Pre-Thanksgiving orders keep St. Mary’s pie makers bustling
By Seth Schmidt
The pie ladies at St. Mary’s parish continue to roll out the pie dough.
And peel and cut up fruit, sift flour, measure sugar and crack eggs, along with the myriad other steps needed to produce and sell large quantities of homemade pies.
“We’re going to make 70 pies today,” proclaimed Lota Hannasch, who was among the pie-making experts in the St. Mary’s kitchen Monday.
The pies will be on dining room tables for innumerable Thanksgiving feasts this week. St. Mary’s has orders for 110 pies—fresh-baked and frozen—that will be picked up or delivered on Wednesday, Nov. 21.
“It’s our biggest day of the year,” said Elise Lanoue, another long-time St. Mary’s pie maker.
To accommodate public demand for their sweet confections, St. Mary’s volunteers greased pans for three major pie-making sessions over the past three weeks. The Monday work followed 60-pie sessions on the previous two Wednesdays.
Pumpkin is the most popular pie for Thanksgiving. Other pie varieties are rhubarb-custard, blueberry, strawberry-rhubarb, peach, cherry, apple and caramel apple. A ninth pie—pecan—is offered when in season.
The St. Mary’s confectioners pride themselves on using only the best, and freshest ingredients. Apples, rhubarb, berries and peaches are cut up during their peak seasons and frozen for later use. Cherries are the only pie fruit that comes out of a can.
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This is the 18th year that St. Mary’s volunteers have been making and selling pies, with an estimated 800 and 1,000 pies sold annually. That would mean that between 14,000 and 18,000 pies have come out of the St. Mary’s kitchen since September of 1999, when Betty Stassen is credited with getting the pie-operation organized.
Proceeds have been used for various needs in the parish. It’s hoped that money now being earned will be put, appropriately enough, toward kitchen improvements at St. Mary’s.