If staying at Paws Up's glamping canvas tents weren't already enough of a reason to make the trek to Montana, now they are host a pie-baking camp called Upper Crust. Veteran pie whisperer Kate McDermott shares her secrets for making crusts and seasonal fillings.
Upper Crust is an all-inclusive culinary weekend at the Resort at Paws Up. Paws Up is a 37,000-acre working cattle ranch in western Montana. For accommodations you have your choice between luxury ranch homes and canvas safari-style tents on the banks of the Blackfoot river. To work up an appetite for pies, there is a plethora of activities including horseback riding, ATV tours, sporting clays, fly fishing, and many more. Rates for Upper Crust can be found on the Paws Up website.
The Upper Crust workshops take place at various locations around Paws Up. All the ingredients, recipes, and snacks are provided. It's a good thing they provide snacks because the aroma of a pie baking makes my stomach twist up in knots of hunger and anticipation.
Kate McDermott started perfecting her skills in the Art of the pie in the 1990's. In 2005, she did in-depth crust-making exploration by experimenting with different flours, fats, ratios, and recipes. If there's anything that I do well, it's have an appreciation for people who are passionate and have skills that I do not possess. The "camp counselors" for Upper Crust are master chefs themselves including Robin Leventhal, Dale Levitski, and Ben Jones. Each of them have impressive careers in the culinary arts. The other good news is after a day baking, in the evening you get to enjoy exquisite meals made by these same top chefs.
My love of pies goes back a long time. As a child, I started requesting to have pie on my birthday instead of cake. I'm a sucker for key lime and anything with "chocolate" or "cream" in the name. I'm not much of a baker myself, but the thought of being around "pie professionals" makes my mouth water just a little bit.