CAPE NEDDICK, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Before you even step foot into Pie in the Sky on Route 1 in Cape Neddick, you can smell the magic that's baking inside.
It's a smell that the Stern Family has grown accustomed to over 32 years. "Well, for one it's our butter crust, and the fact that we don't use any preservatives, and we're very particular about what we put in the fruit," Nancy Stern said. "And we make a very large pie that will serve easily eight people."
They make virtually any pie you could dream of - Macintosh apple, pumpkin cheesecake with triple chocolate ganache, and coconut custard with whipped cream, just to name a few.
Nancy, John, and Jessie Stern will bake over 500 pies this week for Thanksgiving.
"You just put your head down and work as hard as you can, and try to get some sleep so you have some energy to keep working," John said. "And it takes really the entire month to prepare for this particular week. We start November 1st doing organizational projects, figuring out our ordering," Nancy added.
Nancy and John started baking pies over 30 years ago from their tiny New York apartment. But after a few years there, they moved back to Maine, Nancy's home state. She's the creative mind behind all of these decadent creations and is completely self-taught. It's a job that keeps both of them constantly moving.
"It's a very active job. You have to be physically in shape, and once you start eating, you're going to weigh 400 pounds in about a week and a half. You really have to stay away from it if you're going to stay in shape, and be healthy, and have a lot of energy," John said.
Being surrounded by sugar and butter all day can take a toll on your will power. But somehow, they both resist the urge.
"I can appreciate a pie, I can taste it, but I don't need to have a piece of it. It's fine," Nancy said. But for John, "I have a really hard time staying away from it, but I do stay away from it...sometimes."
On Thanksgiving day, the Stern family takes a break from baking pies, and begins a richly-deserved 3-week vacation.
2 1/2 cups King Arthur Flous
8 oz. unsalted butter
1 tsp salt
4 tbsp cold orange juice
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
Mix the flour, butter, and salt together very well in a mixer on slow speed. (A dough hook in any mixer would be good.)
With mixer still running, add the orange juice and apple cider vinegar in a steady stream.
Continue mixing until dough cleans the sides of the bowl. When it does this, shut the mixer off. This is the only tricky part as under mixing will yield a sticky dough and over mixing will yield concrete. Sometimes the dough will actually make a sucking/slurping sound as it starts to clean the side of the bowl.
Roll out the dough between two sheets of wax paper - no flour needed. We use 8 oz. for the top crust and 10 oz. for the bottom using a 10" deep dish pie plate. You will have to adjust that amount depending on the size pie plate you use.