Tejate Festival West La

It's pie week officially, and last year at this time I was madly trying to get my s&@$ together for the Kcrw Good Food contest. This year has been so awesome, so full of pie and new friends.

Today, far away from the pie crazies of last year, I dragged my husband and a friend to the Tejate Festival happening in West LA.

Sometime around last Wednesday, I noticed an abuelita at the back gate of Gjelina Take Away asking for ashes from the pizza oven... Sure, I said, but for what? Some of my kitchen guys were around and they told me about the Tejate- a cold drink from Oaxaca made from corn, cacao, cacao flowers and sometimes ashes. Turns out there was a contest happening between descendants of different pueblas for who made the most authentic Tejate.

We arrived at the park to see booths lined up with women and men in full costume grinding corn and whipping coconut and corn together for the Tejate. The colors were amazing, the different braids all the women wore... So beautiful.

It was HOT HOT HOT so thank Jesus Christo that Tejate is a cold drink. It's also a bit alarming to the western palate. It's ashy, gritty, sweet, bitter... It's kinda weird! But we found ourselves drinking it, and drinking more of it. It was sort of like unrefined almond milk.

Best part of the day besides seeing a few families of coworkers was eating a huge clayuda with three kinds of meat. I love pie, but I am glad it was not pie...

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The Perfect Pie

After the KCRW Good Food Pie Contest, and the winning... all the winning.... I felt that I was possibly ready to put my pies up against some professional pie makers. You can read about my journey to the National Pie Championship here, here and here... but I know what you REALLY want to know is the recipe for that winning pie.

I'll get to that...

It's summer and apples are probably not the first fruit that comes to mind. I undertand completely, I look forward to apples showing up when the weather cools down and the days get shorter. Right now in LA we just started receiving the first of a weirdo summer crop of apples, and they are pretty nice for baking! Windrose Farms has some amazingly named "Strawberry Parfait" apples and other varieties are coming in slowly. If I were you, I'd go to the Farmer's Market and choose two types - one sweet and one tart and try your hand at the recipe below.

Don't forget to enter the KCRW Good Food Pie Contest

Gjelina’s Apple Pie by Nicole Mournian

 

 

2 14 oz. portions of Gjelina's Pie Dough, well chilled (not
frozen)

 

6 medium-large Black Arkansas or Honey Crisp Apples

 

3 c. cooked pink lady apples 

 

3/4 c. granulated sugar 1 TBSP sugar

 

4 TBSP flour

 

Pinch of salt

 

½ tsp cinnamon

 

½ tsp nutmeg

 

1 TBSP ginger syrup

 

1 TBSP butter, chilled

 

1/4 c heavy cream reserved for the crust

 

 

Mix all ingredients except for the cream and 1 TBSP sugar
together and place in your bottom crust. Paint the edges of the crust with the
heavy cream.

 

Lay the top crust on a floured board and slice into 1 inch
thick strips. Lattice them on top of the apples.

 

Brush the lattice generously with heavy cream. Sprinkle with
1 tbsp. of fine sugar.

 

Crimp with your fingers or seal with a fork, your choice.
Place the whole pie in the freezer for 10 minutes while you heat an oven to 375
degrees.

 

Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes and then turn the oven
down to 325 for the last 30-45 minutes. You know it's done when it's golden
brown and a little thickened juice comes lattice.

 

Cool for at least two hours before cutting.

KCRW Good Food Pie Contest

It's that time of year again, the Good Food Pie Contest - remember the one I WON last year? It was the catalyst for so many things! So many wonderful things! 

As inspiration, I've decided to post some of my winning recipes. Please use them as a starting ground fro your own pie exploration - the recipe is only as good as the hand that makes it, and so I encourage you to try these more than once to get comfortable with the craft.  

If you want to listen to Evan Kleiman and I talk about pie, head over here and here and enjoy the discussion.  

The recipe for today will be the winning pie in the fruit category - Blueberry Blackberry Pie. For the KCRW contest I was able to use Huckleberries - a real treat if you can find them, but they will most likely not be available until just before the September contest. Make it with blueberries!  


Black and Blue Ginger Pie 

2 14 oz. portions of Gjelina's Pie Dough, well chilled (not frozen)

3 c. blackberries

3 c. blueberries

3/4 c. granulated sugar

1/4 c. + 1TBSP flour

juice of one lemon

Pinch of salt

1/4 c. of ginger syrup ( we make our own by boiling ginger root in simple syrup, but I know ready made is available at gourmet shops now. Look for it by the Italian soda syrups. You can substitute chopped candied ginger for a real kick)

1/4 c heavy cream reserved for the crust

Mix all ingredients except for the cream together and place in your bottom crust. Paint the edges of the crust with the heavy cream.

Lay the top crust on and use your palm to press the edges together to seal it. Fold the edges under to create a nice fat lip around the pie.

Paint the crust with cream too, and if you'd like, sprinkle with 1 tbsp. of fine sugar.

Crimp with your fingers or seal with a fork, your choice. Cut three to four slits in the top to let steam escape.

Place the whole pie in the freezer for 10 minutes while you heat an oven to 375 degrees.

Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes and then turn the oven down to 325 for the last 30-45 minutes. You know it's done when it's golden brown and a little thickened juice comes out of the slits.

Cool for at least two hours before cutting.

Gjelina's Pie Crust 

10 ½ oz cold unsalted butter. I prefer Strauss European Style or Plugra. Cut into 1 inch cube

1lb all purpose flour. King Arthur is my choice.

1/3 tsp fine sea salt

2 oz hot water

2 oz ice

2.5 oz granulated sugar

1 TBSP white vinegar

First make sure everything is cold. Mix the hot water, vinegar and sugar into a syrup then add the ice and stir until ice has melted.

Then, pulse the flour, salt and butter in a food processor until it is the size of medium peas. Dump this fatty flour out on a work surface, and gather it into a pile.

Pour in half of the sugar syrup, and start mixing it all together gently; this is messy work. Squeeze the dough together and lightly rub the butter peas into the flour. Use the palm of your hand and press against the table gently and smear/rub the dough together.

Sprinkle on more of the syrup, keep squeezing and rubbing. Try to work quickly so that the butter does not melt. When the dough comes together in a shaggy ball, I wrap the whole thing in plastic and let it chill in the fridge for an hour. After that hour, portion the dough into 14 oz. balls and roll them out, usually very thick, depending on the pie, roughly 1/8 of an inch.

Lay the dough into your desired pie plate and chill it for half an hour while you mix your filling.

I bake my pies in a convection oven, starting at 375 deg for the first 15 minutes and then lowering the temp to 325 deg to finish.

 

 

Mile High city - Denver

I'm here in Denver, CO working as an assistant on a web cooking show. Of course, I had to google pie on Denver and see if there were any cool shops here.
I was surprised by how cool Denver is, it seems like a hybrid Berkeley/Portland and the architecture is lovely. Obviously there is a lot of delicious meat here. I've had my share of it in the last week.
Ok, so, pies. I found a wonderful shop- Humble Pie in the Baker area of Denver. It could not be a more adorable storefront- as you can see below. I am curious about the baking in Denver, as most of the things we've had are very light in color- altitude? The pies were sweet and cute, and the shop is in an amazing older residential area that has some quaint homes and gardens.
Thanks Denver! I like you a lot!

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Pie Road Trip - Chapter 2

I started to write my recollection of our time in Pie Town one week ago, and I was having a hard time with it. There was so many moments I wanted to find the right words to bring them to life again... but I am not a natural born writer (despite the kind notes about my posts so far from friends and family...) and I struggle with sitting in one place for too long doing the work of writing.

That was until one of the lovely front counter girls came to my dark workroom in the bakery and said "Someone named Nita is here to see you." For 20 seconds I was stumped... Nita? Could it be? Many of my friends will stop by to see me at GTA - usually because its the only way they get to see me (I'm that friend... its terrible). I cannot remember a time when I have been more surprised and delighted by a visitor - to see my Pie Town friends Nita Larronde and her (man?) Clay standing in the cafe warmed my heart so much that I may have clapped and screamed.

I wanted to introduce them to EVERYONE, these really awesome people who left California for whatever reason and ended up in.. Pie Town. I want to be brave like that.

In an instant they brought it all back, and sharing our restaurant and our food with them was the best thing thats happened to me in at least a week. I wanted to stuff them with pizza and bread and pie, I wanted them to be proud of me - because I look up to them.

Now sitting here writing, the words are flowing out of me - that little visit reminded me of why I wanted to go on this trip in the first place - because I LOVE meeting people like Nita and Clay and Kathy.

My story about Pie Town was supposed to start with this:

When planning a road trip, you must plan at least one spectacular destination that is a must see - something non negotiable by the pitfalls the road (hunger, fatigue, time). This place must be a reason for driving long hours through the night.

For the Pie Fidelity team, this place was Pie Town, New Mexico - a place that almost doesn't appear on maps. I strongly believe it is a place worth driving through - if only to meet its legendary ambassadors Kathy Knapp, Nita Larronde and their friends at the pie shop. 

All photos by Alan Gastelum

Kathy Knapp - that lovely woman below - is the current owner of the Pie-O-Neer Cafe. When we reached out to her for an interview, Casey said she could not contain her giggles of excitement over the phone. After our surprise stop in Arizona, we were feeling high and accomplished when we arrived at the Pie-O-Neer and ready to start making a film about pie. Kathy and Pie-O-Neer was the perfect first stop - the excitement in the cafe was electric. Kathy's energy and pride were electric too - so much so it took us nearly an hour to get her to sit with us and tell her story.

All photos by Alan Gastelum

As you might imagine that its a certain type of person that moves all the way out to an in between town and makes a life. It could be a set of circumstances, a need or drive to get away and make a new start. For Kathy, a single mother, it was her mother who got her all the way to Pie Town. Her mom wanted to make pies for a living. She wanted her mom to see this dream become a reality, and as a single mother she was determined to create an independent life for her and her daughter.

All photos by Alan Gastelum

The Sour Cherry Pie at the Pie-O-Neer Cafe.

All photos by Alan Gastelum

Elements of the PIe-O-Neer Cafe hint at a long history of ex-pats making their mark on the small space. The mirror behind the display of pies creates a curiosity case of sorts for the impressive spread of pies that are being set in front of it as we arrive. For being very far from, well, everything... they sure do roll out a spread for the passers through. Kathy was busy making last minute pies on the fly - she was determined to have us taste everything, and we did our best to accomplish that.

Strawberry Rhubarb in progress.

All photos by Alan Gastelum

All photos by Alan Gastelum

The pies were truly made with care, and love and all that gooey stuff people say that baked goods are supposed to be made of. Once again, we found the people to be the really interesting part of the trip. Kathy and her man Stanley even have a pie related experience to thank for their relationship as it was Stanley who took a chance on wooing Kathy with a blackberry pie made with berries he picked just for her. Apparently the pie was good enough, because the two run the cafe together now. Stanley cooks the savory dishes (sandwiches, quesadillas) and takes care of the building.

As we wrapped up our shoot, all five of us running about snapping away and eating mouthfuls of pie, we decided to stop for the first of what would soon become our tradition on this trip: the family photo.

Props to Kathy - her crust was the ONLY lard crust of the whole trip!

L-R Kathy's Daughter, Stanley, Kathy and her grandson, me, Nita and Clay.

All photos by Alan Gastelum

All photos by Alan Gastelum

All photos by Alan Gastelum

Pie Road Trip - Chapter 1

The Bee Line Cafe was glimmering in the golden glaze of a perfect Arizona dusk. A bright back-lit sign in the parking lot had a smaller (hand painted?) sign sharing the same pole that read 'homemade pie'.  

The peach pie at the Bee Line Cafe.

All photos by Alan Gastelum

We had taken our time getting into Arizona, and we had HOURS left before we would hit our home for the night in Quemado, NM - stopping for pie on day one was not a part of the plan. BUT... we decided that, for the greater good of the project and in the spirit of the road, we needed to at least stop and investigate.

As we pulled our (big, huge, all black with tinted windows) van into a spot at the side of the Bee Line Cafe, a kind-looking cook stepped out for a smoke break. I believe his name was Pete.

So Pete is staring at this weird van full of excited artsy types who have jumped out of it and RUN up to him chattering away about pie and he takes a second to consider the moment before answering our questions.

"Is the pie good?"

"What kind do you have today?"

"Where are we?"

Pete decides we are OK. We love pie and he can tell. "You just missed Nita, the pie lady," he informs us. "She was here until an hour ago. She made 70 pies today to load into the pie freezer... Wanna see the pie freezer?"

Uh, YES.

Just like that, he led us through the cafe's back door and cracks open this 10 foot long freezer to reveal 70, ice cold, handmade pies - each one set inside handmade wooden racks to keep them safe from smashing, and all of them marked with slits in a complicated pie identification code. 

"They're making a movie about pie. They wanted to see the pie freezer," says Pete to a lovely lady wearing an apron. Melody, one of the current owners was standing there with a whisk in hand surprised to see four hipsters with cameras in her kitchen ooh-ing and ahh-ing over a freezer full of pies. The Bee Line is a family restaurant, originally owned by her in-laws and now cared for by Melody and her husband Milton.

"Well, you must have a slice of it then," she said.

The pie identification system of different cuts in the top crust will help Nita, the pie lady, figure out which pies she will bake for the cafe in the weeks to come.

All photos by Alan Gastelum

The Bee Line Cafe - Payson, Arizona.

All photos by Alan Gastelum

We got lucky. We didn't know what city we were in until we drove out of Payson, Arizona. We almost didn't stop. We didn't need to eat. (We'd unenthusiastically eaten lunch at Denny's, and none of us were exactly dying for a piece of pie.) But if we hadn't, we'd have missed one of the best stops on the trip.

Melody and Milton invited us in and fed us some great pies - one slice of peach with SOFT SERVE on top and one slice of rhubarb - just rhubarb, no berries - which was divine. That rhubarb pie with just the right amount of sugar and spice, and that pale color of early rhubarb that matched the sunset we saw in the van earlier, it was a gold mine of restraint and showed a lifetime of practice. Who is this Nita that spent all day making pies? When can I meet her?

While the church youth group that had stopped in for dinner stared at the four of us huddled in a booth analyzing pie and taking way too many pie photos, our neighbors in the next booth - Karen and Jim Hadder - struck up a pie talk. 

We sat and listened and chewed while Karen told us of her family history with pie - and her father's love of pies. It was a story about food, but also a character portrait of her father.

"My father loves few things more than when one of his daughters makes him a pie."

It was the first of many conversations that would begin with pie and end with a life story.

We have never made a documentary. We didn't know what we were doing. We were just going with it. The night before we left I tossed and turned in my bed wondering if we would get anything out of this cross-country drive... and here, on our first day out and on an unscheduled stop, we caught a glimpse of the stories to come.

All photos by Alan Gastelum

BLUE RIBBON

Well here we are. On the other side of the competition. I managed to win a blue ribbon for my apple pie! I want to write more about the whole competition and trip as soon as I get home, but right now I need to take my team to Waffle House for our last meal in Florida.

I met a lot of wonderful people down here in the south. We saw beautiful landscapes that make me want to be more of an outdoors woman.

We ate. A lot. And the truth is that most of these places grow a lot of wonderful stuff but don't eat any of it. Canned green beans everywhere we went. CANNED SWEET POTATO. I mean what's the point of a canned sweet potato? Some of the cooks worked magical flavors into these humble ingredients, and they make me proud of their 'work with what you have' ambition.

And yes, I DID buy my dress to match a possible blue ribbon win. I mean, I wanted to look good as a winner, you know? The dress to match my award! I DID NOT win the best in show prize - the winning 5 grand pie was a "peanut butter cracker" pie which I had the pleasure to try and can say it was tasty but that I am confused as to what the judges priorities are when it comes to best in show. I suppose the use of Crisco is a must?

I won in the "perfect pie" category for an apple pie with a lattice top crust. It was indeed perfect - unlike my other entry.

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4 am pie making

It's early... Or late... Depends on which side you're on. The last competition pie is in the oven. My strategy for baking worked: make 2 of each pie and choose the better one. In this case, one sprung a leak and the other got just this >•< much too browned on the bottom crust. I'm watching this last one like a hawk. I used the hotel oven and the breville oven - alternating half way so that the top crust an bottom crust get equal browning time.

It smells damn good in here, as I assume all the other rooms in this hotel with pie bakers do. How many of my competitors are up right now baking? How many of them timed the cooling time to be at peak temperature right around 10 am (judging time)?

I gotta get a few hours in right now or I'm never going to make it tomorrow. I think I have something unique here, I hope these judges like it.

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Hello Orlando

We arrived in Orlando very early (2am!) Friday morning and we've been enjoying the not driving. Everyone finally got to sleep in... It was glorious.

First thing upon waking up, we headed to whole foods - it was like finding an oasis! Found my blackberries and blueberries, and for my pie I will be using an interesting combo of fresh and frozen fruit to recreate that California berry flavor.

Our villa at the royal caribe is huge and the oven is hot - though electric. I mixed a big batch of pie dough on the dining room table by hand an it made an amazing test pie.

We spent our first afternoon at Gatorworld - which is a totally awesome alligator zoo. We saw all kinds of creatures and A WHITE GATOR!!

After that, and the wall of humidity that seems to right in front of you at all times here in FL we headed back to the villa for beers and snacks and got to meet up with Jason and Miho Travi of Littlefork in Hollywood, they happen to be here on vacation.

Lastly, early Friday morning shortly after we arrive in FL our super fun and adventurous Alan Gastelum went home to New York. He may or may not still be speaking in a southern accent. We miss you Alan!

The amateur division competes today, good luck all you bakers!

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Black Bayou

Things got magical once we entered Louisiana. More on the pie later- wrote a whole post from my phone and the app crashed during publishing and it was lost. Can't risk getting car sick rewriting all that...

For now: Black Bayou in Monroe, La it's a magical and wondrous place to visit and made me kick myself for not insisting on trekking to these parts before. I've been sucked into the world of work/tv/the bubble of Los Angeles and could not even imagine a place this beautiful.

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Strawn's strawberry pie

Hello Louisiana. Did you know I was the strawberry girl?

When I was a kid, that was my nickname. My grandpa grew strawberries, and lots of other things... But I was all about the strawberries. I was allergic to them, and the story is that I ate my way out of the allergy by dedication.

My family was not a pie family, they were more of a short cake family. Short cake is good, but it's not pie. I would see the strawberry pies at Marie Callender's and drool over the mounds of red glazed berries. They were so shiny... Like rubies.

Anyways, this is not about childhood - it's about Strawn's. Strawn's is a diner type southern restaurant in Shreveport, LA. It was one of the first places I chose to visit when I began planning the pie trip. Their specialty is Strawberry Pie - but it's not that shiny ruby at Marie Callender's. Strawn's is different.

It all starts with a crisp crust (vegetable shortening) and a smear of pastry cream (dyed red). That is topped with sliced berries and then... 1/3 CUP OF POWDERED SUGAR. It's sounds bad. But it's good. Really good. The sugar starts to melt and forms a sort of frosting once it sits for a while. This whole concoction is topped with freshly made whipped cream.

It's refreshing.

We got a nice interview with Buddy, the current owner. He took credit for nothing and have all the credit to the original bakers (the last of whom passed away 3 weeks ago). Buddy blaze through his interview almost as fast as we blazed through our best meal yet.

Fried chicken, green beans, sweet potato casserole and rolls. Then more pie. We were silent at the table, the food was so great and humble and just simple and good. Buddy used the word clean when describing the food - I'd agree somewhat (the exception being the red food dye in the pastry cream).

This trip has been amazing, and as we head to our final scheduled interview tomorrow I am feeling blessed.

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Grandma Jodie

Last Wednesday I saw my friend Wes Whitsell at the Santa Monica farmers market. As soon as he saw me he asked about the trip... Had we gone yet? Do we still want to meet Grandma Jodie?

I didn't want to be any trouble... But he had told me about his grandma before and bragged about her pies. His Texas accent made her sound like a saint. HER Texas accent made her sound like a saint! We spoke on the phone that day and she said she would make us three pies by Tuesday -

One thing I have found here in the south: in general people like their pastries to be a few days old. Not in a bad way - in a "when they are gone you make more" way. I will have to do more research about this later... Most of the pie makers SWEAR that the pies taste better after 2 days - especially in regards to pecan pie. Everyone said this. Aunt Sherry Rucker said this too - and her pecan was one of the first I have EVER liked.

Grandma Jodie (and Grandpa Kevin which is pronounced key-vin) welcomed us total strangers into their home (and farm) and Jodie delivered on her promise of three pies. Coconut cream, peeekan (pecan) and key lime. All made completely from scratch... For the first time on the whole trip. Crust filling and cream all made by Jodie. Possibly giving me a newfound love for pecan pie.

BEST PIES SO FAR. Wes, you weren't lying! And the whole family helped us in many ways from directions, BBQ recommendations, a free nights stay in a LAKE HOUSE surrounded by some very pretty - THANK YOU WHITSELLS!

We got great informal footage of Jodie and Kevin... Though Jodie was not keen on the formal interview portion. She still gave us wonderful stories, they both did, and she gave me great advice.

"Don't try and change your (pie) at the last minute. Do what you do best."

PS. Grandma Jodie made coconut pastry cream - NOT JELLO PUDDIN'

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Nancy the Fried Pie Lady

We just stopped off the I-35 at exit 51 to meet Nancy, of The Arbuckle Mountain Fried Pie Shop. Not knowing what to expect again, it's housed inside a gas station. We have found that many of these off the highway places advertising homemade goods no longer have the same integrity that they may have had in the good old days, possibly because not too many people are road tripping anymore through these parts of America.

Regardless of this, Nancy is the exception. She prides her shop (and chain of franchised pie shops) on maintaining the integrity of the product above all else.

She is a natural born business woman. She knows how much everything in her restaurant costs to make and the exact recipes and proportions of her products. With all this... Her employees still mix her MASSIVE amounts of fillings (up to 200 gallons at a time) from hand written recipes that have been copied over and over.

She gave us a totally different kind of interview than any of the people we have met so far. She was very business focused, which was kind of refreshing. Seeing inside her factory was a vision of production that not many can picture- it was straight out of one of those Mr. Rogers bits.

If you ever see an Original Fried Pie shop, RUN in and buy a savory pie. My fave was tex-mex.

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Ruckers and Allens

Last night we spent our time with the Ruckers and Allens in Haskell, OK. My in-laws, the Ruckers, laid out a spread of casseroles and a party of 15/20 dined together at a long table before settling in for a post dessert interview.

My husband has told me about his Aunt Sherry's pies, his favorite pecan ( which is my least favorite and so I never make it for him...) and pumpkin are her specialties. Aunt Sherry uses her mothers recipe- which she bestowed upon us last night as well as 20 other old family recipe cards for different pies.

I guess I married into the right family- these folks love pie and talking about pie and history. Aunt Bonnie sat with us and told some wonderful heartwarming memories of their mother making pies.

One thing that came up at dinner was my pie style and technique- Sherry and Bonnie were especially curious about how tall the crust rises and said that it looks like a crown. This kind of pie is unique and I have yet to see a crust even remotely similar to mine while on this trip. All the crusts have been good, but very classic. I do not know why my crust looks so different, it has the same basic ratios and ingredients. My good friend in pies Evan Kleiman over at Kcrw told me before I left that my crust was going to be controversial... And last night the Allen Sisters proved her right.

Am I going to win or is my crown of a crust too progressive?!

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Pie-o-neer Cafe!

We really had very little idea of what to expect from our first scheduled stop. The name itself was exciting and the owner sounded like a sweetheart on the phone. We spent the night in a very small town/truck stop on route 60 called Quemado, nm. The motel is the Largo Cafe and Motel and I recommend it to anyone passing by that way. Clean, friendly and a great little cafe that serves New Mexico style country cooking. They do serve pie, though we didn't try them as we were saving ourselves for Pie Town ....

And what a great move that was! First of all, we pull into the Pie-O-Neer Cafe and are greeted by a real doll named Nita- she was once one of the bakers and her work is pictured here, found in a collage on the back of the bathroom door. Nita hugged us and clapped for us and pulled out her camera to "shoot is shooting her" as she liked to say. She was photographing our entire visit and will be making us a collage of the trip.

Nita brought us into the cafe and introduced us to Kathy Knapp- the resident pie lady. The smell when we opened the door was nothing short of amazing- cinnamon and butter. There was a row of pies set up, with a mirror behind them (which I thought was very French of the them to use the mirror for display- 360 view of the pastries).

Kathy- oh Kathy. She must have been a head turner in her 20's because she was a really beautiful lady. She was baking MORE PIES in the kitchen for our arrival with the help of her 'man' Stanley. After a lot of introductions and looking around with much excitement... We ate some pie. Double Cherry, Blueberry (a stand out), Chocolate Cream with Meringue, New Mexican Apple and Green Chile, Chocolate Chess (another stand out). All were delicious and unique.

Kathy uses lard and butter in her crust- something she worked up after meeting Stanley (he has been rumored to make a blackberry pie with an all butter crust that is amazing) and combining her mothers recipe and Stanley's.

I don't want to give too much of the story of the Pie-o-neer Cafe away... Casey got amazing footage and a great interview. Much like a pie cooling in the window we will have to wait until it's ready.

If this is what's in store for the rest of the trip, we will be blessed with wonderful pie and great interviews! More Pie Town photos:

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Pie People

We left for our Pie Roadtrip on Saturday morning. One LONG drive later, we stopped off in Payson, AZ following a sign advertising 'homemade pies'.

The place was called Beeline Cafe, and it's proprietress Melody and her husband Ray (whose real name is Milton) invited us in to see the immense pie freezer where their baker Anita stores her pies. A collection of vintage pie tins filled with pies identified by a seemingly complicated coding system of cuts in the top crust were lovingly cradled in handmade wooden racks to keep them safe.

I should mention that when we pulled up to the Beeline a friendly looking fellow named Pete was on his smoke break- following a friendly interrogation he was the one who brought us inside to see the pie freezer. The people at Beeline were nothing short of family level kindness and gave us our slices on the house WITHOUT demanding credentials.

And the pie? We tried rhubarb and peach- both excellent in flavor: not too sweet, tender crust made with shortening and he fillings were just set, not solid.

Be sure to check in with us over at http://www.pieroadtrip.tumblr.com

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MORE PIE MORE KICKSTARTER

Thanks for joining us, those of you out there who have already donated. I know some of you are waiting to donate until the VERY LAST MINUTE so that you can make a dramatic swoop in and save us from sudden death.

We are so proud of what we have raised so far - but we still need more. Roughly 3/4 more.

Why should Pie Fidelity be made?

What we are trying to capture is a snap shot of a changing culture. The bigger and more tech this world gets, the farther it gets from those old time feelings of slowing down and making something by hand and waiting, waiting, waiting for it to be ready to devour. If you've ever made a pie, you are familiar with this feeling - the post bake waiting. I've gotten good at not paying too much attention to the pie once it comes out of the oven, I ignore it actually. I used to lean my elbows on the counter and prod and poke at it with a tiny fork looking for signs of doneness and flakiness. Now, I just let it be and think good thoughts and try to fill my time with distractions.

The pie left cooling in the window. The time to wait for just the right moment. These are things we are losing sight of quickly. I want to take a journey and find that again, find those people who still take that time to relish in something as simple as an iconic piece of pie. I honestly believe that we will find something interesting, noteworthy and special out there.

Also, I WANT TO WIN THIS THING Y'ALL!

Thank you in advance for your money. I promise the payback will be sweet.

PIE FIDELITY KICKSTARTER

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One day, I had an idea that I could not wait to share with my friend Casey O'Brien. I'm like that, once a great idea hits me I can't wait to spill it to someone. As a child, I am pretty sure I was that kind of overexcited kid talking a mile a minute about my brilliant light bulb moment... some things never change.

I entered the National Pie Championships in Orlando, Fl and began strategizing. How would I get there with everything I needed to make the winning pies? I would drive.... What if I made a road trip into a Pie Trip and stopped at a bunch of places to try pies? What if that turned into a documentary?

At this point I went running into the restaurant and grabbed Casey for yet another "I have  GREAT idea" moment. Casey you see, is a brilliant young film maker whom I have the pleasure of working with side by side most days of the week. In his day job, he works as a barista and in his free time he works on building his career as a movie mogul.

This is how Pie Fidelity was born, within minutes of it's inception we had a name, a crew and a route. A few weeks later we have a Kickstarter and a following. Pie is a popular subject, a subject that people have very strong feelings about. These feelings seem to emanate form the South and radiate outwards to the rest of the United States.

We're so excited (I AM SO F*@$*&$ EXCITED) to go on this trip and tell the story of the pie makers of the Southern Pie Belt (this is what I have named our route and I am hoping it catches on and becomes a thing, help me with this.)