Her son Matthew, who’d moved to the West Coast, introduced her to Sean Brennan, who was in the restaurant business. Grasley and Brennan opened the Pie Hole in Los Angeles’ Arts District where, even among the stylish loft spaces, they found an eager market for her homey offerings.
“Pie is messy‘’ became the shop’s motto, conveying the idea that it’s OK “if a slice of blueberry pie is oozing filling out of the sides rather than sitting on the plate like a perfect, pert triangle.”
This laid-back approach applies to the recipes within her book of the same name — both “old school” (Blue Ribbon Apple Pie, Shoofly Pie) and “new school” (Strawberry-Black Sesame Panna Cotta Pie, Salted Caramel Pecan Pie). I followed her grandmother Moe’s “starfish pattern” method for rolling pie crust to make Pear, Cranberry, and Ginger Pie.
Being rusty with the rolling pin, I prepared myself, as she advised, to embrace the outcome, flaws and all. What emerged from my oven was as close to pie-making perfection as I’d ever come.
Susan Puckett is a cookbook author and former food editor of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow her at susanpuckett.com.
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