They call themselves the Holy Rollers, and no name could fit them better.
The group of 12 pie-making volunteers, sometimes more, sometimes less, is assembling apple pies, late on a rainy October morning, in the multipurpose room downstairs at St. George’s Anglican Church in Cadboro Bay.
The aroma alone tells of a heavenly production.
Apples are skinned, cored, sliced and blended into the group’s secret apple pie recipe. Others roll the dough.
The batch will make about 150 nine-inch apple pies, and 50 more six-inch pies, all frozen. They’ll sell out, as they always do, at the church’s upcoming Nov. 26 Christmas Fair.
“It’s epic,” said parish administrator Tara Saracuse. “It’s such a serious venture, and they don’t even have to collect the apples. The apples just appear, box by box, by local members of the community who know we need them.”
At the end of the production line, which runs down both sides of the kitchen’s work table, is the crimper, Lillian Bailey.
Every pie goes through her experienced fingers.
“I learned to crimp from watching my mother,” said Bailey. “I’ve been coming to this church since we moved here 59 years ago. I don’t know how long I’ve been making pies, quite a while.”
Each pie is filled with a mound of apple filling. The recipe ingredients aren’t a secret, but the measurements are, said Kathleen von Kamel.
“Cinnamon, sugar, flour, butter and a little cream of wheat.”
As fast as Bailey quickly affixes a circle of dough atop the filling of each pie, another one shows up. But there’s no bottleneck at Bailey’s station.
“Maybe it goes back 20 years, I’m not sure,” Bailey said. “We used to do beef and meat pies but the men’s group took that over, we just do apple pies.”
To be fair, there are men in the Holy Rollers group too. But these are ‘grandmother pies,’ and the Holy Rollers are of the belief that this tried-and-true recipe is one that simply can’t be improved.
The Christmas Fair will also offer a huge selection of baked goods, preserves and more to add to your Christmas dinner table. There’s also a silent auction with special offerings and gift certificates from Cadboro Bay community businesses, and there’s a Treasure Sale, which is whole table of children’s toys and games.
It’s a great place to pick up seasonal wreaths, garlands and other decorations. Of course, there’s free coffee and a delicious $8 lunch.
St. George’s Annual Christmas Fair is Nov. 26, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at 3909 St. George’s Lane (off Maynard Street). Come early, says Saracuse, because the pies always sell out.