44 Comments 02 August 2013

We are happy to welcome back Kate McDermott as a guest blogger this week.  Kate is the creator and founder of Art of the Pie. Since 2006 she has taught the time-honored craft of pie making to thousands. One of the most highly sought-after culinary instructors in the North America, Kate is widely acknowledged as one of the best makers of pie ever. Named “Food Rock Star” by Seattle Magazine, Kate has given her Art of the Pie workshop to food luminaries and has received high praise from Ruth Reichl (former editor of “Gourmet”), Dorie Greenspan, Gluten Free Girl (Shauna Ahern) and many others. In 2008 her pie was featured in “Saveur” Magazine’s Top 100 Issue and appeared on the cover. She has been written about in numerous books, magazines & blogs by award-winning authors. Always friendly, fun, and down-to-earth, Kate, a practitioner of kindness, aspires to pass on the craft of pie-making to as many as she can.

It’s high summer right now and that means one thing, it’s “Make-a-Pie-to-Share” Season!

Right now I’m making pies with as many berries as I can pick, or find at my local farmers markets and even receive as hints from friends and neighbors that they would love a piece. Strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, dewberry, Loganberry, Marionberry and mixed berry, they can all go into your pie pan and make a delicious treat to share.

Photo Courtesy of Kelly Cline

Photo Courtesy of Kelly Cline

Here are the steps that I take:

  • The first step to make a great pie is to start with the most flavorful fruit you can find. Into the pie pan it goes to be measured. Fill it about ½ inch from the rim. It can poke up here or there so don’t worry about being exact. Gently turn the fruit into a medium-size mixing bowl.
  • With fruit in the bowl, add some sugar but not too much. You want to still taste the flavor of summer. Try ¾ -1 cup. You’ll taste it later and add more if you like.
  • Keep it simple with the seasoning. A grating of nutmeg. Adding a liquor can be a nice touch—about 1 oz will do which is about a shot glass full. If you like a squeeze of lemon or the zest of a lemon or orange, now would be the time to put that in, too.
  • Next you’ll need thickener. Tapioca starch is fine and it will keep your fruit shiny and bright. Add about 1/4-1/3 cup for really juicy fruit. Thickening with all-purpose flour works, too.  About ⅓ of a cup for a nine-inch pie pan but if it’s a really big pan add more.
  • Mix it all together and taste. If it needs more sugar or seasoning then put some more in. Stir again lightly and taste with your spoon.
  • Now roll out your pie dough and place in your pan. (Visit the Art of the Pie page for great dough recipes and instructions.)  Pour the filling in next and dot with Kerrygold butter the best in the land! How much? A knob is what it used to be called. It’s about a tablespoon more or less. Kerrygold butter adds even more flavor to your filling.
  • Roll out your upper crust and gently place it on top and seal the edge. Now crimp the edge in whatever way you like best. It can be a fancy flute or a simple fork crimp. With a knife make a few vents on the top to let the steam out. Brush lightly with a bit of egg white wash (1 tablespoon water and egg white fork beaten). Let it chill in the fridge while you preheat the oven. While you are waiting you can clean off your counters and rinse out your bowl.
  • Bake it at 425F for 20 minutes then turn down to 375F for another 35-40. Halfway through baking spin your pie around so that the back comes to front and front to the back. When you see steady bubbles, it’s ready and baked!
  • Let sit on the counter and cool about 2-3 hours in the pie pan…if you can!


Kate McDermott /

© 2013

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  • Sandy Moran

    Kate’s pie dough is the only recipe I use these days! If I wasn’t in the middle of getting our house ready to sell I would bake up a blackberry and apple one right now. Thanks for being such a great teacher and person Kate.

    • ArtofthePie

      Thank you, Sandy! Good luck with your house sale. Make a pie in your new one when you can!

  • Guest

    Wow – wat a great article … for a truly great person. I have to take one of those classes soon :-) Love you Kate …

    • ArtofthePie

      I love to share the craft of crust with as many as I can. And, I’ve been using Kerrygold butter for years with GREAT results!

  • Alan Monie

    Wow – what a great article for a truly great person … I have to take your class one of these days soon Kate … :-)

    • ArtofthePie

      Love to have you in class, Alan.

  • Leslie Irish Evans

    Mmmm, berry pie. My favorite! Love the idea of sharing the love. People GO CRAZY for pie!

    • ArtofthePie

      They sure do. And especially ones that are homemade and baked with love.

  • tomagram

    As a card carrying fan of Kate and a pie school graduate of her pie workshop, I am hear to say, pay attention and print these tips, they really work. Thanks Kate, you are as joyful and generous as one of your slices of pie!

    • tomagram

      I couldn’t have said it better myself!

    • ArtofthePie

      Card carrying member! Love it!!

  • Mary Walker

    If you’re trying to get to Kate’s site, and well you should, please know that it is having technical problems at the moment. We don’t have an estimate on when these will be resolved, but I’ll post again when its back up, which I hope will be, as Kate might say, berry berry soon.

    • ArtofthePie

      Thanks for letting us know, Mary. I hope my site will be up soon so everyone can access the pie dough recipes.

  • tomagram

    Kate you are the pied piper of pie, where you bake I will follow!

    • ArtofthePie

      Thank you so much, Tom!

  • Jill

    Just the inspiration I needed to make a tayberry pie! Now, whether I share it or eat it myself remains to be seen…

    • ArtofthePie

      Tayberries, too!

  • Vera Johnson

    Pie brings people together- it’s no wonder she has folks fly in from around the globe-she is a Pie rock star! I’ve had the opportunity to bake with Kate, in France and will never bake a pie without her laughter and joy coming through in my pie baking. May I someday be blessed with another pie baking day with you Kate! Much love and gratitude to her for bringing the Art of pie back to us all!

    • ArtofthePie

      Thank you, Vera! I remember so well our time baking together in France. I’m looking forward to another pie adventure with you. xo

  • Catleah Jo Cunanan

    I ALWAYS use Kate’s pâte brisée (crust) recipe- utilizing the Leaf Lard (look it up!) when I can. As those who have walked “the way of the pie” (and anybody who follows Kate’s spirit, or Facebook) would know, any season in the year is a good season for pie. In particular, I’ve baked and enjoyed several strawberry-rhubarb pies this summer.

    Sharing a pie is a wonderful way to sit down and have quality time with the people you already love, or the people you want to get to know better. Pie: a good icebreaker.

    The easy hand she describes above is excellent advise- I’ve done whiskey in apple pies, a little gruyere in the crust and port in a pear pie, all inspired by the spirit of Sharing Pie. One of my favorite “Pie Whisperer” tricks I learned from Kate was to “listen” to hear if the pie is done by a tap on the crust.

    I love this piece, thank you for sharing!

    • ArtofthePie

      Couldn’t have said it better, Catleah! Here’s to more pie!

  • Julieta Tapia

    Kate, I’ve been a huge fan of yours for a long time so you can imagine how thrilled I am to be coming to The Resort At Paws Up for your Upper Crust Event!!! Oh and I love Kerrygold butter too!

    • ArtofthePie

      Julieta, than you so much for your kind words! I’m really looking forward to bringing Art of the Pie to Paws Up and over the moon that Kerrygold butter will be featured at it. See you in Greenough, MT in October 2013!

  • Wynn Hannam

    I am a huge fan of Kate and Art of the Pie. It’s a true talent to make the process much more approachable and she truly does that. And she makes a beautifully delicious pie.

    • ArtofthePie

      Thank you, Wynn!

  • Terry Wilson

    It is a honor to know you Kate. I am so happy to have baked gluten free pies with you. Great to be able to make delicious gluten free pies after so many years without. And of course I love Kerrygold butter and cheese!

    • ArtofthePie

      Kerrygold makes GF pies really great! Thanks for checking in. Time to make a GF trailing blackberry pie right now. My forager just dropped off enough for a pie.

  • Sue Hopkins

    Baking a pie with intention takes baking to a whole new level. Kate’s lesson to meditate on someone you love and wish for their good health and happiness as you create your pie – well, it’s bound to make the world a better place. And you get to eat the most delicious slice of pie ever. My freezer’s door is filled with Kerrygold butter for a guaranteed perfect crust. There can’t be too many ‘whumps’ in the world. Bake pie!

    • ArtofthePie

      Sue- Here’s to “Sizzle-Whumps”, Kerrygold & PIE!

  • Anneliesz

    I am now inspired to start a new tradition for summer: make a pie to share! It’s ollalieberry season which means my favorite pie ever. Thanks Kate!

    • ArtofthePie

      And, what a wonderful tradition, too! Thanks for joining the fun and checking in today.

  • Catherine Gewertz

    Having baked with Kate, I can attest to the miraculous yumminess of her pies. Not only are her ingredients top-notch, but the obvious love and generosity of spirit she puts into her pies — and to helping anyone who wants to learn pie — makes her a Pie Sister to all of us! Catherine Gewertz, CurvyMama Pies, Washington DC

    • ArtofthePie

      Thank you, Catherine. So delighted you stopped by and for your kind words. Proud that you are my Pie Sister!

  • Cathy

    I learned about the joy of a pie-fly-by when I went to Kate’s class last year. Now, I’ve been part of a cross-country pie fly by that really makes me smile.
    Last year I took a marvelous, challenging class in Kansas City and made new friends there before heading home to DC. Last month I mentioned in an email to one new friend that I wished I could share my Kate-educated cherry pie skills with her and sent her a photo.
    My friend blew the photo up to life size and took it to a staff meeting to talk about how visualizing something wonderful could also make one feel good. Each person in the meeting cut him/her self a paper slice.
    I enjoyed the story so much that I shared it with Kate and other pie-making friends, also masters of the fly-by. Woudn’t you know it, one of the pie-folks lives in Kansas City and Monday, on my behalf, she brought homemade pie to the KC office where my friends were thrilled to be surprised by the real thing!
    Now, I’m thinking hard how i can reciprocate with a real pie to deliver to some people involved in a cause my new pie-pal cares about.
    Isn’t that a wonderful task??
    If you’ve never tried a pie fly by, I heartily suggest it.

    • ArtofthePie

      Cathy- Thanks for this story. It is just how fun and amazing pie is…especially when you give it away!

  • Dr Jean Layton-GFDoctor

    Can’t wait to be berry pie making at the next Art of The Pie camp. This time of year is so plentiful with options.
    Might have to make a pair for the weekend, it has been a while since I did a pie-by

    • ArtofthePie

      Pie Camp with you and berries is going to be awesome, Jean!

  • Robin E. H. Ove

    Kate fills her pies with love and surrounds each with the flakiest, most delightful crusts, each a gift from the heart. Why not make pie to share — what a wonderfully true to Kate tradition!

    • ArtofthePie

      Pies = Love!

  • janelear

    How great, Kate! August is a wonderful pie month ….

    • ArtofthePie

      It sure is, Jane! Thanks for stopping by. I hope you are making lots to share this summer.

  • Rob Tryon

    I can’t wait to come take a pie class but I’m more interested in being a taste tester!

    • ArtofthePie

      Rob once you taste a pie made with Kerrygold’s Irish butter, you’ll think you’ve gone to heaven!

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