It seems eons ago since the last Pie Party. In truth, it was a year and a half ago and sadly Hurricane Sandy ripped through NYC days after that event. But with a renewed city and on an actual spring day Jackie Gordon and Ken Leung organized another fantastic event at GE Monogram Design Center on midtown's east side.
The GE Monogram Center is basically the dream kitchen of anyone who likes to cook and for those in the food blogger/media community it is Shangri-La. The anticipation for this event was building and with the Parade of Pies list on Ken's site lips were smacking staring at the compendium of what would be available.
Weeks leading up to Pie Party, attendees got emails from sponsors being overly generous in offering items to help us bake our pies. Butter and/or cheeses from Kerrygold. Utensils from OXO. Tupperware to pack leftover pies for later consumption from Snapware and that's in addition to the goodies provided from sponsors Anolon, Harvard Common Press, Dub Pies, Jarlsberg USA, Wüsthof (as well as OXO, Snapware, and Kerrygold). THANK YOU ALL for your kindness.
Upon entering the GE Monogram Center the staff was readily recognizable and decked out all in black ready to help. Need something heated? Done. Need extra serving materials? Done. Need your stuff put away? Arms out to take it for you. They were ready to help at a notice and even cleared away plates to wash/rinse off for you to take home. It was amazing how generous and professional everyone was.
There was a nice backdrop for anyone and everyone to take a picture of your pie. As Jackie said she wanted this year's Pie Party to be like the Oscars of Pie Parties!
Like last year savory pies were set along the window facing 58th Street and the sweets had a much larger display (needed) in the center of the establishment. Sponsors Anolon, Dub Pies, Wusthof, and Kerrygold set up shop inside where we could view (or really drool) over their presentation of goods and in the case of Jarlsberg, Kerrygold, and DUB Pies we got our pie pre-game on by eating cheese and crackers, fruit platters, mini DUB Pies (my fave beef and cheese was in attendance) while hors d'oeurves were also available from roaming GE Monogram staff. But don't fill up on snacks! There are PIES here! Savory was bumped up. A good deal available. I added to the savory mix again with a Tortilla Pie a la Martha Stewart since most of my materials were packed and I needed something easy and hearty to make. (Next year I'm thinking empanadas, if time permits.)
The sweets table steadily filled up with space being made every minute to accommodate the expanding array of desserts.
Chef Tageré gave a demonstration and praised Kerrygold butter as the butter to use for crusts. (As bloggers we couldn't agree more.) Then she revealed a fantastically delectable looking savory chicken pie with some cheese on top and we were antsy for that and other pies. And then...it was officially pie time! The masses ran or sauntered (some with a game plan already). I had my eye on the sweets from the minute I walked in but then Margaret had to bring a short rib pie and Sekita had to do crab cake pies so I quickly tasted those and then delved back to the sweet side. No regrets, friends.
First things first was getting those portable pies. Angela of Mind Over Batter's strawberry-cheese hand pies were like a homemade Pop-tart but ten times better because her crust was thick, sweet, flaky, buttery and perfect! Ken made a sweet and a savory pie and I got into that gorgeous tart before it was gone. His crust was also fantastic. There were gluten-free pies and cream pies and many, many more tarts. Colleen of Souffle Bombay and her daughter Samantha both made sweet tarts and I have to say I was lucky to taste Samantha's confection of a Blueberry Lemon Tart.
Susan of Girl in the Little Red Kitchen did a cookie pie with caramel with duck fat. Jennifer of Bake or Break brought a scrumptious nutty, brown sugar pie. Rhonda Kave of Roni-Sue's Chocolates in downtown Manhattan paid tribute to her daughter Allison's debut cookbook First Prize Pies by making her buttercrunch pie that was still warm from the oven and a gooey masterpiece! There was...So. Much. Pie. And you couldn't eat it all but it was gorgeous to look at and phenomenal to actually eat.
The crowd was happy, cheerful, and supportive everyone delving in. The savory side was practically demolished from Eryn's picnic pie to the large mac n' cheese pie with bacon topping to the guacamole pie and a nice quiche.
There was a vast amount of fruity tarts/pies especially Autumn's gluten-free plum pockets and Jackie's lemon bruleed gluten-free pie. And surprisingly not as much chocolate. Perhaps because spring was in the air, and it was humid, inspiration was more for summery/spring-like flavors.
To top it all off there were also the generous gift bags that newcomers to Pie Party were astounded by, more jaw drops. And there were temp tattoos from OXO (still have mine) and lots of giveaways for tweeting/instagram (using hashtags of course), and just all-around fun and appreciation to be surrounded by fantastic food and wonderful people in a lovely space.
I am already looking forward to the next Pie Party and am more than enthused about this one. I just had my leftover pies last night and regret that I couldn't have another piece of pie to indulge in. But there's always next time and it's Saturday, which means NYC Bake Sale is happening, now, so you KNOW there'll be sweets there.
I leave you with smiling faces...