Another year, another pie party. And for me, 2015 wouldn’t be complete without one. Once again, Jackie Gordon and Ken Leung were the organizers & MCs of a masterful event. I mean, the word ‘pie’ is in the name! If you’ve read my posts on this event from previous years you know that pie party is a gathering of the food writing/blogging community namely in sake of the almighty pie! Does it have a crust? Then yes it counts as pie-ish. It can be savory or it can be sweet. It can be gluten-free, vegetarian. It can come in mini form or ginormous size. It can have a thin crust with a bed of toppings or it can be encapsulated in dough with a delicious filling to bring the flavors home. Basically just bring something delicious and we’ll eat it.
My contribution was once again savory! This time a free-form onion tart. This wasn’t too hard to make either. Pre-make the dough and then morning of slice over 2 pounds of onions and cook with lots and lots of butter, some thyme, and a couple of scoops of crème fraiche (which I forgot). Roll out said crust then bake and you have yourself a tart! In my case not the prettiest of tarts but it was tasty y’all!
What also brings in the fun and camaraderie of Pie Party are the people and the fantastic and generous contributions from sponsors such as Cabot Creamery and King Arthur Flour so that there were high quality ingredients in this tart. Butter really does make a difference so putting two sticks of it in the crust and then a good amount in the onion sauté helps elevate the flavors entirely. And the crust was super easy to work with too thanks to the flour and method. Will I make this again? Damn straight. And I will remember the crème fraiche!
On a day that was completely gray skies, blistery winds, and rain it was cozy to come upstairs to the new Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) center and be surrounded by pie, Cabot cheese samples, many delicious hors d’oeuvres (they had mac n’ cheese bites!), and mix of fall themed drinks thanks to Reyka Vodka, Mizu Shochu, and Tequila Tromba.
The ICE staff were the epitome of kindness and professionalism helping us to heat pies, find plates large enough for some people’s tarts, and also serving those wonderful appetizers in a steady pie pre-game. Also on-hand was The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen’s (Susan Palmer) beef and chorizo empanadas. (I swiped several of those to take home, thank-you-very-much.) Add to that Cabot Cheese & Butter had samples of their apple pie with a cheese crust, and then there was the cheese station with crostinis and crackers and some fruit. Areas to try and win some goodies from such great culinary kitchen staples from Anolon, Wüsthof, or the Dub Pies station. Really Dub Pies has been a steady sponsor so I kind of keep an eye out for their minis since I was introduced to their goods at the very first pie party several years ago.
So, when did we actually get to the main course of the day? In due time my friends. Grab a drink. Get two, three even they’re themed drinks! Take a few photos of all the glory of pies. Put on an ICE jacket and take some selfies why don’t you for a chance to win a free class!
Okay, okay, yes, pie. The parade of pies were split by savory and sweet with them coming in at fifty-fifty in representation. In the sweet section some pies were melting. But, as I told several people even though I bemoaned the look of my own creation, “I don’t care how it looks, I just care how it tastes.”
After hors d’oeuvres and drinks I think my eyes were a bit bigger than my stomach. So much pie! Meat pies with oxtail or pork or duck confit (Thanks Experimental Gourmand)! And sweet! Since I had had my fill of the savory in the form of the cheese table and then some kick butt appetizers. I’m telling you those mac n’ cheese bits were something I honed in on. Whenever an ICE staff member was nearby with one my arm snapped out to grab a few. And once I found a plate of them it was all over. So when Jackie announced Pie Party was officially on I went straight to the sweets. No regrets friends.
Well, one regret is that I couldn’t eat more pie. I took home a conservative amount since I knew I would be out of town the following week. I had the ace Abby Dodge’s caramel apple pie that I, to this day, dream about. I perfectly folded galette crust with an interior that hit all the spots in terms of my craving for something sweet. I had Jeff of Foodmento’s lemon pistachio tart which, after much sugar and chocolate, was a citrus-y and light palate cleanser that I could’ve devoured in more than a couple bites. I also had someone’s pocket pumpkin pies with a cinnamon sugar glaze that was uber sweet. More contributions included Banoffee Pie from The Cake Dealer, a lovely strawberry tart from the ever creative and on point Daisy Bow, and a chocolate hazelnut torte by Kelly Vass I regret being unable to tackle due to the abundance of chocolatey goodness. So lovely and rich! And Jackie’s cupboard harvest pie was a literal pie with the words pie decorated all over. It was made of apricots, apples, currants, cranberries, and golden raisins. So consider your antioxidant intake fulfilled after a piece of this! It was just right as a mix of tartness and sweetness to truly hit the fell of fall.
On the savory spread my tart got demolished with a small portion left. Yay! There was Margaret’s Oxtail pie. The pictures she’d been posting the previous day and her contribution from last year was a short rib that was braised similarly. Consider that pie on point. I also enjoyed Kian Lam Kho’s Sichuan chicken hand pies. Day after and toasty warm it was delicious with or without the accompanying Sichuan dipping sauce. There was 4 cheese pie with tomatoes and leek pie and more hand pies. Pies with bacon! Pies with more and more cheese in various forms! Love. It.
At the end ICE provided a tour of their new digs for anyone willing. There was plenty of Dub Pies to go around and also some that they again generously provided in our goodie bags. Did I say goodie bag? Why yes I did! Those have also become a staple of Pie Party. Take home pie and get some pie-themed goods. Check out this swag, y’all!
I didn’t want to go home and walk back through the whipping winds and drizzling rain. I could’ve stayed at ICE all day and eaten pie, gabbed with my foodie peeps, some of whom I hadn’t seen in a long while and some I met for the first time in person, and had more of those mac n’ cheese balls if they were around. But it was time to go and we all got to take home a little bit of Pie Party with us, or a lot, I mean there was a lot of pie left, for next year. I personally cannot wait and now have an additional arsenal of goods to make my pie or tart or galette (whatever you wanna call it) to bring my A-game.
As always a HUGE THANKS to the kindness of sponsors like Anolon, Wusthof, Dub Pies, HalfPops, ICE, King Arthur Flour, Wild Hibiscus Tea, Honey Ridge Farms, Cabot, Tovolo Home, Mizu Schochu, Reyka Vodka, and Tequlia Tromba for making Pie Party the place to be for the local food writing community. We are indebted and now addicted to your respective products, you know, if we hadn’t been already.