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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Pie in the Sky : My Lucky Day @ Macy's Herald Square

I met Sarabeth @ Macy's today, and left with a round of her pie dough!
Lucky, so lucky to pick some ripe purple plums in life today--or rather, have them fall right into my lap.

#1 Plum
Last Wednesday, I read an ad in The New York Times about The Great American Apple Pie Bake-off in the Macy's Cellar. A few different chefs are competing, on different days. The only one I really wanted to see was today's, Sarabeth Levine, who is famous for her Sarabeth's Kitchen restaurants [with popovers and other treats] and those big mason jars of her tasty, pricey Orange-Apricot Marmalade, in the Legendary Spreadable Fruit line, sold in good stores near me like Williams-Sonoma and Kings.

So I wound my way through the Macy's Men's Dept. to get to The Cellar. And there was Sarabeth, with her long ponytail and her friendly manner, taking us step by step through Rustic Apple Streusel Pie, from mixing the dough [it calls for both milk and butter] to slicing the apples and making the crumb topping. [A few of the pies were already baked and sliced up for tasting later--but the crowd was standing-room only, and only the 40 or so people in the chairs got the pie. I was in the overflow audience.]

But the best part happened at the end. A few of us went up to the front to get Sarabeth's autograph. And one woman asked a question about the crust and Sarabeth went and got the two dough rounds she had made during the 1 P.M. class, which she had popped into the fridge. She gave one to the woman. Okay, who's taking the other one? Sarabeth asked. I'd love to, I said, completely delighted, walking on air--or on flaky pastry.

So I went home with a disk of pie dough personally made by one of the best bakers in the world! It was my lucky, lucky day. I called H. and he was slightly underwhelmed and then I called my friend Anne and got a better reaction. Then tonight, I promptly took the dough over to Anne's, who had invited me to dinner, and made a blueberry pie with it. Her teen son, Ryan, and husband, Michael, love blueberry pie. The dough rolled out perfectly and evenly and browned really nicely. I made a thick, buttery crumb topping from Lobster Rolls & Blueberry Pie, a great book I own. Yum. Thank you, Sarabeth. Macy's also handed out the recipe. But I am so getting the cookbook, Sarabeth's Bakery: From My Hands to Yours, which I had resisted until now. It looks beautiful and inviting.

Some quotes from the baking queen's demo today:
  1. This is the only pie dough recipe I use.
  2. I'm very particular about the apples [doesn't like apple corers, which she says do an uneven job; prefers slicing each apple in half, cutting into thin slices, and then cutting tough core part off stacks of slices].
  3. Buy 4 pounds of apples. You'll probably end up with 2 1/2 to 3 pounds for one pie, after peeling and coring.
  4. To me, the vanilla bean is a miraculous thing [she scrapes the seeds into her filling].
  5. There's nothing that I've shown you today that's difficult.
  6. I love a glass pie dish so I can see the bottom and know when the crust is done.
  7. This recipe makes two crusts. You can put one in the freezer to use later. It's summer. Blueberries, crumbs, it's done.
Sarabeth wasn't selling her book there, but I can't wait to get my hands on one. Must own.

#2 Plum
Meeting Michaela and Courtney from the Communications Dept. of Silpada Jewelry in Lenexa, Kansas. Silpada is pretty sterling silver, sold by reps at home parties and on their personal ecommerce sites. Michaela gets to NYC a couple of times a year and does deskside meetings with fashion editors and writers. I always love to see her. We met at our usual spot, Dean & DeLuca, and I had iced coffee and a smallish Lavender Flower doughnut made by Doughnut Plant! You could see the garden lavender bits in the glaze. Also discussed strong story idea to pitch this week.

#3 Plum
We got our first letter this summer from Fig. She sounds pretty good; requested nail polish remover and gum. Miss her!

Good night!

  1. Walked Sug around block once, and also with Anne and Nikki and their dog, Kelly.
  2. Roasted veggie sandwich at Dean & DeLuca.
  3. Walked 30 minutes in NYC.
  4. Stared down Two Little Red Hens cupcakes, with their big caps of swirled frosting!
  5. Private Benjamin. Tough stuff.


  1. Sounds like a fun time at Macy's....jealous!!

  2. Hi are the next ones just in case you decide to go: all 1 pm in Cellar Kitchen. Tues. July 12: Chef Rachel McBride owner of The Blue Stove, will make apple pie; Thurs. July 14: Emile Castillo of the Burger Joint at Le parker Meridien; Tues July 19, Chef Marcus Candido Leon Rojas of Genesis Bar & Rest.; Thurs July 21, Chef Joe Raiola of Morton's The Steakhouse [making burgers, I think]. Missing you! Hope you are having a lovely week.