While many of us find solace in the form of a pint of ice cream, Beth M. Howard, pie baker extraordinaire, finds hers in a perfect slice of the flaky, fruit-filled heaven.
After reading her moving book, Making Piece: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Pie, about finding comfort in baking pies after a terrible loss, we thought to chat with Howard on the art of a good pie. Basically, her thoughts narrow down to this: stick to what you know.
When it comes to Thanksgiving, Howard believes it’s all about tradition and we have to agree. "Pilgrims made pie, they didn’t have a Cuisinart," says Howard. "Make your grandmother’s recipe; we don’t need the new, especially since pie is about traditions, as is Thanksgiving."
Here are Howard's tips of the trade:
• "When it comes to pumpkin pie, no can tell the difference between canned or fresh."
• Roll out your dough beforehand and freeze it so you’re one step ahead.
• When it comes to the holidays — especially Thanksgiving — keep your pies simple. "It’s a classic meal, so keep the recipe classic."
• "Apple pie is great for Thanksgiving for two reasons: It’s great for leftovers and it will make your house smell fantastic."
And when Howard's not making her own amazing pies, here are a few of the pies she is eating:
The Apple Pan (Los Angeles): "At this old-time burger joint, there is a Banana Crème Pie that’s all about the banana," Howard said.
Bipartisan Café (Portland, Ore.): "The Merry Berry Pie is the classic grandma pie — flaky and rich and comes highly recommended."
Pie Face (New York City) "When you walk in, there are all of these little pies that are smiling back at you. Their sweet and savory packs are a perfect gift."
According to Howard, the world needs more pies — which is exactly what she named her website. We couldn’t agree more. Head here for her blog and stay tuned for a recipe!