COLUMN: A baking contest at the library… easy as pie!

If you have been waiting for a chance to show off your skills, it’s time to flour your rolling pin

If something is capable of being done with little or no difficulty, the old term is that it’s“as easy as pie.”

When you are trying to bake pie from scratch, it’s not always simple or easy. Especially if you had a grandmother like I did, who was an extraordinary pastry chef.

Her apple pie filling was second to none, and the pastry was always flaky and tender.

There was no real secret to her crust ingredients, flour, salt, vinegar, egg and water, but a lot of her success was in the technique.

As hard as I try, my pastry does not compare and maybe never will, but I am practicing!

I began by scouring cookbooks and experimenting with different recipes. Each promising that it was a “No Fail” pastry crust.

Well, I proved that theory wrong several times. However, I think I finally found a reliable recipe that is flaky and tastes good. Two important aspects when you bake a pie.

Perhaps you have inherited a pie recipe that is tried and true?

You might also have a kitchen full of Okanagan fruit just waiting to be turned into a sweet, bubbling filling. Peaches, plums, apples or cherries. How about pumpkin, walnuts or pears?

If you have been waiting for a chance to show off your pie baking skills, then it’s time to flour your rolling pin.

Pick up an entry form at the Summerland Library for our “Bounty of the Orchard” pie baking contest and help us celebrate Culture Days.

Deliver your pie to the library after 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 30.

Judging begins at 3 p.m. and there are some great prizes as well as ribbons to be won.

Join us afterwards for a slice of these fruit pies and a cup of coffee or tea for $3 with proceeds going to the Friends of the Library.

If you need some inspiration for a pie recipe to impress the judges, we have the cookbooks for that.

My all time favourite is Pies and Crisps by the editors of Fine Cooking. They teach you in six easy steps how to weave a lattice for a beautiful cherry pie.

How about a spiced pear pie flavoured with warm ginger and nutmeg. That delicious recipe can be found in The Southern Pie Book by Jan Moon.

Step outside of the traditional apple pie and try the nectarine and lavender crostata, a unique recipe found in Ashley English’s A Year of Pies.

Still need a confidence boost in the kitchen? The cookbook, How to Build a Better Pie, by Millicent Souris will help.

She teaches old school techniques for modern times, and that practice is the key to success.

Whether you choose to bake a single crust, double crust, or galette style for our contest, we want your imagination to run wild. Just make sure to use fruit, berries or nuts from an Okanagan orchard.

I doubt there is a farmer who wouldn’t jump off the tractor for a piece of homemade pie!

Caroline McKay is an Assistant Community Librarian at the Summerland Branch of the Okanagan Regional Library.

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