Friday, November 28, 2008

I was too busy cooking and baking to post yesterday and I am happy to have two days during which to recover from all the festivities (and accompanying gluttony). I baked two of these pecan pies - one to take with us to our hostess and the other to remain here. I barely had a sliver of the one we took with us and haven't had any of this one (although the other household member has already had two pieces, starting last night when we got home from a non-stop banquet - go figure). Pecan pie is my favorite but I am always disappointed when I order it in a restaurant. Mine is less sweet than all the others in the world and except for Ms. Parrot's pie, it is the best I have ever had. For me, akin to Proust's madeleine; one taste and it brings back memories. Ms. Parrot was a cook and baker who cooked for a doctor. She and her sister (each of whom seemed to be 100 years old in the 1950's and 60's) lived together in a house on Hartley Street, across the street from the parking lot behind my father's store. When Ms. Parrot asked my father whether she could pay to park her car in his lot at night the answer was "of course you can park but I will not accept any money." So, periodically, Ms. Parrot would come to the store bearing gifts of her baked goods, which daddy brought home to us. Brownies. And at Thanksgiving, always a pumpkin chiffon pie and a pecan pie. Her brownies were dark and buttery and not overly sweet. Not fans of pumpkin, we nevertheless loved her chiffon pie because it was light and not overly pumpkin-y. And the pecan pie was to die for, pure and simple. As a professional baker, she refused to divulge her recipes, but I was determined to find their equals and make them myself. I have never been able to duplicate the pumpkin chiffon pie and have given up trying. But I now make brownies that are taste like hers -- and I kept trying pecan pie recipes till I found one that puts me back sitting around the table in my mother' 1950's kitchen. And I see my father's face.

5 comments:

Judy said...

What lovely memories Rayna. Your Dad must have been something special, and Mrs Parrot too. I'm not a huge fan of pecan pie, but yours looks lovely!

xo

Anne Copeland said...

How did you get such a magnificent finish on the edge of your crust? I love to bake too and I make pies often, but my edges NEVER look that good. I think if you start Piemaking 101 online, I will be one of your first students!!! I can taste that pie across the miles!

Rayna said...

LOL- I'll never tell.

laura cater-woods said...

ah Rayna, tears in my eyes.
we are long overdue for a phone talk. What is your schedule? love, me

Martha Marshall said...

My Thanksgiving entry was about baking two pecan pies too! And like you, I didn't get any on the actual day of the dinner. I don't like them too sweet either, and mine is from an aunt who is in her nineties.

I used to make a pumpkin chiffon pie, which had a baked meringue crust if you can believe that. If you'd like the recipe, I might be able to dig it up.

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