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Wednesday, Dec 2 1998
Home-Baked Activism
Everyone knows about the recent series of pie attacks on city officials. But what nobody's discussed is that these attacks have all been made with store-bought pies.

While I have no objection to filling the hemp-lined pockets of the Rainbow Cooperative (Biotic Baking Brigade?) -- supposedly responsible for creating the pies lofted thus far -- homemade pies are easy, economical, and far more delicious, in addition to having a certain subversive DIY cachet. It's much more satisfying to be able to stand behind your work completely, having thrown a pie you made yourself, and to grip the bars of your cell with flour still under your fingernails.

Some activists believe that if a pie is just going to be thrown, it's not necessary to make it delicious. This attitude is symptomatic of a slip-shod approach to activism. The quality of the pie is an expression of your dedication. Besides, if it turns out you've made more pies than you need, it's far better to be left with tasty desserts than useless pans of stale Reddi Wip. And the deliciousness -- or lack thereof -- of the fragments, which may be found and sampled at the scene after the assault, will impact the credibility of your organization.

Considerations when making a pie to be thrown are somewhat different from those when you are planning to serve it conventionally. There is a bit more leeway with the eating kind. When a pie is to be thrown, it must fly straight and land squarely. It must speak for your cause.

Start with a good páte sucree. Kneading the dough a little more than usual will result in a crust that is less flaky but also less brittle. This will help the pie retain its shape. The use of lard will make the crust lighter, but if animal rights are an issue for your organization, soy margarine can be substituted. Fluting the edges of the crust deeply with a wet fork improves both appearance and streamlining.

Once the crust is made, the pie needs to be filled. The classic throwing pie is banana cream, which our recipe will produce, but you can choose a filling that makes a statement appropriate to your agenda. Again, groups espousing veganism may wish to use a tofu cream or fruit filling. Other options may be chosen for symbolic value: apple pie for American patriots, fresh berries for pickers' rights, and so on.

(Makes one 9-inch shell)
1 1/4 c. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tbs. sugar
8 tbs. shortening, chilled
a few tbs. ice water

Mix the flour, salt, and sugar. Add the shortening bit by bit and cut it into the flour mixture using two knives until the whole is the consistency of coarse meal. Add water slowly and mix with a fork until the dough is evenly moist and holds together without sticking to the bowl. Turn it out onto a clean surface and flatten it with your hand, pushing away from your body. Return dough to bowl and chill 30 minutes. (At this point it can be stored for a few days, covered.) Roll it flat and ease it into a 9-inch foil pie pan, pressing it evenly against the sides. Trim excess.

NOTE: Do not use real metal pie pans, as these are expensive (it's unlikely that you'll be able to retrieve the pan after the attack) and heavy, and could spell the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony.

(Makes one 9-inch pie)
1/2 c. flour
1 1/2 c. sugar
pinch salt
2 eggs
2 c. milk
1 tbs. butter
2 tsp. vanilla
3 ripe bananas
8 oz. heavy cream

Pre-bake crust for 25 minutes at 400 degrees. In a saucepan, beat together the flour, sugar, salt, eggs, and milk until smooth. Add butter and vanilla. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the custard is thick. Chill. Cut the bananas into thin slices and mix slices into chilled custard. Place this mixture in the pie shell. Top with whipped cream. This pie may be thrown at room temperature but should be eaten cold.

By Paul Adams

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Paul Adams


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