Welcome to Summer Food Memories, a series we’re doing in collaboration with Tasting Table. We asked four people—writers and chefs we like, plus a couple surprises—to help us say goodbye to summer with culinary nostalgia. Then Tasting Table developed recipes to match.
Photo courtesy Tasting Table; illustration by Tiffany Choi
Summer is officially over. To give it a proper goodbye, we’ve made hamburgers with novelist and lapsed vegetarian Emma Straub, cold Danish buttermilk soup based on Christian Puglisi’s summer memories, and malt-vinegar-doused corn and potatoes with L.A.-based Trois Mec and Animal chefs Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo. Our fourth and final essay comes courtesy of”Breaking Bad” and “Masters of Sex” actress Betsy Brandt, who’s as well-known in Hollywood for her pies as she is for her thespian chops.
In the summer, I like pretty much anything with blueberries, especially blueberry pie. I grew up in Michigan, so we’d go to a farm and pick our own. They charge by weight—of the blueberries, not the person, although I did eat a fair amount when picking.
My grandmother was an amazing cook, but really a great baker. Her pies were her calling cards. I love to bake, too, and I really credit her with that.
I make pies with whatever’s around. In the summer, I use peaches and throw in raspberries—I think that’s a nice combination. For the Fourth of July, I made an apple-pear pie. I forgot to add sugar, so I thought, “I’ll make a caramel sauce to put on top of it; then you won’t miss the sugar.” But the pears were so sweet, it was great without the sugar, and we [even] had leftover caramel so I stored it in a jar and we put it on top of things for days. I’m thinking I’ll make pecan pie tomorrow.
A lot of people in Hollywood have had my pies. That sounds dirty, but I didn’t mean for it to. I mean legit pie.
I would always take pies to the writers’ room on “Breaking Bad.” Vince Gilligan loves pecan pie, which happens to be my favorite to bake. The other day I went over to “Better Call Saul" and took chocolate chip cookies.
Pie’s just such a great way to show someone you love them.
GET THE RECIPE: Blueberry Crumb Pie