Pie Sampling at Argus Farm Stop

Pies on display at Argus Farm Stop
Pies on display at Argus Farm Stop

Did I see you at Argus Farm Stop this morning? I was there with Caramel Apple Pie and Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pies for sampling, and I had the chance to meet a lot of pie lovers! Several people from the email list said hello and introduced themselves. It was great to put names and faces together. It was fun to spend some quality time talking about pies! I was asked questions like “What’s your favorite pie?” and “What exactly is in a Michigan Mincemeat Pie?” so I had a wonderful morning!

I’m taking pre-orders for holiday pies through December 20th. I’ll have pies ready for delivery or pickup on December 24, and special delivery or pickup times can also be scheduled. Pies are also available through Argus Farm Stop if you like to order there and coordinate with other pickups for the holiday.

Here are the Holiday 2015 choices:

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie– Delightfully decadent. (Also available without bourbon!)

Midwest Mincemeat Pie– Homemade mincemeat made with raisins, currants, dried cherries, and apples steeped in bourbon and spices.

Cranberry Walnut Pie– A sweet, tart and crunchy combination.

Caramel Apple Pie– Features crunching topping and swirls of homemade caramel.

Pecan Pie– Delicious combination of nuts and sweetness.

Classic Pumpkin Pie– with locally grown pumpkin from Locavorious.

You can use the order link for questions or special requests or email me at janice @whynotpie.com.

I’m sure I’ll be doing another pie sampling event at Argus Farm Stop again soon. Watch for updates in the newsletters and on the Facebook page.

Weekend Plans for Pie

A slice of French Apple Pie-- Photo by Diane and Doug Russell
A slice of French Apple Pie– Photo by Diane and Doug Russell

Friday is a happy day when I hand over pies to waiting customers or leave pies on porches to greet their soon-to-be delightfully surprised recipients. I don’t always get the exact report of what my pies are up to, but I know a few facts nonetheless.

This weekend, among others activities, my pies will be:

* posing for photographs, for future newsletters and the book project;

* thanking someone for a lovely weekend past;

* served as dessert on family movie night;

* celebrating with a newlywed couple;

* as a mini-pie, being a “just right” sized dessert for two.

A weekend is a great time to share a pie with a friend or loved one!

How to Put Words on Pies

Mini Alphabet Pastry Cutters

I bought these very cute tiny alphabet pastry cutters from the William and Sonoma store at least a year ago.

Small letters with hand, for scale

I’ve been waiting for an occasion to use them, and tonight I had the chance.

Cutting out letters from pastry

I was asked to make a Happy 3rd Birthday pie for a group that meets tomorrow night to celebrate their third year of existence.

Pie before cooking with egg wash

I was hoping that the pie would behave in the oven and that the filling would not bubble over and ruin my letters.

Happy 3rd Birthday Pie

I think the pie came out even better than I hoped it might!

Girl Scout Cookie Bake-off Benefit


I’m very excited to have been invited to participate as a Guest Chef in this year’s Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Girl Scout Cookie Bake-off Benefit. The event takes place on Thursday, September 19, 2013 at the Ann Arbor Marriott Ypsilanti at Eagle Crest, Garden Marquee Tent, 1275 S. Huron St., Ypsilanti, Michigan 48197. The Girl Scout Cookie Bake-Off raises funds to support participation in Girl Scouts for low-income and at-risk girls in our area.

I’ll be competing in the challenge to make the best dessert using Girl Scout cookies as an ingredient. I have a bunch of ideas that I’m trying out– and everyone seems to have a suggestion or two. What’s your favorite cookie or best idea? Feel free to share it here or on the Why Not Pie facebook page.

If you are interested in attending the event, I’d love to see you there. Visit the Girl Scout website to learn more about the benefit and how to get tickets.

From a sweet little fan across the ocean

The Little Family, as we affectionately call our son, his wife and their daughter, are living overseas for the year. The brilliant and hard-working Lyssa received a Fulbright Fellowship, and she is teaching English at the University of Warsaw. The Little Family has settled in and done well this year.

Skype has been a real life-saver, allowing us to chat with the Little Family. We can have a lengthy serious and/or silly conversation with all of them and catch up on the news while Emma and Grandpa make faces at each other.

Last month, Emma showed us the pictures she’d drawn for us.

Gma Gpa Emma

This one says she loves us. Note my fashionable side ponytail and glasses, and Grandpa’s impressive beard.

I love pie by Emma

In this picture, Emma declares her love of PIE as well. She loves us and sends us kisses and hugs.

I have plenty of hugs and kisses stored up for her, upon her return. And I promise there will be plenty of pie as well.

Pie Angel

Pie Angel by Willow Tree

My mother-in-law collected angels. She had a set of shelves to display her collection of several dozen angels of different shapes, sizes and composition, and when she moved from her house to an apartment, the angel collection was one of the items that had to come along. Mom loved this collection and loved the gifts her friends brought to add to her shelves.

After Mom passed away 3 years ago, we thought about what to do with her collections of angels and also teacups and teapots. Keeping another person’s collection is a daunting prospect, especially when those items are added to one’s own sizable belongings. Although it may not have been Mom’s idea to break up the collections, we wanted to share our good memories of Mom with those who loved her too.

First we asked our children what they would like to have, and they selected pieces that they wanted to keep in memory of their grandmother. Then we reached out to friends and relatives and asked if they might like a teacup or angel to remind them of Mom. Many of them did. I packaged up a teacup or angel from the collection and sent them on their way. The recipients appreciated the pieces we gave them or mailed to them. Although it wasn’t an easy project, the task gave me joy to do and peace to complete.

Sometimes we look at a collection of items and don’t see the individual parts. Going through the angels and teacups to sort them out, I discovered the Pie Angel pictured above. I had not previously noticed her sitting on the shelf with all of the other angels; she hadn’t stood out to me then.

When I saw her, the Pie Angel felt like a messenger sent to me. I was launching my pie business, and this angel seemed to embody the sense of hospitality and sharing that I want to incorporate into the pies I make. Each pie is like a gift, made for someone and made to share. I’ve kept the Pie Angel to remind me of someone dear who was always generous to me and to remind me to keep a generous heart.

What Pies Do on the Weekend

Homemade Cherry Crumb Pie
Cherry Crumb Pie, Photography by Diane & Doug Russell

What are you up to this weekend?

I have a few activities going on– but not as much as my pies have planned.  This weekend, pies I’ve made will be:

  • Going to a Kentucky Derby Party
  • Cheering up a mom
  • Being a surprise guest at a dinner party
  • Thanking someone for his time
  • Refreshments at Green Wood Coffee House, a live folk music venue in Ann Arbor
  • Thanking a teacher
  • Going to a wedding shower
  • Saying a sweet good-bye

… and who knows what else.

Pies can do amazing things!

Calico Palace Apple Pie

Calico Palace Apple Pie
Calico Palace Apple Pie

When I was a child, our family vacations always involved a lot of driving.  We drove from Michigan to destinations like Maine, Florida, or Nevada.  Us kids would sprawl out — as much as possible– in the roomy back seat of the family car and pass the time playing road games and reading.  For some reason I can’t remember, I read Black Beauty –repeatedly–, but my sister, who was 7 years older and therefore more sophisticated, read books like Calico Palace, an historical  romance set in the Gold Rush of California.  Her rapture, punctuated by sighs, made me anxious for the days when I’d be old enough to read books about love instead of books about horses.

I eventually did get to read Calico Palace, and I have read it many times since.  Both the love story and the history of California of the mid-1800s made an impression on me.

When I started baking pies regularly, I suddenly remembered an important plot point in Calico Palace that involves an apple pie technique taught to the heroine, Kendra, by the handsome stranger.  I won’t give away the plot, but the apple pie tip was this:

“May I give you a hint?” asked Ted.  He took up the box of raisins.  “Soak a few raisins overnight in wine and add them to the pie filling.” (p25)

Calico Palace Pie is my version of apple pie with wine soaked golden raisins. It’s a good book and, according to the testers, a 5-star winning pie.

Thoughts on Delivery Day

Pie in boxFriday has been my traditional pie delivery day.  I picked Friday because it worked well in my schedule.  I also thought having a pie on hand for the weekend would make the weekend even better for my customers.

I do deliver on other days of the week.  On Wednesday morning, I dropped off a pie that a young woman had got as a birthday gift for a friend.  She wrote that her friend had been “drooling over” my email messages, and so she wanted to surprise her for her birthday.  She was sweet enough to send me a follow up message and let me know the pie was a “huge hit”– the kind of stuff I always love to hear.

Baking pies is good time, but delivering a pie is pure joy.  People are always happy to see you when you are holding a pie!  So much of what we have in our lives is meant for anyone, but a pie baked just for you– that’s the kind of gift that means the most.

The Why Not Pie Blog

I’m really excited about launching the Why Not Pie Blog.

This venue will give me the space to post recipes, comments, stories and conversations and wax on eloquently about pie.

Pie is nothing new.  As a foodstuff, it’s got a long and glorious history — one that even pre-dates the US of A, the place that considers pie as American as itself.  Certainly pies were around in the Middle Ages, when they were known as pyes.  According to both Time Magazine and Wikipedia, pies were prepared in ancient times by both the Greeks and the Romans.

Pie is nothing new for me either.  I’ve been baking pies for more than three decades, but I’ve only gotten serious about pie in the last two plus years since I started Why Not Pie.  In that time, I’ve tried dozens of recipes and made hundreds of pies.

One of the best things about pie is sharing it.  Making a pie for someone else is an act of generosity, care,  and kindness, and it’s something I really enjoy.

This blog is one more way to share the joy of pie!