January 23 is NATIONAL PIE DAY. Read my essay in GUIDEPOSTS for a little inspiration to bake–and share–pie.
Beth’s bestselling pie cookbook, “Ms. American Pie: Buttery Good Pie Recipes and Bold Tales from the American Gothic House,” was released by Race Point Publishing on April 16, 2014. It went into its second printing after just 2 weeks and has reached #1 on several bestseller lists.
Watch Beth’s TEDxDes Moines talk online
Looking for the Pitchfork Pie Stand in the American Gothic House?
It’s true. We are closed. Go to this page to learn why. Didn’t make it to the pie stand? Make your own pie using Beth’s buttery good recipes from her cookbook, “MS. AMERICAN PIE.” For regular updates, follow us on Facebook.
Read Beth’s Book — “Making Piece: A Memoir of Love, Loss & Pie”
To read an excerpt, go to our Books page.
Pie for Newtown: Ease the Grief
From Dec. 18 to 21, 2012, our team of volunteer pie makers & pie servers from New Jersey, New York, Georgia, Illinois and Iowa, handed out 240 pies in Newtown, Connecticut, giving slices and whole pies to funeral receptions, grieving families and town residents after the tragic shooting. We taught pie making to students at the high school and to kids of Sandy Hook, all supported by your generous donations for RV gas and pie ingredients. To help with the ongoing grieving process, Beth returned to Newtown March 4 to 9, 2013, to teach more pie classes to the community and give a talk at the C.H. Booth Library. Articles about our experiences can be found on the NEWS page on this site. Follow our continuing compassion-filled journey on Facebook. For ongoing support to Newtown grief counseling, please donate directly to the Newtown Parent Connection.
The World Needs More Pie. More Than a Philosophy.
In 2001, at the height of the dot com boom, Beth Howard quit a lucrative web producing job to bake pies at a gourmet deli in Malibu, California. While she enjoyed her newfound status as “pie baker to the stars” she couldn’t pay her rent on her baker’s salary. Still, she recognized how happy pie made people — watching Robert Downey Jr. devour her apple piewas proof enough! — and Howard knew there was no turning back. In her PIE BAKING CLASSES she teaches groups how to make pie. In her BLOG she writes stories about living the pie-life. Her book, “Making Piece: A Memoir of Love, Loss and Pie” the story of how pie helped her heal from the death of her 43-year-old husband, is available in bookstores. Her cookbook, “Ms. American Pie,” published April 2014, has 80 pie recipes and packs in more stories about her pie philosophy and how she believes pie can heal, comfort, teach, and even seduce. Howard lived in Eldon, Iowa, where for four years (2010 to 2014) she was the proud and privileged resident of the famous AMERICAN GOTHIC HOUSE where she sold pie to tourists from her wildly popular PITCHFORK PIE STAND, taught pie-making classes, and wrote two books.
Healing the world, one pie at a time.
While we Americans like to think we invented pie, it did not originate with the pilgrims. Though we agree, it was an inspired notion to bake pie as a peace offering and create a holiday centered around it! We love Thanksgiving. Pie, however, has been around since medieval times with its history first documented in Egypt, and the first pie recipe recorded in Greece. Pie originated as a sort of Tupperware of its time, the dough an inedible wrapper to preserve and transport meat. Mayflower passengers, practical travelers who recognized the hardiness (and heartiness) of the dish, brought pie to America, where recipes evolved and multiplied as quickly as the population of the new nation. Today’s pie crust is flaky, buttery and melts in your mouth, with myriad fillings — berries, nuts, veggies, eggs, just about anything that can fit in a pie plate. Pie is accessible, affordable, all-encompassing. Pie is meant for sharing. Pie connects people. Pie knows no cultural or political boundaries. Pie makes people happy. And happy people make the world a better place. That’s why the world needs more pie.
Shaker Lemon Pie Recipe
This is just one of the many mouth-watering recipes in my cookbook, “Ms. American Pie.” But not only is it GOOD, it’s as EASY to make as…you know what.
2 large lemons (Meyer lemons if you can find them, but works with any kind)
2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 eggs (beaten)
3 tablespoons flour
Dough for one double-crust pie (crust recipe below)
Wash and dry whole lemons. Using a mandoline (serrated knife works too), slice lemons paper thin into a large bowl. (Remove seeds.) Stir in sugar, cover, and set aside at room temperature overnight.
Mix lemon-sugar mixture with beaten eggs, salt and flour. Pour in pie shell. Cover with top crust, brush with beaten egg, poke with vent holes.
Bake at 425°F. for 20 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 375°F. and bake for 25 to 30 minutes more.
BASIC PIE CRUST
2-1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup Crisco
Dash of salt
Ice water (fill one cup but use only enough to moisten dough)
In a deep bowl, work the butter and shortening into the flour with your hands until you see marble-sized lumps form. Add ice water a little at a time, sort of “fluffing” the flour. When the dough feels moistened enough do a “squeeze test” and when it holds together you’re done. Do not overwork the dough! It takes very little time and you’ll be tempted to keep touching it, but don’t! Now divide the dough in two, form each half into a disk shape and roll flat and thin to fit your pie dish. Sprinkle flour under and on top of your dough to keep it from sticking to your rolling surface. Trim excess dough to about 1 inch from the dish edge with a scissors, leaving enough dough to make crimped, fluted edge.