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Sunday, August 8, 2010

Tradition - yes! Cake - no!

Past generations had pretty standard traditions for most occasions and when a child was celebrating a birthday, having cake was more than an assumed expectation, it was the rule. I do not remember the pivotal point, it may have been my renegade husband who said, "I really don't like cake. Can we have something else?" A new tradition was born. The birthday celebration can completely reflect the culinary tastes and desires of the honoree and why not? This idea in itself is the new tradition. Through the years we have had many birthday cheesecakes, key lime pie, strawberry shortcake, ice cream cake which contains no cake at all outside of the chocolate crumbs in the middle and several apple pies.

This year, I wondered how I could personalize an apple pie the way a birthday cake can be iced, frosted, have computer generated graphics and many options for a cake. I have a number of "crust cutters" which are small metal forms similar to cookie cutters and among them are leaf and apple shapes. I wondered if I could roll out the top crust and simply carve out "Happy Birthday." Well, I'm sure it can be done, but for my first time out, I decided instead to simply carve his three letter name, "KEN" and call it a personalized birthday pastry.


What do you do at a family birthday party? We played wiffle ball in between dinner and dessert. Once the candles were lit, the happy birthday song was sung, we had our birthday pie and played 2 furious rounds of Uno. Ah, what is sweeter than good times with our families and the memories we create?

Looking over this experimental and small step into a new tradition, I wonder what I can do to improve. Next time, I may think out the font a bit more carefully, but I recommend everyone try this at least once.

The filling for this apple pie was 6 large apples, peeled and sliced, a sprinkle of cinnamon, a tablespoon each of sugar and flour, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

A secret - I used a store bought double crust, but yes, I can make my own from scratch. This pie was fancied up by the personalized custom crust carved before baking.

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