I think I have mentioned a time or three that my mom is a great baker. She always has been. Maybe her family’s generations of Southern cooking absorbed into her blood and makes everything she bakes extra special.
Pies have been one of her specialties for as long as I can remember. More recently (though still many years ago,) she started making mini-pies for our annual family reunion. Do you recall eating chicken pot pies when you were a child out of those shiny little metal pans several inches across? She uses tins that size to make her mini-pies, so you can visualize how big they are.
A recipe for the filling in one normal pie provides the filling for about five of these pies. In other words, each pie is a little bit larger than one regular slice of pie – but that has never stopped me from eating an entire mini chess pie or brownie pecan pie in one sitting!
Every August, she makes 8-10 flavors, and 15-20 pies for each flavor. Since she can’t make them all in one day, she starts by making and freezing the pie shells in advance, and then spends a couple days filling the shells with fillings which will travel well. It always includes several types of fruit pies, pecan, other favorites such as the aforementioned chess and brownie pecan, and sometimes a new recipe she decides to try.
The family members (who are usually three-deep snagging these pies off the table) like to know what they are grabbing, so she always labels each individual pie. In the past, she wrote each label by hand. You can imagine how laborious this got, especially for a woman in her eighties. So a few years ago, I printed out sheets of labels for the different types of pies and took them up on the Friday before the reunion. I helped her put the little pies in small bags and attach the labels.
Now, I have a standing date on the first Friday of every August to do this. I already printed out the additional labels she needs this year. Tomorrow afternoon, I’ll take them by my mom, and will put them on all of the little pies which will be covering her dining room table when I get there. It’s a win-win for both of us. She gets help packaging the pies, and I get first dibs at taking some pies home with me. I guess this is a part of our own family history now.
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