The Farmer's Market has begun and boy, is it HOT. We have a tent this year, and we move it around constantly, chasing the shade! It is so much hotter than last year. This year we are trying a few different things with great success, one of which is healthy salad type items that you can take home, or eat right there in the little park or in my shop. Another has been whimsical and beautifully decorated sugar cookies. Last week we had flowers, butterflies and hummingbirds. The children love them and so do the moms. (Speaking of hummingbirds, I was out photographing those darling bluebirds with which I am so enamored, hiding in the flowers like a real National Geographic photographer and a hummingbird flew up beside me and we looked each other right in the eyes. I kid you not. It was a real Snow White moment.) We are going to try crepes the week after next. Let me know your vote on this. We will not be there next week because I will be taking Jake to college orientation. Do you think crepes would be something you would like to see? I know they were quite a hit at the Taste of Roanoke !
I would like to explain the difference between a $9.00 pie and a $35.00 pie. A $9.00 pie has a crust that is perfect fluted. A homemade crust would have some type of flaws, some smaller fluting on this side or a broken piece on that, no matter how careful the baker., because it is not made by a machine dropping it into a pie plate on a conveyor belt. That is a purchased, store bought crust, probably frozen from Gordon's or from some place bought in bulk like Sam's. Perhaps it is baked in the actual container in which it is bought. The filling must be canned or frozen, because a container of fresh berries, even in season, and not organic, large enough for a pie is at least $5-6.00. Then you have the sugar, vanilla , butter, cinnamon, etc that most people would put in. I bought one of these pies for comparison. It was concave. It was half burned. It was only 8" and it was not something I would want to eat nor serve my guests.
A $35.00, or a fine pie, is made from scratch, with real butter, and with great care. It is often a lattice crust, woven, as you can see, over and under, like a rug. That takes time and skill. Or it is done in a pattern, like leaves, or like roping or braiding along the sides. Crust is dicey; it is not easy to braid an crust! But it makes a beautiful pie. Desserts are really half about the presentation, or at least they should be. The early settlers were spread out over far distances and the women took great pride in their pies and cakes at get-togethers. Contests were begun and fairs were started--the cake walk, the pie eating contest, 4 --H, you get it.... The filling should be made with the freshest ingredients and as local as possible. Some pies, such as fruit pies can be pretty simple, but each gourmand takes the opportunity to elevate his or hers by the addition of a bit of citrus such as orange or lemon, or spices, such as my favorite, cinnamon, and then, of course vanilla. Then you have the more complicated pies, such as the lemon or lime curds, or the awe-inspiring meringues that take skill and patience. For example. I made a tart this last Saturday. It had a pate brisee crust, a layer of raspberry jam, a layer of homemade lemon curd, then a layer of raspberries, pointed ends up, all dusted with confectioner's sugar. It was beautiful and tasted sublime. That is the difference. I think you know which one you want to put in your body if you are going to indulge.