Preserving Heritage in Queensborough with the Master Pie Baking Class

Photos and Story submitted by Aysha Tayab-Ratsep

You may be wondering why anyone would feel encouraged to come all the way down to Queensborough to bake a pie. Well, I will tell you why. (That was not meant to rhyme, I promise).

Many years ago, a group of rafters started a tradition of travelling along the Black River. These rafters would come from distant places such as Quebec and Ottawa. Since they were taking such a long journey, they needed a place to stop. The Queensborough Community Centre became that stop mainly for the pies! This annual tradition became known as M.A.C.K. Fest within the Queensborough community. The acronym stands for Marmora Area Canoe and Kayak Festival.

As it so happens, the purpose of this class was to pass down the torch and preserve the tradition. Afterall, Queensborough’s motto is “preserving our heritage.”

Making the pie

I love baking, but it is not something I always give myself the time to enjoy. Life happens. This excursion was the perfect excuse for a fun drive along scenic backroads on a beautiful day, meet new people, and enjoy a class. When I arrived at the Queensborough Community Centre, I was surprised to find out that it was a preserved schoolhouse. It was the perfect setting for a class.

The ceilings of this space were my favourite. If you have read some of my other stories here, you might say I am a ceiling fan.

As I was taking photos of the ceiling, I learned that they were recently restored back to their original condition. I was so happy to hear that.

The class started off with the facilitators teaching us how to make a pie crust. We all learned that there are different techniques for making a pie crust and each demonstration proved that very point.

Every participant was assigned their station to work.

As someone who often takes up much space when working in the kitchen, I found this to be a fun challenge for me. Not only was it testing my ability to work in a small(er) space, it was also testing my need to maintain a sense of mise en place: a French term for keeping everything in its place the right time so that all other steps in the process are practically seamless.

Regardless of the space, I managed just fine. The company, conversation, and overall atmosphere was more than enough to keep me going. I also challenged myself to try something new: a lattice top for my raspberry pie. That is the great thing about doing something together. You get the chance to challenge one another and learn from one another.

Not bad for the first time if I do say so myself. I left Queensborough with feelings of connection to a new community, gratitude, and a delicious pie to take home for dinner. It all worked out pretty well since my husband was cooking dinner that night and I prepared dessert an hour and a half away from home.

Even if you missed this class, worry not. There may be an opportunity for another class shortly that is focused on techniques for pie filling. To learn more about the Queensborough Community Centre, feel free to visit their and Facebook page for their upcoming events.

Did you attend this class? If so, feel free to share your experiences on our Facebook page or post a photo of your pie!

Story and photographs by Aysha Tayab

Linsey De Ruysscher bio pic

As one of our six Local Wanderers exploring Hastings County, Aysha enjoys Arts and Culture, Agri-Tourism and Paddling adventures.

She grew up in a rural community, suffers from an incurable travel bug, and is an ambassador for the road less travelled.

Learn more about Aysha and her adventures as well as the other five Local Wanderers and the excursions they've experienced across the County