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All stacked into one

Published August 24. 2013 09:05AM

Today I'm going to talk about stacked.

For instance, an enormously wealthy 65-year-old man falls in love with a young woman in her 20s who is really stacked. He is contemplating a proposal.

"Do you think she'd marry me if I tell her I'm 45?" he asked a friend.

"Your chances are better," said the friend, "if you tell her you're 90."

Then there's having a deck of cards stacked so you can win in a card game. If anyone could stack a deck of cards it would be my Uncle Dick and since he loses all the time in Scat, it must be impossible. If there's a card game scene in a Western movie or TV show, it's almost a given that someone stacked the cards and there's going to be a shoot-out. Which to me is the perfect reason for not stacking the cards.

Here's another. When Becky moved, she stacked all her stuff in our attic, like stacks and stacks of books and they're all stacked on top of each other. Harry's afraid one day the ceiling's going to come tumbling down around us. Then we'll be sitting there with drywall stacked on top of our heads.

Have you ever asked someone if you stacked up to another person? Like, "Harry, am I as pretty as your old girlfriend?" You might say I stacked the cards against him with that question.

Have you ever said, "I swear on a stack of Bibles?" to prove you were telling the truth? How about being so angry that you blew your stack? Did you ever wonder how your pie stacked up to your best friend's?

Which leads me to my next question ... have you ever heard of a Stacked Pie?

A few weeks ago, my sister called all excited about a segment she watched on the "Today Show."

"Did you ever hear of Stacked Pie?" she asked.

"No. But if it involves pie, tell me all about it," I replied eagerly.

Melissa Clark, a food writer for The New York Times, wrote about it in the July 2 issue, then made it on the "Today Show" on July 23.

I turned to my friend Google to learn more.

Melissa had interviewed Karen Thorton who was doing her family's genealogy. An aunt gave her a book from the '30s about North Carolina, where her family is from. A paragraph describes people bringing fruit pies to church functions. Each family's pie got stacked on top of one another, often spackled together with caramel frosting, and when it was dessert time, the whole thing was sliced like a layer cake.

Karen, along with her husband, Chris, who have their own blog, The Peche, has become obsessed, and has baked dozens of stack pies in different flavors.

"Stack pie deserves to be better known," Chris said. "You get the interplay of tastes and textures that a single pie could never deliver. It makes you taste pie in a whole new way."

Well, them thar words sounded like a challenge for the Dumb and Dumber sisters.

"I'm going to make one for the church Pie Contest," I said.

"No, you can't. I found it first," Diane argued.

"You can't make one for the contest because you're the contest coordinator," I countered.


"What if we make one and raffle it off?" she suggested as a compromise.

"I like that. Let's do it!"

We decided on Melissa Clark's strawberry-blueberry-thyme pie atop a whole lemon pie because it was a little different with the ingredients of fresh thyme and Crème de cassis. (We were so dumb we had to look up what Crème de cassis was since I couldn't find it in the baking aisle. Turns out it is a sweet, dark red liqueur made from black currants. Who knew?)

Since Diane is the Queen of Crusts, I delegated the crusts to her, which had to be prebaked. We forgot to buy beans to act as pie weights. Good old Google said we could use pennies, of which we have a large stash. Our retirement fund.

"Do you think the pie crust will end up with a coppery taste?" I wondered. So we placed parchment paper down first just to be safe. Let me tell you, the pennies worked wonderful! And the crust didn't taste coppery at all. Whew.

It took us four hours to make the pies. There's a reason our husbands nicknamed us Dumb and Dumber but this column isn't long enough for me to elaborate. It took another couple of hours for them to cool.

At the church picnic, we perched it on a pretty paper doily on my Princess House glass cake stand under the glass dome cover and sold tickets for a $1.

We made a whole $26 for our Capital Campaign. OK. We didn't raise a lot of money, but we sure did raise a lot of interest. Everyone was curious and generated lots of conversation.

Sherry Kreger, a first-class pie maker herself, won the Stacked Pie. She loved it! Son Jared liked the lemon the best, husband Ted liked the blueberry and Sherry liked the strawberry but thought it was a delicious combination. Jared's friend Dylan liked it but thought there were too many flavors going on.

Diane and I decided we have to make another one for our Labor Day picnic since we didn't get to taste it. We have a list of do's and dont's because the first one wasn't stacked up to all it could have been. Trouble is, she wants to make the same one and I want to try the Bourbon Fudge and Brown Butter Pecan Stacked Pie. I see a Stacked Pie bake-off coming up.

I recently bought a "Special Moments" journal. Immediately after baking our Stacked Pie, I wrote my first entry about our morning together in the kitchen. You see, if anyone had ever told me when I was 15 and she was 7 that someday we'd be best friends, I would have laughed my head off. But here we are, almost 50 years later, and I can honestly say, she's a sister, friend, confidante, playmate, arm-chair psychologist, partner-in-crime ... everything all stacked into one. How lucky am I?

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