By Jill Brooke
Before we break down state by state the nation’s favorite pies in honor of National Pie Day, we want to share the decorating tips of the talented Helen Nugent who is the author of “Pie Style.”
Nugent’s floral embellishments are pieces of art. So how does she do it? After all, Pi is about math and you need to apply those skills for any baking success. It’s not only measurements but following directions.
1)Freeze the Pie Before Baking
“One of the questions I’m asked most often is how I get my pie decorations to keep their shape in the oven,” she says. “The answer is simple. Freeze the pie before you bake it. The freezing process does a couple of things. First, it allows your pie dough (and glutens) to relax so decorations are less likely to shrink and more likely to behave when they hit the heat.”
2) Put the Frozen Decorations in the Oven Frozen
Her next tip is when you put the frozen pie decorations in the oven, the heat goes to work right away, “setting the dough as it defrosts and before the decorations have a chance to distort.”
3) Observe How Pie Is Baking for Needed Help
“Now that doesn’t mean you can throw a highly decorated pie in the oven and walk away,” she counsels. “These lovelies demand your attention.” Especially for the delicate petals.
4) Sometimes Bake Delicate Flowers Separately and then Put on Pie
Sometimes, she says, you have to remove the flowers from the pie, freeze them and begin baking them separately on a cookie sheet. She adds them to the oven 20 minutes into the pie bakes.
“Once they had set and begun to brown, I dabbed a bit of egg wash on the bottom of each, reattached them to the pie and continued to bake,” says Nugent. A bit more of effort but certainly worth it.
5) For Coloring for Petals, Try Tumeric – Plus it’s Good For You
And how did she get the sunflowers, the flower of the moment, to be yellow? She mixed turmeric with water and brushed it on. Smart right?
Now as far as what are the favorite pies throughout the nation – one has to dig deeper, as one does in the garden.
Yes, apple pie is the runaway hit. But there’s also a reason for that preference. Apples, unlike peaches, raspberries and cherries are more expensive. Plus, pecan and pumpkin are often linked with the fall holidays though I love eating those pies all year round. What can I say? Many of us are traditionalists and I’m just a girl with a sweet tooth.
This study was done by Instacart which is a leading on line grocery platform in North America partnering with 700 national, regional and local retailers. They have data from over 3.6 million pie sales – which is a lot of pie data indeed. Here are the results.
A look at every state’s most uniquely popular pie flavor
Pie beg your pardon? Here’s a closer look at the findings:
Although sweet pies do make us happy, Nugent points out that savory pies can also be used as a main course. In fact, in her book, she has recipes for Easter pies filled with ham and cheese as well as quiches for a brunch, all decorated of course, with spring flowers. Furthermore, for St. Patrick’s Day, consider using a leaf motif. After all, we always need a little luck in the kitchen as well as in all parts of life.
Jill Brooke is a former CNN correspondent, Post columnist and editor-in-chief of Avenue and Travel Savvy magazine. She is an author and the editorial director of FPD and floral editor for Aspire Design and Home magazine and contributor to Florists Review magazine.