Petticoat Pie's Rachel Simmons, Part Three: Taste your apples and Thanksgiving pies

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Sometimes a little pie packs a big punch.
  • Sometimes a little pie packs a big punch.
Thanksgiving is the time that tries a baker's soul because it is the one holiday where you're obligated to eat a slice. Rachel Simmons, the owner of Petticoat Pies, is hoping that your homey creations have a place at your Thanksgiving table. Today, she talks about the secret to a good piece of pie.

On Wednesday, she shared how she launched her company at the age of 25, and yesterday, she explained how her company's name was an homage to Kansas prairie women, albeit without the corsets of their age.

All my crusts are a combination of whole wheat and flour. I really love working with whole-wheat flour, especially when you have those sweet pies. It's perfect with oatmeal pie and a bit of brown sugar. The grains work really well together.

A good fruit pie needs as little sugar as possible. I read a recipe for apple pie this year. It said apples, sugar and cinnamon to taste. I recommend that you taste or eat your apple first. See how tart it is. It'd be a shame to overshadow the fruit's taste.

I hate those pies that are syrupy and thick where the fruit is overly cooked and overly soft. When you grow up, you realize that fruit-flavored candies never taste like the fruit. I want to be able to eat a whole slice of pie, so I don't use marshmallows - they just add sugar to the pie. That doesn't mean that marshmallows aren't perfect for s'mores, and I've actually thought about a s'mores pie. Take something like a sweet potato. They're naturally sweet, and if you roast them long enough, the sucrose kind of bubbles up. The sugar is just there waiting for you.

People will tell you that pies are hard, but my mom always made pie. And things like a custard pie, where you cook up a few ingredients on a stove and then pour it in - how easy is that? I still think pumpkin pie is easy. You cut a pumpkin and scoop it out. Then you have all those pumpkin seeds, too. You roast the pumpkin until it's soft. It's more work than a can opener, but it's so good.

Simmons is taking pie orders (apple, pear, pumpkin and sweet potato) for Thanksgiving until Saturday, November 19. The pies will be available for pickup on November 22 and 23.

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