Thursday, August 22, 2013
This year, for whatever reason, our fruit trees are groaningly full. This isn’t always the case. In fact, if I’m being truthful, it’s never the case. We planted about 20 fruit trees about 20 years ago and while we’ve definitely had fruit over the years, it’s never been the abundant harvest we envisioned.
Until this year.
I’m not sure if it’s the fact that the trees are finally mature, or the heavy rains in late spring. Whatever the cause, the branches are literally breaking from the weight of peaches, apples, pears and quince.
Domenico has taken this as a sign to start a new hobby: jam making. Instead, I’ve turned to pies.
I wasn’t always so pie-ish. I too, like my sister Jodi, was pie-phobic. The whole crust thing just threw me for a loop, and so I turned to cobblers, crumbles, crostate and anything else that didn’t require rolling out dough with a rolling pin.
I was finally absolved of my pie fears by my friend Evan. While Evan is better known for her best selling cookbooks , her weekly radio show and her recently closed restaurant Angeli in LA, she has now become an official pie guru. What started out as a pie-a-day project a few summers ago has blossomed into a life- and pie-changing experience.
Full disclosure: Evan is one of my very best friends. And so I’ve had the great good luck to have many hands on pie tutorials here in my own kitchen in Todi. While a rolling pin used to instill a sense of dread and fear, it is now my friend. Thank you Evan for letting me see a tree full of fruit and immediately think ‘pie.’
Luckily, you too can have Evan come to your kitchen and preform a exorcism of your deepest and darkest pie-ish fears. You no longer need live with a scary pie demon in your head.
No, Dr. Pie is not making house calls. Instead, Evan has recorded a fantastic video pie class at a new site Craftsy. You’ll learn all about making the dough, rolling it out, and how to bake a pie. Just like having Evan in your kitchen.
So completely have I absorbed Evan’s lessons and techniques over the years, that I don’t really even have a recipe to leave you with today. For this rustic plum tart I used a basic dough recipe, and for the filling just picked enough fruit from the tree, and added a bit of sugar and flour.
You’ll notice that the photos of the pie itself are not so great. That is because first of all the pie was kind of a mess. Not the picture perfect pie you see on the cover of Martha Stewart. But I’m totally ok with that, since I’ve learned over the years that Evans pies are not always perfect looking either.
But they are fantastic tasting. Fluffy crusts and luscious fillings. So good - like this pie here - that I didn’t get a chance to take a real photograph with my camera (these are iPhone photos) until the pie was mostly eaten. It was that good.
So get yourself some flour and butter. And get yourself some great fruit. And then, the most important thing, get yourself some Evan.
To download Evan's The Art of the Pie Crust, follow this link, which will give you a special 25% discount.