In connection with my studies last year, I spent a prolonged time away from my kitchen. The result was a strong desire to master something I until then hadn’t tried my hand at. Pies. So over the past year I have learned to make different kinds of pastry and experimented with many kinds of fillings.
Pies are wonderful, especially this time of year. Hot, savoury pies, with a crisp crust can reach corners of my soul I didn’t know needed comforting. Sweet, delicate, spicy pies full of fruits, berries and nuts bring me a happiness that is simple and pure. It’s safe to say I love pies as much as I love making them.
Did you know that the ancient Egyptians made pies? They were usually sweet pies, made with a pastry from locally available grains. The ancient Greeks and Romans used both sweet and savoury pies with great success. The word pie (or should I say pye) was first used in English around the 13th century. Some of the classic pies we love today such as steak & kidney pie (if you’re British at least) came about in the past couple of centuries. Apple pie is a few of centuries older. Pie is a historical food, both in the sense that it’s been around for ages, and in the sense that it’s always improved upon and innovated.
I’m tucking into my freshly baked and steaming hot apple pie made with a mixture local organic produce and exotic spices found on faraway travels. I can feel a connection with all the pie cooks before me that is quite magical, it’s a sacred community of cooks going through the same processes that I am. I can feel the joy of creativity and the pride of ability.
By now I’ve found my favourite pastry recipes – for a savoury pie it’s a spelt and emmer mix, and for a sweet pie it’s a spiced spelt pastry. I’ve got a pie funnel – the traditional blackbird. Do you know the nursery rhyme? “Sing a song of sixpence, A pocket full of rye. Four and twenty blackbirds, Baked in pie.” For the filling I’m exploring with a variety of local produce that I can get my hands on such as greens, smoked salmon and fresh cod, or chicken, mushroom and olives. I’m eager to try a sweet pie with dried figs, perhaps spicing up some local plums.
The Pie is important to me because it represents a goal that I set myself and that I have achieved. That’s good because every time I make a pie, and eat it, I am reminded that this is a new skill that I have gained. If I get overwhelmed with seemingly unachievable tasks at work, reminding myself of the pie can serve to ground me and reassure me that I can do anything if I work at it. If I know I’ve got a hard day ahead of me I might bring some pie for lunch as a reminder of the comforts of home. So as we’re headed into the dark season here in Norway, it seems pie has become my latest magical tool.
What’s your favourite pie?
Finding the community of Cycle Harmony has made a huge difference to me. I am delighted to be writing to you from the Red Tent and hope to share thoughts and experiences you recognise, or find useful to ponder upon. I look forward to working with you all in exploring what it is to be women, and hope to hear from you. ~ Vild