Farm Woman Invents New Pie

I’ve always admired the Farm Woman Icon—a woman able to raise her own vegetables, milk the cow and make her own cheese, and whip up a hearty meal when twenty people suddenly drop by.

If you’ve read any of my books, you know I am none of the above. My Aunt Ilene in North Dakota is. She has two freezers–each about a mile long— filled to the brim with stuff she’s made. If she ever broke her leg and couldn’t cook, she and my uncle could live for two years on what’s in those two freezers. So this cooking and baking gene is in me somewhere, but I fear it lies dormant.

Until now. I have invented a new sort of pie. The Farmer and I picked strawberries the other day, and they were so beautiful we couldn’t stop picking. In 45 minutes we’d picked 18 pounds, and could have kept going. Since I ended up cleaning them, I’m grateful we stopped at 18 pounds.

Then I began making strawberry pies. I don’t actually eat strawberry pies, as I dislike cooked fruit of any kind (yes, I know that’s weird.) But the Farmer in this house loves strawberry pies, and strawberry-rhubarb pies, so I decided I could be a Real Farm Woman and bake some pies for the girl.

I’d like to say I made the crusts from scratch, but I won’t. (Thank you, Pillsbury Dough Boy.)

I took these lovely strawberries….

And made a pie. In the process I invented something new: The Floating Crust Pie. I plan to register this invention with the Patent Office so I’ll get all the credit and own the idea.

Basically, you press the bottom crust into the pan. Then you fill the pan with berries and sugar. Then you lay the top crust onto the pie, and here’s where my innovation comes in. Instead of moistening the edges of the two crusts so they bond, or folding them over together, or generally pinching them correctly to form a tight seal, you just press the top crust onto the bottom crust and figure that will be good enough.

Then when the pie is in the oven, and the hot fruit begins to boil up, the top crust will lift off the pan and begin floating. It’s amazing. This floating top crust then allows the fruit filling, in this case strawberries, to ooze out the edges of the pan and down onto the bottom of your hot oven. It’s fun to watch the top crust floating free on an ocean of molted strawberries.

After inhaling the incredible scent of pie burning on the oven bottom, I finally took out the finished pie, a little stunned at the mess I’d created. Only after I’d set out for my walk did I realize I’d cleverly invented a new pie. I planned to photograph my invention, but then I remembered the Farmer was loose in the house so I raced back, relieved there was something left to photograph.

The Floating Crust pie must be tasty, since the Farmer has inhaled the rest of it, and I’ve since made another one. My mother, grandmothers, and aunts will be so proud when they learn what I’ve done….Too bad I have no intention of telling them…

7 thoughts on “

  1. You and me, hon. I am the one in Indiana that doesn’t cook. Or sew. Or do any handy crafts. But I made a kinda neat tree house for the kids, so that’s gotta count for something. Unless you’re hungry.

  2. You know, this is probably the only blog where I PURPOSELY, consistently, come for a laugh. And without fail, you’re at it again, Catherine! Alas, your aunts will know about your cooking prowess if they read this blog!

  3. Catherine-
    where did you find such beautiful strawberries? The ones we found today north of Rochester were tiny and very ripe. I ended up making jam.

  4. sanderfam,

    At a patch east of Goodhue…email me off-blog ( and I’ll give you the phone number. She might still have some left. Aren’t they gorgeous? I just wanted to pick for hours, since each plant yielded more beautiful berries than the one before it!

    Birdie—A tree house is more fun, and a lot less fattening, than a pie. Good for you.

    Zan asha—my mom reads the blog now and then, but my dad reads it more–Hi Dad, want a pie?

    beegirl—I like to pick, so I have to do something with the berries… thanks for being so sweet…

    Hope everyone has a great Fourth, with pie if you want it!

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