As the temperature drops and green leaves change to shades of orange and red, many of us get the desire to bake. The smell of apples and cinnamon stirs up fond fall memories and makes mouths water for a slice of warm pie.
Although most of us think of pies as a slice of Americana, history traces the first pies back to the Greeks. The original pies were not sweet, instead crusts of flour and water were filled with spiced meats and often included currants or dates.
The pilgrims brought these meat-pie recipes to the United States and used spices like cinnamon and nutmeg to liven up their meaty dishes. As the pilgrims began to colonize, pies became a way to feature local ingredients and many sweet pie recipes were born.
Today, 90 percent of Americans say that a slice of pie represents one of the simple pleasures of life, according to the American Pie Council. The council reports that 36 million Americans identify apple pie as their favorite.
In fact, first and second place in the 2011 National Pie Championship professional category went to apple pies. Close to home, Victoria Queen of Windsor, Colo. took second place for her Mile-Hi (sic) Apple Pie. Crisco awarded three prizes for innovation with first place going to a red velvet cream pie, second for a blueberry pomegranate cheese pie and coming in third was a black forest truffle pie. The winning recipes can be found at www.piecouncil.org.
Serendipity clients enjoy pies baked by Living the Sweet Life or Anything but Vanilla. Caramel apple pies served with vanilla ice cream are a client favorite. Customers have also enjoyed assorted pies and tarts, including mini peach pies.
Getting away from the sweet stuff, Serendipity bakes a variety of meat pies, including chicken potpie and lamb shepherd pie. A miniature version of the chicken potpie makes a great appetizer.
While Chef Todd would love to bake your pies for you, he does advise those wanting to get into the kitchen themselves to use a little more liquid in their crust to adjust for the mile-high altitude. He said the altitude may also require you to cook your pie slightly longer to get the crust done to perfection.
Todd and Laura owned Laura’s Mountain Bakery in Nederland, Colo. before starting Serendipity. Laura said she has fond memories of this time of year — the aspen leaves changing and the smell of pies baking in the ovens, particularly customer favorites cinnamon apple and chocolate pecan.