We’ve already experienced some pretty awesome pies across the states… Check out these ones in Chicago for example!
So a suggestion for Mom’s Apple Pie in Leesburg, northern Virginia, we almost overlooked. Luckily, we didn’t!
After a gorgeous lunch at Patowmack Farm and shooting a recipe video IN A RIVER… We drove the short distance to the pie shop. It was late in the day, they were supposed to be shut, but had kindly hung back for us.
First thing we noticed as we approached was the efforts they had gone to in order to welcome us. They had even displayed a huge #lostandhungry in the window… so cool! We later found out that Avis uses her window to post words of wisdom and thoughtful phrases to passers by. We strongly approve of this particular message, although we’re a little bias.
The shop stemmed from a farm and has been open for decades. It’s a proper institution, selling all sorts of fruit pies and peaking at Thanksgiving when they produce, wait for it, 4,000 in the space of 24hrs! If you’ve seen the setup they have, it’s almost impossible to believe!
After tasting some pie (a blackberry pie that used the first fruit of the season and berries that were ginormous) we were invited back into the kitchen to have a go at making some ourselves.
A few top pro tips we learnt from them are:
- An all butter and very ‘short’ pastry is best, but you have to work quickly, especially in the Virginia heat. Sometimes they even freeze the flour to aid the process and stop it becoming tacky as you work it.
- A layer of fruity cream cheese on the base of their open berry pies gives it a great eating mouthful and stops the base crust going soggy.
- The fruit mixes they use have very little sugar in them… The fruit are naturally sweet and retain their tartness. Instead of sugar to bring out flavour its enhanced with a little lemon juice.
- After crimping a lidded pie they use a whole egg (with a little added sugar) to brush over the top. But only the middle bit, not the crimps themselves. That helps to make sure the whole pie colours evenly as it bakes.
We were treated to a slice of the classic pie with a swirl of frozen yoghurt. It wasn’t overly sweet and acted in the same way that a slice of sharp cheddar melted on top would… another American tradition. The portion was huge but because it wasn’t overly sweet and tasted so intensely of delicious apple we happily scoffed the lot!