12.08.2011

Traveling Pies

No, not pies that travel from one's palm to another's face. More like, "Over the river and through the woods to Cousins' house we go..."

The week before Halloween Sister-in-law Amy called to discuss Thanksgiving. She intended, upon arrival from the Washingtion D.C. area, to bake four pies from scratch. I was in full support of her plan as I am most plans involving dessert, but was preoccupied, searching for a previously-worn Indiana Jones costume for one of my sons. I promised to revisit the subject on or after November 1.

So early November pie discussion resumed. Two apple, two chocolate mousse, maybe one, does anyone even eat pumpkin pie? Frozen pie crusts, definitely. Haagen Daz vanilla for the apple, whipped cream for the mousse. Ask the apple people at the Farmers Market, "Which ones for pie?" And finally, when to bake them? Time would be tight, but failure was not an option.

Wednesday morning we prepared the apple pies at our house to be baked at my dad and stepmom's where there are two ovens, saving about 90 minutes. Transporting the raw dessert was a piece of cake: put the pies on a tray, put Aunt Amy in the cramped third row of our mid-sized SUV, and put the tray on Auntie's lap. Drive 40 minutes to destination. No stopping short.

But there was some stopping and accelerating, after all. As sugary-buttery liquid dripped from the pans Amy winced and wondered, how will seepage affect the final product? In 24 hours we would know.

Meanwhile the chocolate mousse pies, which she baked at my mother's house in the afternoon, were transported in the trunk of my dad's car, stored overnight at his house, and brought to cousin's the next day.

Did I forget to mention the pumpkin? Ah yes, we polled the crowd Wednesday night and determined pumpkin pie must show. So Thursday morning two bakers who never baked such a pie went for it. We transported numbers five and six (are you counting? that's six, not four, pies in all) from our house to our cousin's on a tray, on Aunt Amy's lap. This time I insisted she sit in the second row.

In the end all that remained was one pumpkin pie, 3/4 of a chocolate mousse, and 1/2 an apple. Amy voiced that perhaps one of each would have sufficed.

I shook my head. "Are you crazy? Can you imagine looking to see what's left and seeing only that?" I said, motioning toward the empty pie pans. "Tragic. That would have been just tragic."

"I agree," a cousin chimed in. "You don't want people holding back because they're worried there isn't going to be enough."

That's exactly right. No holding back. Not on Thanksgiving. Especially when it comes to pies that have travelled so far.