Kensington, P.E.I. - An irresistible smell of cinnamon, tart lemon, coconut, and warm notes of savoury pies, floated out the entrance of Kensington Heritage Library on Saturday morning.
Jim Bartley, a resident of Kensington, said the smell of the pies immediately conjured up memories of comfort, nostalgia and love.
“I grew up in a household where my mother and my grandparents were all cooks. My grandfather was a baker and he made bread, rolls, and things of this nature, and my grandmother was a traditional British cook.
“When my mother moved from England to Winnipeg in Manitoba, she picked up cultural influences and used them in her cooking. I remember at home there was always a feast of everything under the sun, because where we lived was the melting pot of Canada.
“My mother had friends from Europe, and other parts of the world that inspired the types of dishes she made,” he said.
Bartley dished out two of his homemade pies for the 5th Annual Pie Day event, which was held at the library from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
He said that his peach and ginger pie was inspired by a family recipe.
“My mother always created pies like pear and ginger, but I like to try new things and build from old recipes, so I came up with the idea of a peach and ginger pie.
Bartley’s secret, he says, is that his pies are “a labour of love.”
Shelley Tamtom, the library technician, said every year the event has got bigger.
“Last year we served about 80 people, and this year we are branching out with savoury pies,” she said.
“It’s comfort food on a cold winter day.”
Pies were donated from visitors and patrons of the library, as well as the restaurant Broadway 45, which donated three meat pies, and a coconut cream pie from Mary’s Bake Shoppe.
The staple event brings people in the community together, and is a chance to share culinary traditions.
“We will be doing this again next year,” said Tamtom, with a smile.
Peach and ginger pie recipe
- 2 tablespoons of Bird’s Custard Powder
- 1-2 tablespoons of sugar
- 1-pint milk
- 1 teaspoon of orange (or lemon) juice
- 2 tablespoons of ground ginger
- 1 thinly sliced peach.
- 60 grams of butter
- 150 grams of ginger biscuits crushed.
Make a biscuit crust: melt the butter in a saucepan, add the crushed ginger biscuits, and stir to combine. Press on the bottom and side of a flat tin until firm, and then leave to cool.
Make the filling: Heat up the Birds Custard Powder with the sugar and approximately 2 tablespoons of the milk in a pan to create a smooth paste.
Heat the remaining milk to nearly boiling, and then pour onto the custard paste, stirring well. Mix in the orange (or lemon) juice for seasoning, and add the ginger. Stir on the hob for about six minutes. Leave to cool for one minute. Pour the mixture onto the biscuit crust.
Cool in fridge, overnight. When firm, decorate the pie with peach slices on top.