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Deborah Kerns,
maker of Deborah’s Homemade Pies

I’ve been baking as long as I can remember. When I was growing up, my mom let us “help” before we were any help at all. As we made bread, cookies, cakes and more, she taught us everything – from how to measure precisely to how to feel the bread dough to know how much more flour it needed.

I was probably no older than 4 or 5 when she would let me “punch down” the bread dough after it had raised on the radiator in our kitchen. Mom used to tell me, “Beat the heck out of it.” Bread seemed like such a basic thing to make, I thought everyone could do it – like everyone could brush their teeth.

Pies were a little different. Mixing the dough was a gentle process and my mom always used to say, “Don't over mix the dough, it isn't like bread.” I would get so mad when I rolled out the dough and it would stick on the rolling pin and break apart. More than once I threw the whole mess in the garbage – which meant no pie. I didn’t get the hang of it until I was 14 or so.

I kept baking as I got older. At Christmastime, my family and I would make huge amounts of baked goods and give them away as gifts. I also started making pies for people who had lost someone. I felt that it was something that came from my heart, and a comfort food.

Pies truly are one of the best comfort foods. And few people seem to know how make them anymore – or they feel scared to try. It feels wonderful to be able to offer people good pies, made from scratch, with delicious fillings and crust the way it should be – not soft, not hard, but crumbly and flaky.