Last week I had the best time at a friend’s house making apple pies with some girlfriends. Picture a lovely lunch visiting with friends followed by a fun and laugh~filled afternoon making dough and filling a pie plate with apples and pinching edges of dough. And then you get to take the pie home and bake it and enjoy it with your hubby. That’s what we did. This is like an old~fashioned quilting bee except we made pies instead of quilts. And the best part? We made new friends, learned about each other, and laughed over absolutely nothing. Want to have a pie making party? I think you should. Here’s how our party came about, what we did and how to have a pie making party with your girlfriends.
I think I’ve mentioned once before that I write a monthly column called Resident Recipe for a local neighborhood magazine. I interview a neighbor who shares a recipe. We photograph the resident, the finished dish and I write an article and include the recipe. I’ve been writing the column for almost 2 years. The best part has been meeting a great group of ladies and a few men who each have wonderful stories and wonderful recipes. That’s how I met Susan, the hostess for our pie making party. She told me that she occasionally has friends over to her house to make pies. We hit it off immediately because we have so much in common. Susan asked me if I’d like to come to next pie making get together. I, of course, said yes, and that’s how I was included in this pie making party.
Susan was our hostess and she invited me and her close friend Grace~anne. As it turned out, Susan and I have a mutual friend, Valerie, who is a food and travel writer for local publications. As a matter of fact, it was Valerie who suggested me to write the Resident Recipe column. Susan is a baker and has won awards at our State Fair of Texas ~ she once cooked with Bobby Flay when he came to town! She has also owns her own apparel design company. (Read about Susan and her creative ventures.) We both are multi~taskers who love being creative and busy.
How to Have a Pie Making Party with Your Girlfriends
We met at 11:00 at Susan’s home. Everyone brought something for our lunch and Susan already had the table set. We had pimento cheese sandwiches with Farmers’ Market tomatoes, chips, butternut squash soup, French macarons,and Susan’s delicious ginger iced tea that I’m becoming addicted to. And I love her beautiful hand~painted glasses.
Here’s Grace~anne and Susan.
And Valerie and I.
Making our Pies
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After a delightful lunch, we cleared off the dishes, put on our aprons and started making our pies. Susan graciously provided all the ingredients and the equipment (bowls, the pie plates, measuring cups and spoons, rolling pins, and Silpats).
She “coached” us along with the required amounts of flour, salt, and sugar. We started by filling our bowls with flour and a little salt.
Then we diced our butter and Crisco.
Now the fun part: blending in the fats with the flour, using our hands. In my Best Southern Peach Cobbler post, I shared that I like to do this step with a pastry scraper because the heat from your hands can warm the butter too much and too fast. In the past I have just used my fingers and I know many bakers use this method. Once the mixture is in small chunks, it’s time to add the ice water.
Once we had our dough in a neat ball (I missed a shot of that because my hands were covered in dough.), we placed our dough on the Silpats (a non~stick, silicon baking mat that is also great for rolling out dough) that Susan provided. Since we were working at her wooden table, we needed a smooth, non~stick surface to work on. We flattened our ball of dough, cut it into 2 pieces (about 2/3 and 1/3) and placed plastic wrap on top of the large piece of dough.
TIP: This is a practice that I’ve used for years. Plastic wrap makes rolling out your dough ~ especially if it’s a sticky dough ~ so just easier. It’s also a great way to smooth and fit dough into a tart pan.
Then we used the plastic wrap to transfer the dough to our pie plates. Again, the plastic wrap makes smoothing the dough to the sides of the pie plate easy and also keeps your hands clean! Once the dough is how you like it, remove the plastic wrap.
Now it was time to fill our pies with the apples. Thankfully, one of Susan’s sons who just finished his Master’s Degree was home and peeled and sliced 32 Granny Smith apples for us. (That’s what you send your kids to college for, right!). That’s right 32 apples! Susan likes to use about 8 apples for each pie. As you can imagine, it’s a really tall pie, but it just looks beautiful.
We tossed our apples with a little sugar and lemon juice until well combined and then filled our pies. Next we rolled out the second piece of dough using our plastic wrap and placed it on top of the apples.
The we crimped the 2 pieces of dough together, made the edges as decorative as we could, and cut slits in the top of the pie for steam to escape.
Finally, we cleaned up the table, put away the ingredients, washed the equipment and set out our pies to admire them. The beauty of the pies is that each one is different.
The proud pie making ladies.
We each put our pies in a cardboard pie box (Thanks, again to Susan.) for taking home to bake.
Suggestions for How to Have a Pie Making Party
Here are my ideas for having a successful pie making party. Remember, this is about having fun!
Number of People
Limit the number of people to the amount of counter space and equipment you have. 4 people was just right, but I would recommend no more than 6.
As I said, Susan was so gracious to provide all the ingredients. However, you can ask each person to bring one ingredient. for example, 1 person brings flour, 1 person brings butter, and so on. As hostess, it would be easy for you to provide salt and cinnamon since those amounts are so small. Here’s what you need:
- unsalted butter
- lemon juice
- flour or cornstarch
- ground cinnamon
- apples of choice*
*ANOTHER OPTION: ask each person to bring the type of fruit they would like to use, such as blueberries, peaches or pears (depending on the season)
Susan had more baking equipment than most people. Take inventory of what you have and determine what you can provide and what guests would need to bring. Here is what you need:
- 1 large bowl for each person plus bowls for the apples
- rolling pins ~ 2 people can share one rolling pin;
- measuring cups and spoons ~ these can be shared
- plastic wrap
- large container for ice water
- 1 pie plate for each person
- aprons ~ another item people could each bring if you don’t have enough
- box to take home pie
Depending on what type of surface guests will be rolling out their dough on, you may need something like a Silpat. If you have granite or marble countertop, you can just roll out the dough on the countertop. Large wooden cutting boards will also work.
Assuming that you are providing the recipe, have a copy for each guest to take home with them.
- We ate lunch first (with each person bringing something to share) and then we made our pies. You could also make your pies FIRST. If you have enough space to bake everyone’s pie, you could eat lunch while the pies are baking. Then everyone has a baked pie ready to take home ~ just a thought.
- Rather than asking everyone to bring ingredients, as hostess, you could provide all the ingredients and ask the guests to chip in $5 or so to cover the cost of the ingredients. You know your guests best and what would be acceptable and appropriate.
Other Cooking Party Suggestions
We had such a great time that we thought about other dishes to make that lend themselves to a cooking or baking party ~ has to be something that everyone can “get their hands dirty”. Having taught hundreds of cooking classes over the past 13 years, both demonstration and hands on, here are my suggestions.
- Pasta Making Party ~ I’ve taught several of these and they are great fun and everyone loves to learn how to make fresh pasta. You would need a pasta maker ~ either hand~cranked or an attachment to your Kitchen Aid Mixer. And the pasta can be your lunch.
- French Macaron Party ~ another great hands~on option.
- Puff Pastry and Phyllo Dough Party ~ use store~bought for a variety of desserts that anyone can make ~ they can be dessert for lunch.
Can you think of some other possibilities?
When I got home, I baked my pie and it was delicious.
I bet you’re thinking that you would love to have Susan’s Apple Pie recipe plus some more pie making tips. Just click the link below and I’ll send it to you on Saturday.
Have fun baking a pie!
Here’s the Parties where I Linked Up this week (June 9th ~ June 15th):