, it’s a real gift from the heart. I’ve made pies for my family, for guests when I’ve entertained in my home, for friends when they have been sick or when they have had something to celebrate. I’ve shared countless pies with soldiers at Civil War reenactments and I’ve made pies to thank someone who has done something special for me. I make all the pies for our Thanksgiving feast every year and I consider it an honor and a blessing to do this. It connects me to my mom and to every pie baker out there and I think that’s a really amazing thing.

thanksgiving pies 2015 for carole knits

I don’t have a specific recipe to share with you but I do encourage you to check out my pie crust 101 post if you’re feeling intimidated about making crust. It can be a bit overwhelming but if you just think of it as flour, water and Crisco, well, that takes the pressure right off. I mean, seriously, if something goes wrong just throw it out and start over. That’s the key to my success – don’t stress about it.

pies for carole knits

Pie. Make one for someone you love. They will be grateful for it.

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This Post Has 20 Comments

  1. I didn’t know that your pie-making was a loving connection to your mother, but that makes your inheritance of the queen of pie crown even more special. All of your pies look beautiful and I’m sure they are wonderfully delicious also!

  2. So nice to check in with you daily and get a dose of sanity – amidst the disheartening swirl that has been out there the last 10 days.

  3. I learned to make pie crust from my grandmother. We did indeed throw away several less-than-perfect batches but once I finally got it, I loved to make pies for her and receive her complements. Thanks for the wonderful memory, My favorite pie is pumpkin and hey! it’s about that time. And now for sure I will be thinking of my grandmother all day.

  4. This is so beautiful! Not only the pies – but your memory of your mother. And, I am going to give your crust a try! Thank you so much for sharing XO

  5. Gotta admit it — pie crust freaks me RIGHT out. Someday – when I’m not under pressure – I’m going to try your pie crust 101, and I’m going to make it work! I love your pie-connection with your mom. <3 Such a wonderful way to honor her memory and invoke her presence in your life. (And I feel so very lucky that I've actually had the chance to experience one of your pies. Mmmmmmm!) XO

  6. I’ve got fear of pie crusts too and have thrown a few out in my day. Daniel loves pie and I’ve thought I should figure. it. out. My grandmother was a fantastic pie maker and I wish I’d known as a kid how much I’d want to know her secrets! You’ll have some good smiles in the coming days I’m sure with memories of your Mom.

  7. The pies are amazing. And the family secret for pie crust that was passed on to me is to always roll in one direction (which can sometimes mean a lot of rotating).

  8. What a beautiful connection with your mom! My mom did not like to cook and as a result, I learned to cook from my grandmothers. My grandmothers used the “crisco pie crust” recipe too, and I still use it today. When I make a pie, I always think of my grandmas.

  9. My mom made THE BEST pie crusts…. she tried to show me once…. and I have made my fair share of pies, but never anywhere near as good as her’s… which were, as you say, just flour, ICE COLD water, and crisco. She said the secret was move fast and don’t handle it too much. Maybe I’ll make a pie in her honor this year…. it’s been one year two days since she passed……

  10. Those pies all look yummy and I enjoyed reading the story of your first pie. I took some crust out of the freezer recently and really should move on doing something with it before it rots. You’ve inspired me today!

  11. Pie is my absolute most favorite dessert. It’s a good thing we don’t have Thanksgiving with you because I would be eating a slice of each kind of pie. Yummm–your pies look like works of art!

  12. What a beautiful memory Carole. Your recipe is exactly like the one I got from my Mom (except my Mom never put sugar in her crust) and your technique is identical. I’m on pie duty this year!

  13. You have earned the title of Pie Queen (and photo queen!). If I ever get to visit you again I would love to have a piece of pie made by you!

  14. Those pies look delish…how wonderful that you can carry on and share that great gift from your mother.
    Sure wish there was a way to get a taste via the Internet!

  15. That last photo is fantastic! Your pies are so pretty.
    My Mom guided task was the trimming of the forsythias. She had dementia but still didn’t want me butchering her forsythia. So she would stand at my elbow while I’d select a branch to trim always with a glance in her direction waiting for a her nod of approval. It took forever but oh how I cherish that time we spent together.

  16. What lovely memories, and I think you have done a great job stepping up to be the new pie queen. And mom always says Crisco is the only thing to make a pie crust with too…

  17. I love how food connects people past and present. and your pies, I know I’ve been saying this for years, but they are works of art, and of course they’re gifts of love. I only hope I get to taste one…someday! (that cranberry pecan one perhaps?!)

  18. I love pie so versatile. Andrew makes a delicious chicken pot pie. I have to say my favorite thing for Thanksgiving is the stuffing. Growing up in the south we always had cornbread dressing, but once I got married I was introduced to the delights of stuffing. I love the crunchy bits!

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