My mother has wonderful memories of her family baking the pies going back to when she was a small child. Days of preparation; shopping, cooking, chopping, baking, dozens and dozens of pies were made. My mother tells me how her mother and her grandmother before that would make the dough, roll out the pies and someone else would fill, a top crust would go on and into the oven they’d go. They had a large old stove and could fit as many as six or seven pies, at once, depending on the size. Small, large and even tiny ones that they would make for each child individually. The tins came in all sizes came from so many places, old bakeries that had the names stamped on the bottom. These were old, even when my mother was a child.
They’d start early on Holy Saturday morning and relatives would start filtering in around twelve, because everyone knew you weren’t allowed to eat any meat before you heard the noon church bells.
A clean sheet was laid out over the bed, the windows opened, so as the pies came out of the oven, they could be laid out to cool, but not before each pie got an egg wash so it would be nice and shiny.
|This is a picture of my grandma Nettie, myself and my brother|
By three or four in the afternoon, the baking was finished, the kitchen cleaned, the relatives on their way home, each with a pie of their own. My grandmother would wrap the cooled pies and put a little slip of paper with a nice designating who the pie was going to go to. She’d bring them to friends, neighbors and hand them out at work (she was a sewing machine operator.) But always, a good amount of pies would stay in her refrigerator and a few in the freezer to be enjoyed later on. (http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2007/04/08/the-miracle-of-my-mother-s-easter-pies.html)
By the time my mother was eight, she’d be helping. Maybe a little chopping, maybe a little filling and usually my mother was the one to brush the egg wash on the finished pies to give them a lovely sheen.
After time it was just my mother and her mother making the pies. But the same pattern of the relatives, the bells and the first bite would continue. By the time my brother and I came along, my grandmother felt it was too much work for my mother to have to come over with small children, so my grandma made the pies by herself.
I999 was the last time my grandma made pies. My mother never wanted to bake the pies herself, even though I asked her many times. But this time she did. We made them together. The pies came out great. My grandma would be proud.
¾ pounds of hot sausage
¾ of a pound of smoked pork shoulder
¾ cup of grated parmesan or romano (we used a mix)
1 pound mozzarella (used fresh, chopped into little cubes)
Fresh Parsley, chopped
Freshly ground pepper