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Humble pie: local church assembles pies for apple festival

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POLSON — The scent of apples called to passers-by as the door to the basement of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church opened on Nov. 3. There was a hint of cinnamon in the air with back notes of coffee, accompanied by the sound of laughter and the low buzz of visiting. 

About 20 people, three or four men included, prepared pies for the Apple Festival to be held on Nov. 9. The festival is a major fundraiser for the Parish Council of Catholic Women; they sell the apple pies, frozen and boxed, so purchasers can take them home and bake them. The women also serve lunch with homemade pie for dessert after attendees make the rounds of the crafters and cooks selling handmade crafts, treats and holiday gifts.

Money from the Apple Festival has been used for scholarships to Legendary Lodge, a Catholic youth summer camp near Salmon Lake, refurbishing the basement of the church and for local charities.

This year, PCCW made three sizes of apple pies, according to Linda Wlaysewski, one of the organizers: 20 12-inch pies, 60 9-inch pies and 100 6-inch pies. 

Don Thornburg picked his McIntosh apple tree and brought in those apples, and PCCW bought the rest of the apples, Blondies, Honeycrisp and McIntosh varieties, from the Tom Moss Orchard in Rollins.

This is the sixth year for the apple festival, and the pie bakers had an assembly line set up. The first long row of tables was home to the peelers, clamped to the table. Stick an apple on the spike, start turning and slim ribbons of apple peel appear. The apparatus also cored the apples. Then the apple slicers took over. These women have baked a pie or two and know how to slice apples and season them with cinnamon and sugar. As soon as one of the giant bowls was filled, it was passed to the next row of tables to the pasty table.

Armed with a rolling pin and a floured cloth, the ladies rolled out already mixed pastry, lined the pie pans with crust and filled them with the apple mixture, plus a pat or two of butter. After covering the cinnamony apples with a top crust, the pies were sent to the third row of tables for crimping and decorating.

Dorothy Jenson crimped, and Rosanne Jones served as the “artist and shaker,” patting on several pastry apples and several shakes of cinnamon sugar. 

The finished pies were slipped into plastic bags to await packing into the boxes Dave Hedeman patiently constructed at the back of the room. 

The apple festival on Nov. 9 will begin at 9 a.m. and last until 4 p.m.


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