This week's Pies About Town is admittedly a bit of a stretch. It's not even about pie and it's about Getting Out of Town. More specifically, it is prompted by this week's date of January 14, 2014.
Ninety years ago, on January 14, 1924 my grandparents, Dorothy and Milton married in New York City. Following the reception, they boarded the Cunard ship, the Berengaria. What I find so remarkable about this formidable young couple, was their honeymoon itinerary. My grandfather was a dentist with a private practice in Manhattan. He took a five month leave of absence joining the Berengaria as the ship's dentist. To notify his patients, he printed the following cards:
In researching a bit about the ship, I came across a copy of a typical dinner menu from the luxury liner. They certainly didn't skimp on the dessert course; Fancy Cakes, Puddings with Fruit Sauces, Glaceed Fruits, European Ices, Teas and Cafe Noir (not a mocha-cappa-soy-latte in sight). A trunk emblazoned with labels of the 25 ports of call they visited resides with my sister. If that trunk could talk, the stories it could tell; about a couple who cherished both travel and each other.
Should one of your 2014 resolutions involve honing your baking skills, check out the site Baking with Betsy. I can vouch for Betsy's pastry talents as I've had the good fortune of being on the receiving end of her scrumptious baked goods. Not only is she a Paris trained pastry chef, she's a witty writer and gifted instructor. She was also my Ithaca College roommate and sidekick. More importantly, Betsy baked an incredible chocolate ruffle cake for my wedding which she transported from Connecticut to New Jersey. I returned the favor, baking her wedding cake and driving the three tiers oh-so-carefully from Philadelphia to Connecticut. In our old age, I suspect we will still be reminiscing about Sophomore Review, our lack of skill in both ballet and tap dance, and discussing in great detail our favorite pie recipes. Happy New Year, Bets.
Pie memories are powerful things. If you are lucky enough to live in the Pacific Northwest, there are infinite bakeries and restaurants dedicated to the art of pie. One slice, however, haunts me still. Seattle's Dahlia Lounge Triple Coconut Cream Pie. A towering dessert, boasting coconut flakes in the crust, coconut milk (and more flakes) in the pastry cream, finishing with a crown of toasted coconut and curls of white chocolate. In fact, the Tom Douglas Restaurants of Seattle celebrate National Coconut Cream Pie Day. A holiday dedicated to this particular dessert is so enticing, I just may have to pay a visit to my Seattle sister, Barbara, so we may join in the festivities. Until then, I will bide my time poring over the Dahlia Bakery cookbook paying particular attention to pages 161-163.