Easy as pie

Nancy MacPhee
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The dessert’s day celebrated in Kensington on Thursday

KENSINGTON — Who doesn’t love pie?

Library technician Shelley Tamtom (left) and Joan Zinn show off the pies they baked in celebration of National Pie Day, which was Thursday. The Kensington Heritage Library invited the public to bake a pie, drop by the library and share the dessert, along with the recipe, with others.

The tasty dessert comes in all shapes, sizes and variations, from the traditional apple pie, the more adventurous cream pies like coconut and banana, and even chicken pot pie and an Island favourite, meat pie.

Pie is loved so much it even has its own day, which was celebrated Thursday at the Kensington Heritage Library.

On display were a half dozen pies — a strawberry pie, three types of apple pie, a rather unusual — but most delectable — flapper pie, a cream pie with a graham cracker crust and sweet meringue, and Joan Zinn’s family recipe, Aunt Mary’s Schnitz Pie.

It’s a pie that the 81-year-old has been whipping up for more than six decades.

“When I was a youngster I used to be at their farm all the time, my aunt and uncle’s farm, and I would help her bake,” she said of the pie’s origin.

Surprisingly, Thursday was the first time that the family recipe, which Zinn learned to bake at age 10 or 11, had been written down.

And getting it on paper was no easy task, she joked.

“When I did this I first had to bake another one, pay attention to what I was putting in it because I never had a written recipe,” Zinn said with a laugh. “The ingredients are simple and tasty.”

Recipe or not, the end result — according to this reporter’s taste buds — was delicious. And by all indications it was a hit with everyone, with only a couple of slices left while other pies sat uncut.

“It’s pretty well all gone,” said Zinn, who also volunteers at the library.

Making the pie always brings back fond memories for Zinn, who spent a lot of time with her aunt who, on Saturday’s, would bake and put up preserves.

“Everyone liked it and it was easy to do. They had their own orchard with lots of apples,” she added. “She was a good cook no matter what she did.”

When asked what the secret is behind a good pie, Zinn replied, “I don’t know,” but quickly added, that it is a combination of filling and crust.

“I don’t pretend to be an expert,” she added. “But you are not going to find that (her pie) in any recipe book.”

The dessert’s day celebrated in Kensington on Thursday

Library technician Shelley Tamtom organized the event, which went into the evening, to celebrate the pie’s special day and bring visitors to the library.

“There’s a website that talks about weird and wonderful days of the year, for example Tuesday of this week was Squirrel Appreciation Day,” Tamtom said with a laugh. “I just decided it would be fun in the middle of winter to have some nice comfort food.”

Pie doesn’t usually come to mind when one thinks of a library, but the library technician was quick to point out that on the shelves are countless cookbooks, many with recipes for the dessert.

“The library just isn’t about books. It is about coming together as a community,” said Tamtom, who baked the flapper pie from a recipe she found in a cookbook in her collection and a pear, apple and maple pie from a recipe she found on the Internet. “People can come in and have some pie and might think, ‘hey, want not look for a new recipe’.”

Her personal favourite is sour cherry pie and coconut cream.

Although the turnout wasn’t what she hoped for, something she attributed, in part, to Wednesday’s storm, Tamtom plans to celebrate the pie, again, next year.


Aunt Mary’s Schnitz Pie

3 or 4 tart apples (depending on size)

¾ cup brown sugar

¼ cup flour

½ teaspoon cinnamon

Pinch of salt

6 tablespoons of cream

Line a nine-inch pie pan with pastry. Mix together brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt. Spread half mixture in the pan. Peel and core apples. Cut into eighths and arrange in pie pan. Sprinkle remaining sugar mixture on apples. Pour cream gently over top. Bake at 400 F for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 F for 25 to 30 minutes (until apples are soft). Best served warm.





Organizations: Kensington Heritage Library

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