The Times West Virginian

My Favorite Recipe

June 8, 2011

It’s always pi(e) time

FAIRMONT — Marcie Williams may be a decorating diva when it comes to cake, but at the end of the meal, she’d rather have pie.

Pie is friendly. Unpretentious. It’s fun.

“It’s Sunday dinner at Grandma’s,” she said.

“A cake is more for a special occasion. It’s an artistic endeavor. You pipe; you ice; you make flowers ... It’s a canvas.

“Whereas with pie, you’re not going to do as much with it.”

If you want to get on her good side, offer her pumpkin pie. Then again, she’d probably prefer her own.

“I can my own pumpkin. Homemade consistency is more of a chiffon.”

She and her husband Mike grow pretty much all their own ... blueberries, black raspberries, pumpkin, strawberries, apple trees, peach trees, tomatoes, cucumbers, cantaloupe, watermelon, onions, carrots, asparagus, green beans, broccoli ...

All on a very active one-acre minifarm behind their Morgantown Avenue home.

Mike’s favorite pie is blueberry, which she found out quite by accident.

“My best friend said something about me making a blueberry pie for Mike. I said he didn’t like blueberry pie. So I asked him. And he said, ‘Oh, yes, it’s my favorite.’

“And my friend said, ‘That poor man’ and brought him a blueberry pie the next weekend.

“Well, I’m not going to have another woman baking pies for my husband, so I got my Southern Living cookbook out and learned to make a blueberry pie. And I’ve been making them since,” she said, laughing.

Her mother taught her how to make pie crust when she was 14.

“It’s probably time for my 14-year-old daughter to make pie crust.

“The secret is the water needs to be very, very cold. If it gets warm, the shortening pulls apart.

“Pie crust is like bread: There is a certain feel. You can follow the recipe until you know what it’s supposed to feel like.”

Making the perfect pie crust isn’t as easy as it sounds.

“On a level of one to three, it’s a three,” she said. “You will not make the perfect pie crust on your first attempt. There’s a ‘feel thing’ to it. But it is not hard. It’s just one of those things that needs to be shown how to do it. You have to have someone say, ‘No it’s too dry’ or ‘This is too wet.’

“You can watch someone on television do it, but if it’s pie crust or bread dough, until you’ve actually worked with it and know what it’s supposed to feel like, it’s a little trickier.”

The crust used depends on the pie, she said.

“With cream or peanut butter pies, you always use cookie or graham cracker crust. But with apple or berry pie, I use regular crust.”

She’s a good basic cook, she said.

“But my mom is a more creative cook than I am. She was making things like Chicken Kiev before you could buy boneless, skinless chicken breasts, when you had to bone your own.”

She’s making sure her three sons know how to cook.

“I believe every guy should know how to take care of himself. My college-age sons know enough to get themselves by. They will not starve.

“My daughter can make entire meals at this time. Now and then when I can’t make it home on time, I can call her and tell her what to do, and she can pull dinner off.”

Right now, she’s working on a 15-part wedding cake for a friend’s daughter.

“I’m enjoying my time doing the cake, but I will be glad when it’s safely delivered. That’s the worst part, because it has to go in so many pieces and be stacked and reassembled there.”

Cake, pie, whatever it is, food should look good.

“And it has to taste fabulous.”

Did you know that for at least one minute every hour, somewhere in the world, it’s pie time?

“Oh, yes,” quipped her husband Mike. “3:14.”

Pause.

“You know ... pi ... 3.14159265.”

“Oh, yes,” she said. “All manner of pie.”

Email Debra Minor Wilson at dwilson@timeswv.com.

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