The Pie Listener

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We had a busy few days getting things cleaned up and hidden so that the house would be presentable enough for company.  The biggest job was cleaning all the drywall dust off of the floors and out of every nook and cranny.  It's not all bad though, my fitness magazine came in the mail and it said that scrubbing floors burns 122 calories in 30 minutes.  That put me at about 2,000 calories just from floor scrubbing.  It didn't say if I got bonus points for being on my hands and knees, so it might have been even more.

Good thing too, because Saturday evening we had a pie baking class with the pie pro.  I am sure I ate back all the calories I had burned off scrubbing floors.

Ever since I read an article in Saveur magazine about Kate McDermott's pie I've wanted to take a class from her.  A few months ago I told my husband that the next time the pie class schedule came out, I was signing us up and we were flying to Seattle.

Well, the schedule came out and there was a class here in San Francisco!  As a bonus we would be bringing pie home from class; perfect timing for our Easter dessert.

Class was held in a private home with a lovely kitchen.  Stations were set up around the counter and we alternately watched Kate demonstrate a few steps and then we would go to our stations to try and duplicate her work.

Our class made four lovely pies that were popped into the oven.
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While they baked we tried two versions of rhubarb pie that Kate had baked for us.  Each was made with a different flour and brand of lard.  I liked them both but you really could taste the difference. We ate and talked pie and learned all sorts of tricks to help with filling thickening - a particular problem of mine - tricks to baking an apple pie without a cavern under the top crust, if that sort of thing bothers you, and tasty additions that will make your pie eaters wonder just what that secret something is that makes your pie taste so good.

As the pies came out of the oven we learned what to look at and what to listen for to determine if the pie is done.  As we took turns listening to the crust sizzle and the filling bubble my husband leaned over and said that Kate was really "the pie listener".  I think he was right.

Only a really good teacher could get four novice bakers to turn out such beautiful looking pies.
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And here we are as official graduates of the Art of the Pie.
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Our pies were dubbed delicious by our Sunday guests.  Even after a huge meal every dessert plate was scraped clean.  

That is good pie!

- - marcella

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