The wonderful smell of apple pies baking in the oven is what greeted people as they stepped into the Old School House in DeBorgia over this past week. Members of the DeBorgia Historic School House Foundation were working as slick as a well-oiled machine, churning out nearly 300 pies for this annual sale.
As people walked in the door, Mark Waseen and Bill Mitchell were putting apples on peelers and spinning the green and red coats off of 880 pounds of Granny’s and Galas. As Christine Carriles and Paula Schlunegger cut and sliced the apples for the next step in this decadent process.
At a long table near the wall, nearly half a dozen other bakers were making and rolling out pastry. The floor was slick with a thin layer of flour as they rolled out the dough and fitted it into a tin. Then the tins were filled with a five-cup mound of apples topped with pats of butter. Then covered with another piece of pastry, fluted around the edge.
A dash of cinnamon and sugar was sprinkled on top before being loaded into the oven. Missoula City Attorney Doug Schaller found himself in charge of mixing the spices this year. “They gave me this job because it is pretty idiot-proof,” he said.
SCHALLER, AND his wife Kathy recently moved to DeBorgia and found themselves in the middle of this age-old tradition.
“A group of ladies who called themselves the ‘Happy Homemakers’ started making the pies over 50 years ago as a fundraiser,” said Joan Kellen, who helps to organize the event. Funds raised are used for the upkeep and maintenance of the 110-year-old school house turned community center. In many ways, the two-story wooden building is the heart of the little town of DeBorgia. It’s the place where meetings and events are often held.
During the past week, people from all over Mineral County could place their order for the pies, which could be bought cooked or uncooked. Uncooked they could then be put in the freezer for a later date. However, it’s hard to resist a nice, warm piece of pie straight out the oven. The crisp apple wedges caramelized into a savory stew of sugar and cinnamon all nestled in a golden brown flakey crust. An experience that would leave anyone’s taste buds begging for more! Many would have to agree that a nice piece of warm apple pie is the only thing a person really needs in order to be happy.