When I was 21 years old, I won a blue ribbon in the Crawford County Fair for my cherry pie.
I donâ€™t think I have to tell anyone what a big deal this was. Crawford County is located in the south-east corner of Kansas. Farm country â€” small town – Crawford County folk take blue ribbons serious. There are women who spend most of the year perfecting their pickle and pie recipes, so not everyone was thrilled when a â€œyoung upstart from awayâ€ (me) pulled off a coup and took home the first prize.
I admit to being first time lucky. I made a great crust with an oil and not butter recipe, and donâ€™t tell anyone, I used canned cherry pie filling!
Still, it was that blue ribbon that gave me the confidence to continue making pies.
I used that particular oil pie crust recipe for years. I donâ€™t know where I got it. I had it memorized, thinking I would always know it, and then â€¦ Iâ€™m not sure when, but one day I forgot it. I couldnâ€™t make it. My ratio of flour and oil were off and it just wasnâ€™t the same. I didnâ€™t make pies for a while, and the ones I did, were okay, but not great.
Then, a few years ago when I was teaching in Massachusetts, I went to the home of Rachel Scherer and we made pie. Her recipe was terrific and foolproof. I wrote this one down and have been using it ever since. It doesnâ€™t use oil; it uses butter, a lot of butter, and â€¦ crisco! Probably what most Kansas housewives used in the early 70s.
The crust is flaky, yummy, and easy to make.
I made two pies this last weekend for Thanksgiving, blueberry and pumpkin. Tonight with the left over pie crust dough – I made blue ribbon pie crust cookies.
Pie is tradition, and pie crust cookies are a throw back to my mom.
Food and memories â€” we all have them.