By Ruth Topper
Are you planning a party for a graduation, milestone birthday, anniversary, house warming, or a “sending off” to a new city or college in the next few months? You might be looking to do something a little different from the backyard picnic or the cake & ice cream open house. I’d like to suggest an idea that my mother invented over 30 years ago – a pie party! She came up with the idea in 1976 when my oldest sister was leaving home to spend the bicentennial summer vacation season working at Mt. Rushmore. Mom wanted to have a “sending off” party for her, and she came up with the idea to make lots of different kinds of pies for friends and family to sample at this open house event. She and my sisters made the majority of the 20 different kinds of pies with a few being made by church members, family or friends. The secret for the guests in attendance is to cut very small pieces so that you can try as many different kinds as possible. This is an event where no one keeps track of the number of pies sampled – nor the calories that go along with it! Needless to say, the “pie party” was a huge success! Guests were soon asking when the next one was going to be! We continued to hold pie parties as my sister was “sent off” to Zion National Park the next summer and when I was confirmed at church another year.
The “pie party” was retired for awhile since it does require some work to make 15 or 20 different pies in a 24-48 hour time period! It was brought back, upon the request of my mother, to celebrate her 75th birthday in 1997. My sisters & I agreed to do it with the promise that she would help make the pies! She has held up her “end of the bargain” as she has celebrated her 75th, 80th, 85th and 90th birthdays with pie parties held at her church. (Perhaps this is the secret to her longevity! Also Happy 91st Birthday to my mom this week on May 29th!) I introduced the “pie party” to Gettysburg with the celebration of confirmation for my oldest son, Seth in 2010 and just last week with the confirmation of my daughter, Rachel. And yes, my mom came a few days early to help supervise and make the pies! Everyone thoroughly enjoyed trying samples of the 15 different kinds of pies we had to offer! One of our guests told me that this was the BEST kind of party to have!
So – what is your favorite kind of pie? See if you can find it here in the list of pies we had last week at Rachel’s Confirmation Celebration: apple, blueberry, cheesecake, cherry, chocolate pudding, coconut custard, peach, peanut butter, pecan, pumpkin, rhubarb strawberry, shoofly, strawberry, tollhouse and vanilla pudding. If you didn’t see your favorite listed – here are a few other pies that we have made in the past for our parties: banana mallow, butterscotch pudding, carmel, chocolate fudge, coconut crème, date crumb, lemon coconut, lemon meringue, lemon sponge, mandarin orange, mincemeat, out of this world, peach cranberry, pear cranberry and raisin crumb! Who knew there were so many different kinds of pie to choose from! Here is the recipe for a popular one in Pennsylvania “Dutch” Country:
Note: This recipe makes 2 pies!
Need: 2 pie crusts
Filling – 1 cup brown sugar
3 Tablespoons flour
2 cups hot water
½ cup molasses
1 beaten egg
Mix together & bring to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon baking soda and cool. Pour cooled mixture into 2 unbaked pie shells. Add crumbs before baking.
Crumbs – 2 cups unsifted flour
1 cup brown sugar
¼ cup Crisco
¼ cup butter
Mix and form crumbs.
Bake 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes or until done. Enjoy!
I bet you have an undeniable urge for some pie now – don’t you?! The problem will be…….which kind do you want? Share with us what your favorite kind of pie is. What makes it so special?