I’m the type of girl who, given the choice between pie and a potential bikini bod, will choose pie every time. Fucking pies. On one of those regular days when I was walking along thinking about pies, I found Michael Martin’s business card. Michael runs a blog called Piefolk, which is basically a platform for him to showcase his glorious ass and invite cute gay boys to his apartment for naked baking and canoodling sessions. Once a month Michael hosts a salon party with a select guest list of friends and artists. For those who tend to shy away from big parties with a bunch of unfamiliar penises flopping around, Michael also hosts appointment-only baking sessions with just one or two boys. I shot him an email and received a prompt invite to one of his “baking misadventures,” so I headed over on Saturday afternoon.
As I walked up the steps to Michael’s apartment I expected to be greeted by a swarm of nude dudes eager to bake pies for me. To my shock and disappointment, everyone was fully dressed. Soon, however, the rising heat from the oven, combined with the sexual tension in a room chock-full of young gay men prompted everyone to take off their pants… and shirts… and panties.
Looking at Michael’s unveiled bottom felt less like watching gay porn and more like admiring Michelangelo’s David. Like, it was OK that his ass was just hanging out and maybe even strangely comforting. Perhaps it was because there’s something wholesome and domestic about him. Or it could just be that he has a great ass. Whatever the reason, I soon learned that the pies and bare asses were merely the crust of Piefolk.
Michael is also using the gatherings as a way to shed a positive and delicious light on homosexuality. He told me, “I’m looking to change myself and be a positive role model for gays of all ages. Gays are sick and tired of feeling shame and being asked to cover who they really are or to be a flaming stereotype. Part of my message is that we are just beautiful, domestic creatures.” He added, “And you know what? Everybody buttfucks! There are two types of people in the world: people who buttfuck and people who lie about buttfucking!”
While rolling dough, the bakers got into heated discussions about religion and politics, pausing only to make out with each other. It happened so naturally. Someone would bat their eyelashes or whatever and the next thing you know—BAM! Tonsil hockey. I got the feeling that if I wasn’t there they would have done other gay stuff too.
Although the afternoon started out with just myself and three dudes, by the time the pulled pork pies were in the oven there were 19 homos in the small apartment. NINETEEN (give or take a few, I may have lost count). I was the ultimate queen of fag-hags. Sitting in a room with 19 gay boys is sort of strange. Even though they were really nice to me, I couldn’t help feeling like the undesirable, penis-less one. Or like some exotic zoo animal with a vagina.
They came prepared to entertain, though, which set me at ease. They brought instruments and scripts from their comedy sketches, while a bunch of us sat around the living room and watched their performances. I usually cringe at that kind of stuff but these guys were genuinely hilarious.
I must have spent a good five hours at Michael’s apartment with those cuties. And man, those pies were fucking delicious. I ate two and a half by myself. If you want to make some of our delicious pies yourself (and trust me, you want to make some of our delicious pies yourself), Michael's recipe is below.
MICHAEL’S PULLED PORK PIE WITH CUMIN CRUST
For the crust:
Take 2.5 cups of flour. Put it in a large mixing bowl. OK, now add some sugar—like a tablespoon. A pinch of salt. Put some cumin in there too but DON'T overdo the cumin. That's tacky.
Now take 1/2 cup of shortening. Use a pastry blender to mix that shit in. Just do it, your Art Fag friends are coming and we know how judgmental they can be. Mix it until it's the texture of coarse sand. Now chop up a stick and a half of FROZEN butter. If you don't freeze the butter, you can't hope for a flaky crust. Freeze it. Use a pastry blender until the butter chunks are about the size of a garbanzo bean. Maybe a little smaller. You want pieces of butter in the crust. Because I said so, dummy. It's chemistry. Makes the crust flaky.
Now we're gonna add some water. Six to 8 tablespoons should do it. Cut the water into the dough with a rubber spatula. When the dough comes together you can form it into small disks. Two small disks, same size. Use your hands. Yes I know it's gross, but that's baking. You use your hands. Don't worry, it's going into a 425 degree oven and all the bacteria and viruses should get killed. Oh man. Did you wash your hands? You totally should have. Fuck.
Chill the dough for at least an hour, preferably over night. Roll it out. Put it into the pie pan. Chill some more.
Now the filling: Take a shitload of pork ribs. Like, ten bucks worth at the grocery store. Put them in a big pot with an ALL METAL lid. Add some Kimchi. Add some chopped nectarines. Add a chopped onion. Add some white wine and a small amount of soy sauce. Add some pork stock (or chicken if you don't have pork stock). Salt, pepper, smoked Hungarian Paprika... Where can you find smoked Paprika? I've only ever seen it at an incredibly snobby hipster butcher in my neighborhood, so good luck.
OK. Braise that shit. Put it in the oven at 400 degrees for at least two hours. Maybe more. You can turn it down to 350 after a while if you're worried about it. You want the meat to be fall-off-the-bone tender. Keep the lid on the pot. Braising means cooking something in its own juices. After a few hours, check on it. When it's ready to debone, debone it. You can use tongs but I use my hands. Pull it out of the oven and let it cool off or you'll hurt yourself. Debone that shit. The entire effect is ruined if your guest crunches down on a pig bone. Be thorough.
Now, add chopped potatoes and broccoli. These guys probably only need about an hour or less to braise. They soften up pretty quickly, and the potato will thicken up the filling. Once that's done, taste it. It almost definitely needs acid, because the pork is so fatty. Add lemon juice or vinegar, or if you're me, both. I'm an acidic guy, what can I say?
If it's too thin, thicken it up with a roux. But if you eyeballed it right, you shouldn't have to. This takes practice and I'm not going to tell you the exact measurements I use because, believe it or not, I eyeball the filling every single time. Sowwwy!!!
OK, put the pork and veggie braise into the pie. Add the top crust. Cover it with an egg wash. Don't have a fit, but yes, I use my hands for that too. IT'S GOING INTO A HOT OVEN, DUMMIES. IT WILL BE FINE. Sprinkle sea salt on top of the egg wash. This will make a nice savory crunch on top of your (hopefully) flaky crust. Bake for 15 minutes at 425 and then turn it down to 350 and bake for another 30 minutes or so. Use your head. Depending on elevation or humidity, pies will be ready at different times. Check on it. I can almost always tell when it's done by the smell, but that takes a while to develop. Don't be a fussy bottom about it, though. It needs its time in the oven.
Cool. Serve. The whole thing takes at least 10 hours, start to finish, so be sure to keep a wooden spoon in your apron pocket in case one of your insufferable hipster friends is stupid enough to criticize the flavor profile. You can use the wooden spoon to smack them in the face. It's fine. They know they deserve it. They'll thank you for it.
And hey, enjoy the pulled pork pie.