Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Pie Challenge - #2

Today I made a Fairfax Pie.

Now, maybe you're thinking to yourself, "Well, that doesn't seem like so much of a challenge."

Let me tell you something - there is no such thing as a Fairfax Pie.

Note to self: Filter suggests from Erin Persaud.

Why I would choose to make a pie that is inspired by Fairfax, VA? I don't know. I must have been having an optimistic moment. I can't imagine a more difficult pie to make.

When I think of Fairfax, what do I think of? Traffic? Overcrowding? Yes, I could have dumped a ton of blueberries into a pie and said that the crowded berries reminded me of home, but that's not good enough. "Think deeper," I told myself. George Mason University - a green and yellow pie? Nah. A Patriot pie? What would that be? Red, white, and blue? Again, nah.

So, I started researching this great land. I think I actually read about three hours worth of Fairfax history. I read about confederate commander John S. Mosby capturing three Union officers. No pies there. I read about the old Courthouse being in modern day Tyson's Corner, and Gallows Road being so named due to the road the prisoners walked to get to the gallows. A little too morbid for a pie there. I studied George Mason, himself, and looked up foods he might have eaten on his plantation. Nothing worthy of this pie challenge.

Finally, I decided to look up the historical sites in Fairfax county. While searching, I came across Colvin Run Mill. This mill has been in operation since 1811. While reading about this cool historical site, I came across something called a dusty.


A dusty is a hand held pie, taking a crescent shape, normally made with flour ground at the mill and filled with preserves. I didn't use flour ground at the mill, because they were closed on Tuesdays (really though, they sell flour, grits, cornmeal - Awesome!). I also didn't use preserves because I wanted to find something more authentic to Fairfax, and I didn't want to cheat with a jar from the grocery store.

So, back to the drawing board. What fruit is Fairfax? Well, plums are natives. So, plums it was!

And, boy, did they open my eyes to a new love for this county that I call home! Slightly tart, reminding me of the unending traffic and annoyances of suburban life, but ultimately delicious, just like home.

Fairfax, Virginia: Good enough for pie, good enough for me.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Pie Challenge - #1

So the challenge has begun, and the first pie has been made, and eaten. It was delicious, too!

I decided to start the challenge off with something that could actually pose a bit of a, well, challenge. I took my inspiration from Erin's entry, the Farmer's Market.

Now, you might be thinking, "Oh, yeah, that's really hard (insert sarcasm)."

But to be completely honest, I don't know too many farmer's markets in Northern Virginia that carry much other and lettuces and strawberries at the end of May.

But I packed up and headed to the Fairfax market in hopes of finding something I could turn into a pie.

And I struck gold. No, I didn't buy peaches from the obnoxious stand at the end that sells peaces in March (ok, the market isn't open in March, but I don't trust their early peaches - yes, maybe they have a greenhouse, but I doubt it). My gold was found in the form of apples.

Apples overwinter pretty well, if kept in a cool place, and the stand that I like that travels here from the Gettysburg area had a few bushels of them. I bought 2 big ones and 2 quarts of strawberries.

Putting this all together into a pie that would taste good was where the challenge took on it's second challenge. I have no recipe for an apple strawberry pie and I didn't want to just throw strawberries into an apple pie. That would be boring, and that's not what I do (remember the jalapeno jelly pie? huh? huh?). Well, I could do that, but not for the challenge, at least.

So I tried something. I sauteed the apples in some butter and apple brandy then added the strawberries before popping the whole she-bang into a partially pre-baked pie crust that I whipped up. I added some more crust shapes to the top and tossed her back into the oven for about 30 minutes.

It came out beautifully and tasted wonderful. Different from plain strawberry or plain apple. It was mmm...mmm...good! And it didn't last long.

What a wonderful Memorial Day treat!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Results Night

Well, your results are in, and they sound delicious. I know, I know. How can a place sound delicious? Well, for one, Hershey... Come on, right there - that's already sounding delicious.

Anyway, I've received quite a few places from you all, but unfortunately, I can't make all of them for the challenge. I could make them all, and I guess it would be a bit of a challenge, but really, I said 15. I've got to stand my ground here.

Yes 22 pies would be better than 15 - of that, I have no doubt; however, I have a very lovely wedding dress to step into in about 5 months that might disagree.

So, without further ado, here are your 15 finalists:

1. Emerald City

2. San Francisco

3. Honeymoon

4. Farm

5. Fairfax, VA

6. Denver, CO

7. Farmer's Market

8. Gotham City

9. Maycomb, AL

10. Hershey, PA

11. South Florida

12. Mackinac Island, MI

13. New Orleans, LA

14. Hogwarts

15. Candy Land

Now, these are not in any particular order and I will not be telling you now what your final 'destination' will look like. You'll just have to check in each week this summer to find out!

Please remember: Any and all of these pies can be remade and sold to you, by me, your (possibly) local pie maker. ...unless the pie is disgusting - then I'll say no. Like last summer's epic failure: The Whoopie Pie Pie... Gross! Who would have thought?

Anyway, Have a happy Memorial Day weekend. I will; I'll be eating pie. Yum. Oh, and if you're in the neighborhood, stop on by; There's always time for a slice.