Fruit Butters

Fruit Butters

Saturday, April 10, 2010

As easy as pie...

Well not really, but I’m working on it. As we create our prepared foods line at our store, Farmers & Artisans, I decided we needed to start making pies. I spent my high school years watching my mom bake pies for a restaurant – apple, of course, cherry, strawberry-rhubarb, lemon meringue to name a few. She’d stack them in picnic baskets on wooden racks my dad made for her and transported them in the back of our big old station wagon. Mom used Grandma’s lard crust recipe that we swore and still do, makes the most flavorful flakiest crust. Ironically, we only occasionally had pie for dessert at the farm. My dad used to say the only way he could get a piece of pie was to go to the restaurant and buy a slice.

I decided I was going to carry on the family lard crust pie making tradition and sell them in the store. How hard could it be? Well, like everything else it’s all about simple, quality ingredients and good technique. The ingredient part is easy – we grow most of the fruit or get what we don’t have from other local farmers. We render the lard (aka cooking down the pig’s fat) in our large ovens at the store. I’m using flour milled in the Finger Lakes and organic spices, oatmeal and butter. Mom helped me with the crust mixing and edging techniques, and has passed down her favorite recipes. I’m using a dough roller at the store. That takes some practice. Sometimes I feel like Lucille Ball in the candy factory.

I have four pies now - apple, apple-elderberry, Concord grape, and cherry with almond crumb topping. Strawberry and strawberry-rhubarb are next on the list as soon as I can get our delicious local berries in June. I feel this small sense of accomplishment every time I cut my wheat design in the top crust. My grandmother would be proud.

Easy…no way… but so worth the effort.


  1. Hey Julie! Congrats on the pie making successes for the store. Pie making & baking is very rewarding because they don't take too long and smell fantastic while baking and are great to eat even if they don't come out perfect like "store bought!" And, who doesn't like pie a la'mode? (Just thinking about that makes me smile.)
    Keep up the blog, I just discovered it and enjoy your little stories.
    Sorry you cannot join us next week-I look fwd to seeing you soon...I have a project I'd like to get your imput on.
    Bill Metzgar 870-5718

  2. Great idea, Julie, those pies will sell out fast.

  3. Excellent pie, spectacular really. Now you have to branch out from just making those "single serving" sizes (at least for me). Yum.