Chapter 4 – Baking a Pie

By Ruth

I was up early the next morning, having had a quiet night. I dreamed of horses carrying me into the sky on a chariot. It was filled with apples. I was even eating one as we climbed higher and higher. At last the dream finished there.

When I went downstairs, my Aunt Sadie was in the kitchen, my Uncle Jim had already left early. She was happy to see me so early and she had more plans for our day together. “First, we are going to make a pie from the apples we picked yesterday.” She had the flour, baking powder, and shortening all set. She got out an apron for me which was too large, so we doubled it up around the waist. I looked and felt funny; we laughed and laughed. She let me help in peeling the apples and with the dough already mixed, she sprinkled sugar and cinnamon over the apples. I tasted one slice and it was so good I had a couple more. My aunt said we would have to peel more but she didn’t mind. She spread half of the dough around the pie tin after rolling it out on the breadboard.

Next the apples which had been sprinkled with flour, were piled very high. “Why so high?” I asked. She told me the apples would shrink when cooked. Next, the second half of dough rolled out went on top after she cut air marks for the steam, she said.

We had some dough left over, so she rolled it out and formed a long strip about 4″ wide. I was curious. “What are you going to do with that?” “You’ll see,” my aunt said. Next she buttered the whole strip and in a small dish she mixed cinnamon and sugar which she spread on top of the butter. Then she rolled it up to the middle, turned it around and rolled the other side to the middle, which she put into the oven to bake.

The last thing was cleaning up. My aunt was really very neat and clean. While the pie was cooking in the oven, we went into what she called the cooling room. It was small and lined with shelves on each side, with a small window at the end opposite the door. There was a large table in the center. It had a lower ceiling and the floor was wood. It was indeed colder, too. It smelled like the outdoors. The shelves had very large pans, which were only about 4 inches high. I looked at my aunt and asked what we were going to do.

She opened the drawer of the table and took out something that was shaped like a large seashell from the ocean, but it was metal and had small holes all through it. She let me hold it and it felt very light. She called it a cream scooper. It was the size of her hand. “Come, I’ll show you.” She took down one of the large pans and it was full of milk, I saw as she placed it on the table. She had another empty dish she had brought from the kitchen. I was really wondering what she was going to do. She started to skim off the top of the milk in the pan with the shell like scoop and what she picked up and put in the empty dish was the cream, it seemed so easy I wanted to try it myself. She was happy that I wanted to try but said I would have to wait until most of the cream was put in the dish. Then at the end, with only one or two scoops left, she showed me how and let me try it.

The first time I went too deep, so I had milk with the cream. I tried again and my aunt let me put the cream in the dish for I did it right this time. She continued to skim the cream from another pan and then we went back into the kitchen with the dish of cream. I was glad to be in the warm kitchen. In the city we would buy the cream in little bottles which were delivered with the milk by the milkman to our house. I felt I had learned something by this experience in the cooling room.

The smell of the pie cooking was tempting. My aunt took out the strip with the cinnamon, sugar and butter on and it was bubbling and looked so good, with a really wonderful aroma. We let it cool. The pie needed a little more cooking. My aunt said we should name the little dough strip she made for me. “Let’s see, Apple Strip?” No, it didn’t have apples. “Cinnamon Stick?” No, it wasn’t a stick. I know my aunt said, “How about Kuca” I laughed. “Sounds funny. Kuca, what’s it mean?” I asked. “I don’t know!” my aunt said, “It just looks like a Kuca.” So we agreed to Kuca it would be.

The pie was finished, so we put it outside to cool. We would have it at suppertime when my uncle Jim came home, but the “Kuca” I could have now, with a glass of the cool milk from the cooling room. I enjoyed its sweet taste and the crust just seemed to melt in my mouth, my aunt tasted it too.

My aunt had to do some work in the vegetable garden on the hill behind the house. She put on her old shoes and gave me a small basket to bring some vegetables back for supper. I also put on my straw hat. We trudged up the small hill and there it was, with bees, flies, all kinds of bugs flying all around. My aunt said I should start by picking the string beans. I wasn’t too happy about this, as we had a small vegetable garden at home and I’d picked string bean before. However, I set to picking them and putting them in the basket. My aunt did some weeding around the plants and soon as it was very hot in the sun we finished. The basket was full and my aunt thought I had done a good job.

Later at supper, with my uncle Jim home, we had the apple pie with the cream, whipped from the cooling room. It was so flaky and crunchy and just smelled so wonderful. I had two pieces. My aunt and uncle thought that I was so hungry from working in the garden, but it was because it was so good.

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One response to “Chapter 4 – Baking a Pie

  1. Arlene A Loomis

    I did that as well with the leftover pie dough for my children.

    We lived in the country and got our milk from the cow directly and also skimmed the cream. Nice Memories

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