Pippin and family were in town for a day. In the evening I went to a birthday party for The Professor that featured a wild cake. Scout decorated it in a fashion that made lighting the candles a little challenging.
But before that, in the afternoon Pippin and I took the kids to the beach for the kind of bread-cheese-grapes picnic that can be thrown into a shopping bag at the market and taken as-is to dig into on the beach blanket.
This is what a June afternoon often looks like on our North Coast beaches. At least the wind wasn’t blowing, until later when it was time to leave anyway, so as we ate we didn’t consume too much sand. Pippin had to reassure Ivy several times, “At the beach, sand is o.k. on your bread.”
Though it wasn’t ideal picnic weather, it reminded me that I’ve been wanting to post this recipe that is one of my favorite things to take on a summer outing, though maybe not to the beach, where the fruits of my labors always risk spoiling by incoming grit.
The source of this recipe is unusual: a newsletter that our power company used to send with the bill, and which always included a recipe or two. They stopped this practice 20 years ago, but these pies became a tradition for me. They keep well and I think they taste best at room (or picnic cloth) temperature.
Changes I made to the recipe below: Use butter, of course, never margarine, and add some salt to the pastry dough. Or just use your own recipe for pie dough. I like to make the filling the day before assembling the pies. I thought of trying to use fresh spinach next time, but I don’t know how I would figure out the conversion ratio.
Also, I would never say “pah-stees,” because my husband’s Cornish ancestors made pasties nearly every day for the men to take into the mines for their midday meal, and they pronounced the word “past-ease.” Are we to think that Florentines would say anything different?