God bless Mary-Louise Parker. Seriously, the pie recipe she gives in the July issue of Esquire magazine has changed my life. (You have to scroll down for the recipe.) Two weeks ago I went blackberry picking with some friends and ended up with just enough for a pie, so I pulled out my copy of Esquire and started following Mary-Louise’s instructions. She says, “Cut some little holes in the top of the pie with a knife. Make a design or write a message to someone, code or otherwise.” My friend had just broken up with her boyfriend, so I wrote her a message on the pie.
It was delicious.
Last week I was in Chicago and made another pie, this one blueberry, for Shabbat lunch. I was in Chicago for the unveiling of my mother’s headstone, and it was (as one might expect) an incredibly difficult and upsetting experience. I thought about Mary-Louise’s instructions, and decided that my second pie had to speak the truth. So the blueberry pie had the following inscription: “Life is Hard.”
This week I’m back in New York, and having some good friends over for Shabbat dinner. Since it’s still berry season I decided to make another pie (this time triple berry–raspberry, blackberry, and blueberry) and this time my pie should say something about friendship. Behold, triple berry ‘havruta oh mituta‘ pie. Friendship or death. Amen.
A note on pie crusts: Last week I was without a food processor, and so discovered what I now believe is the best way to make a flaky pie crust. Put a bowl and a pastry cutter in the freezer, along with the butter. Take the bowl and the butter out, and grate the butter on a cheese grater (this is messy, but worth it). When you’re done, stick the bowl of grated butter back in the freezer for a few minutes. Then take them out and make the dough with the pastry cutter instead of a food processor. Slightly more labor intensive, but also better. You’re welcome.
Pronounced: shuh-BAHT or shah-BAHT, Origin: Hebrew, the Sabbath, from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday.