I opened my Pitchfork Pie Stand at the American Gothic House two and a half weeks ago and have been reminded that making pie in large volumes requires more than my usual two tools of a rolling pin and a mixing bowl. I have also discovered some new, indispensable items…some you can purchase, some you cannot.
1) Transport Vehicle (er, preferably a station wagon or pick up truck)
First, you need a vehicle to transport supplies. A big vehicle. While I am madly in love with my Mini Cooper, I have had to make multiple trips to the city in order to haul the 50-pound bags of flour and sugar required for baking pies for a business. Not to mention, 50 pounds of apples, pictured below. Maybe I should have let my car salesman talk me into the Mini Cooper Clubman after all.
What pie baker’s rock have I been living under all these years? How could I have not known about this apple peeler/corer/slicer device?! Seriously, I’ve been making pie for 30 years… Even the Amish, who don’t have Internet or phones, have been using these since they were invented. Which was probably around 200 BC.
Eldon is a small town (pop. 998) so word travels fast. When Priscilla Coffman heard I was opening my pie stand and would be baking 10 pies for my first day of Saturday business she showed up like a Fairy Godmother at my back door early Friday morning with a box. “I thought you might need this,” she said, and then proceeded to demonstrate how this simple yet genius contraption works. (That’s Priscilla doing the demo below.) You skewer the apple onto the prongs, lining up the stems with the corresponding holes, and then just turn the handle. The peelings come off in one long skinny strip, the apple is evenly sliced, and the core stays behind on the prongs when you pull off your skinned apple. Amazing! Miraculous! And speedy! How did I ever live without this?
3) Fairy Godmother
See Priscilla Coffman above. True to form, she just brought me basket full of pears tonight, fresh from her 30-acre property. Yes, I will be looking for a pear pie recipe. From the cookbook she loaned me. (The endless generosity of the people here in Eldon never ceases to impress me.)