Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Pie Night...Beneath the Crust

Just for kicks and giggles, I thought it might be fun to make a behind the scenes documentary of what goes on during Pie Night preparation day.  

Let's be perfectly clear...I make no attempts to be either social, or amicable on that day...I am a self-described Pie Ninja. I psyche myself up the night before by baking the Deer Valley Cheesecake and the Carmel Pecan Cheesecake so the flavors have time to meld and become really yummy. Everything else is done fresh the day of the event...including all the pie crusts!  This year I made 16 different pies/deserts. I really have to get my mojo on to pull it off. So tie on an apron and follow along...here is how the day goes.

6:00 am  Wake up and post my facebook status "And today I am Pie Ninja...let the wild baking rumpus start"  Then a shower...breakfast...and that's it, no more personal time for the rest of the day.  None, nada, zilch!

7:00 am  Pop open my first of MANY Diet Cokes and start off with a bang making the layers for the Red Velvet Cake.  Chocolate Snowball is a flourless cake  that needs plenty of fridge time so it is next on the list.  I'm on a roll and quickly knock out a Banana Cream and a Pumpkin pie.   By this time I am feeling very confident as the day is coming together nicely.  I'm finishing up White Chocolate Vanilla Bean Banana Cream...ah...sounds almost as good as it tastes.  

10:00 am  My kitchen is beginning to look like a disaster zone.  I began the morning by proclaiming I'm going to be very clean and organized, Dean just laughs at me!  Pecan pie...check!

10:30am  Coconut Cream is next on the list.  For some reason my back is inexplicably beginning to ache. I immediately reach for the Vitamin I (Ibuprofin).  And look at me wearing an apron...that's a first!  My good friend Susie gifted this to me for my birthday!  

Pie Night requires multi tasking the multi tasks.  Yes I have been known to stir and whip at the same time.
I might not be a genius like the hubby says he is, but this is a pretty ingenious method for keeping track of what still needs to be baked.  And bonus... it's very satisfying watching the table fill up with pies as the clock ticks away.

11:00 am  Coconut Cream is out of the oven.  Killer Key Lime (a new recipe) is just finished and chillin' in the fridge.  Squeezing all those key limes makes me seriously crazy...all for the cause though...all for the cause!

11:00 am  Peach Pie with a Coconut Almond Topping. That's freshly squeezed lemon juice going in with the peaches. I only use the freshest ingredients, nothing from a box or a bottle.

This is my microplane zester...I've said it before...if you don't have one of these, go get one.  Right now, I'll wait! 
11:15 am  The doorbell rings and I answer it with pie crusty hands.  A nice man is holding a gorgeous Christmas wreath.  He announces "This is for you...enjoy!"  So kind, so thoughtful...a gift from friends who own a local garden store.  

Tears well up in our eyes as Dean and I delight in the thought that went into the creation of this gift.  The wreath is adorned with a pair of skis and my signature red snowflakes.  The snowflakes are in memory of Jocie and you'll find them just about everywhere in my Christmas decorations.

Isn't it beautiful?  Dean and I are incredibly touched by the gesture. 

12:00 pm  Amidst the surprise delivery, drilling into the fireplace and wreath hanging, I proceed to burn two pie crusts.  Who cares...it was worth it!

12:30 pm  Fresh blackberry pie, my personal favorite goes into the oven.  
12:45 pm  I get in a fight with the Cuisinart food processor blade...I lose...badly!  Yup, should have gone to get stitches...nope, I didn't go get them!

1:00 pm  Dishwasher extraordinaire does batch number 2 of a total 6 loads that will be washed this day.   In between office conference calls and sometimes when he's still on phone calls he cleans up after me!  Isn't he grand? 

2:00 pm When the pie was opened the birds began to sing,
Oh wasn't that a dainty dish to set before the king?

3:00 pm  The apples have been roasting in the Dutch oven for about 30 minutes, and are now scooped into the butter pie crust.  The house smells amazing at this point. Topped with a maple leaf snowflake top crust, into the oven goes Dutch Oven Apple pie.    

3:30 pm  The delicate creamy white butter frosting has been whipped exquisitely, chilled for exactly 15 minutes and now frosts the festive Red Velvet Cake.  

4:00 pm  Ding...!  Dean says this pie is "in jeopardy", meaning he is going to sneak a slice when I am not looking. This is the time of day that separates a true pie night baker from a pie night faker.  Time to push through to the finish line. Chocolate silk requires perfect temperature management both hot and then cold.  Fresh lemon meringue is a crowd favorite and must not be forgotten.

5:30 pm  Fresh blueberry pie with a woven lattice top crust is almost ready for baking.  At this point, the wound on my thumb is beginning to pulsate and feels like a bomb counting down to explosion. 

6:15 pm  Fresh baked blueberry pie aroma now mixes with the many other lingering delicious scents. This is when I usually hit the panic button...watching the minutes tick away and knowing I still have about a million things to do. Dean steps in and listens to me freak out, suggests we make a list...not as bad as I thought.

6:30 pm  Miss Francesca who flew in from New York City, has brought dinner over and shows us how a New Yorker eats pizza.  I wish I could wear a beret and look that cute!  I finally sit down for the first time since breakfast.  
7:00 pm  I have exactly 1 hour to top various pies with whipped cream, top the caramel pecan cheesecake with chocolate and caramel, make the raspberry sauce for the deer valley cheesecake, stir up the citrus water drink in the punchbowl, unwrap the paper plates and napkins, clean up the kitchen, arrange the display of pies, and oh yes... throw on a clean shirt and a smile.

8:00 pm  Time to relax, enjoy the company, and party like a rock star.  
I love Pie Night!

PS...It's midnight Dean and I have just finished cleaning up when I realize I haven't actually eaten ANY pie!



  1. completely amazing. And I love the way Dean supports you and vice versa-- you two have an incredible marriage.

  2. You are THE WOMAN! And don't you just love a man that unloads the dishwasher???

  3. Thanks for the behind the scenes look at the Pie Ninja in action and her supporting team member. Great job! I'm still dreaming of tasting that white chocolate banana cream...

  4. Lisa you are a pie ninja! Everything looked divine!

  5. I TOLD MYSELF NOT TO READ THIS! Because you, pie ninja kick me in groin. I love this tradition!! And love that you so graciously let Scotty and I copy you.
    Would you mind telling me...
    We sent out about 30 invites to couples. How many pies do you think I should make? Is banana cream still everyone's fave?

    LOOOOVE that wreath.

  6. I just thought I'd let you know that I'm up for adoption and would make a fantastic addition to your pie eating festival! :-)

    Once upon a time I commented aloud in the presence of a bestie who lives out east that someday I wanted to have a party with every kind of pie so that I could take one bite of each because I love pies so much and it's always so hard to choose which one when we go out.

    So imagine my surprise a couple years ago when, on the eve of my birthday, this bestie's sister (who lives in the area) rang my doorbell. I opened it to find her holding two enormous bags from Marie Calendar's---and they were filled with individual slices of every kind of pie.

    My kids and I set them all out on the table and sampled each and every one. There were even leftovers when my DH got home from a 30 hour shift the next day.

    Your pies are beautiful! And I'm sure they're tastier than MC's. What an amazing woman. ♥

  7. Thanks for your note. I hope you like Little Bee!

    I love all the fruit pies...just irresistible. But I also love pumpkin, and the chocolates (French Silk, ones with Oreo crust, chocolate peanut butter, etc). I love pies with creams and layers.

    So basically, I love them all...except for (random!) pecan (and honestly, I don't know why, because I adore nuts and caramel), custard, and rhubarb. Other than that, I'm completely game.