One Dish: the 'omigod' peach pie

Make the pie. Eat the pie. Become a pie-hound. Kate McDermott will help you.

McDermott at the pie class

McDermott at the pie class Ronald Holden

Kate's scrumptious peach pie

Kate's scrumptious peach pie Ronald Holden

There are three kinds of people in the world, Kate McDermott will tell you: pie-makers, pie-eaters, and pie-seekers. The epic pie odyssey of New Yorker writer Sue Hubbell 20 years ago concluded that you could not get pie west of Oklahoma; you got cobbler. But that was in 1989.

There's another argument: There are pie people and there are cake people. It's a distinction that eludes me completely, since I don't consider myself either one, or didn't until I watched McDermott bake a pie. After all, people have been making pie since the dawn of civilization (since the advent of milled grain, at any rate), and McDermott's mission these days — she used to be a musician — is to teach the mechanics as well as the art of pie-making to whoever comes through the door.

Begin, she insists, with King Arthur unbleached all-purpose flour. "I want wheat growers to take this class," she says, "so they can see what a difference the right flour makes." Then Irish butter, foil-wrapped Kerrygold, with high fat content. Leaf lard; she gets hers shipped from Pennsylvania. Regular sugar, a touch of seasoning (salt, nutmeg), some thickener so you don't get fruit soup.

For the fruit, at this time of year McDermott uses Frog Hollow Cal-Red peaches, shipped in single-layer boxes from the farm in Brentwood, Calif. McDermott's ex, Jon Rowley, started the Peach-O-Rama promotion for Metropolitan Markets with these peaches, using a refractometer to measure the sugar content: at least 13 brix (percent sugar).

For this day's demonstration at Diane's Market Kitchen in Post Alley (at Madison), McDermott uses peaches that measured 20 brix, off the charts. "The omigod peach," McDermott calls it.

The details of the pie-making process are not complicated, as long as you keep everything ice-cold, and won't be repeated here. They're at McDermott's website, and she teaches pie-making classes in Seattle and Port Angeles.

Trust me that when you taste the pie, with its flakey crust and luscious filling, you will become a believer. The very act of pie-eating will turn you into a pie-seeker. You are a disciple now, reciting the mantra: Be happy, eat pie.

Seattle writer Ronald Holden blogs at Cornichon.org. He can be reached at editor@crosscut.com.


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Comments:

Posted Fri, Sep 10, 8:44 a.m. Inappropriate

Was fortunate enough to have a huge slice of Kate's Frog Hollow peach pie for brunch at a wedding last weekend. As I said to her with a full mouth and an eye on a second piece, it was a bite of buttery, sweet love. I plan to get on the waiting list for her class soon to learn how to pass a bit of that love on to the next person.

OnaLark

Posted Thu, Sep 16, 2:29 p.m. Inappropriate

I am definitely a pie person.

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