Sunday, July 17, 2016

Church Festival Eve

Someday I will share photos of my church festival. Unfortunately every year I am so busy that I never get a chance to take any pictures!  This year was no exception. So I will again be sharing photos of Church Festival Eve. 

I was baking pies. Lots and Lots of pies. 

One of the features of our church festival is the BBQ Chicken dinner. We switched to a new bbq'er this year, young guys with a different method and recipe. It was a difficult decision with lots of thought and prayer and we will have to wait for our evaluation meeting to find out if we made the right choice. We have an "all-day" kitchen crew that makes roasters of green beans with bacon and onions and mashed potatoes and gravy to serve with the chicken (or ham in roasters if you don't like chicken). Other sides include roll and butter and a slice of HOMEMADE pie, as well as coffee, water or lemonade if you "eat-in". We do a pretty big carry out business, too. 

To start my pies, I gather the ingredients: a pound of flour, a can of shortening, a teaspoon of salt, 3 tablespoons of vinegar and 3 cups of milk. I always pick up an extra roaster pan on sale after the holidays just to mix pie dough. 
Mix the 5 pound bag of flour with the teaspoon of salt. 

Next, cut in the WHOLE 3 pound can of shortening. As you can see, I use two pastry cutters, one in each hand, for this job (and it is a job to get it crumbly.)
Once it looks like this, you can mix your 3-31/2 cups of milk and 3 tablespoons of vinegar in a 4 cup measuring cup. Make a well in the middle of your dough and pour it in. I have no photo for this step because it is a horrible mess. The only way to mix it is with your hands. Just dig in and mix. It will be terribly sticky and all over your hands. You will know when it is mixed enough because it will come off your hands! Really, it will. 
The recipe says it makes 15 crusts. I always get way more. Just cover the counter with flour (you will need at least 2 more cups of flour than what came in your 5 pound bag) and pinch off two handfuls. After you roll a few, you will be able to judge how much dough you will need per crust. 
Because I was baking all my pies in the same day, I rolled each one, put it in an aluminum pie pan and layered them with waxed paper. It was in the 90's with 100% humidity the day I was baking (of course) so even with the air conditioner humming, my 425 degree oven kept things pretty warm. I kept the waiting crusts in the refrigerator, grabbing one out to fill, flipping the next one on top, cutting the slits and putting them on my PREHEATED metal cookie sheets to bake two at a time. I do have a confection oven, but they just seem to bake better on the regular setting. 
This year's pie count: 11  This year's cake count (for the cake walk): 6
The final count was 2 pumpkin, 1 peach, 4 blueberry and 4 cherry. 

We almost ran out of pie! We barely had enough for the 1700 Chicken halves, some of which are sold as quarters so I am not sure how many dinners that made. 

The little toothpick flags on top are designating flavor. I like to make it easier for the ladies in the pie room. 

If you are not a person who is going to bake 11 pies in one day, the crusts can be frozen unbaked, too. I suppose you could freeze them in the pie tins, but I just roll them between 2 layers of waxed paper and fold it in quarters and put them in a freezer bag. They keep several months and can work for chicken pot pies, too! 

I did speak to several women who asked about my shingles. When I told the first one (a former hospice nurse) I was on Lyrica, she asked me about my "Lyrica Brain" - the forgetfulness and general fogginess. I felt very vindicated. When working in the kitchen with my husband and sons in the after-dinner-clean-up-crew, two of the women had used Lyrica for nerve damage and were commiserating about the weight gain, feeling of drunkenness and general complaints. I feel fortunate that I have been able to reduce how much I am using it for the nerve pain. For the past two days I have not taken any during the day and am able to control the tingling with ibuprofen. I am still using it at night, but using less. I am hoping that maybe in a week or two I will be done with it! I have too much to do to deal with this brain fade! 


  1. You are one amazing woman! I cannot imagine how tired you were after all those pies! They looked so yummy. Glad you can cut down on the Lyrica. It can cause some very undesirable side effects!

  2. You got so much accomplished! Bravo!

  3. Oh my goodness, what a lot of pies! And then to bake all those cakes too. Well done! Sorry to hear about your shingles. I've been thinking I need to get the vaccine. Not sure I'm quite old enough for insurance to cover the cost, but I think it would be worth it.

  4. Amazing! Thank you for the large scale recipe as once I move back North I think I will need it. What an accomplishment! I'm so sorry you got shingles. I had the shot as my Mother had them and I know it was very painful.


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Miss Merry