SANFORD — Crossroads United Methodist Church is expecting a houseful on Tuesday morning. But the faithful won’t be coming for the piety, just the pie.

For more than 15 years, Crossroad congregants have baked dozens of pies for the church’s pre-holiday pie sale, held on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving Day.

Last year, following a baking blitz to mix, roll, crimp and bake nearly 100 pies from scratch, volunteers arrived at the church early for what they thought would be a day-long event.

To their surprise, a line of eager buyers was already waiting in the parking lot.

Within 90 minutes of the church doors opening, nary a crust crumb could be found on the display tables as happy customers walked away, their arms laden with dessert to serve their holiday dinner guests.

According to longtime Crossroads member and pie sale director Lisa Blanchette, the annual pie sale is a church wide effort and its largest fundraiser of the year.

Some like Judy Boisse of Arundel give of their time and resources to make the pies at home. Others donate cash or ingredients to supply a bake staff that gathers on the Monday before the sale to turn out nearly 75 pies via an assembly line.

Boisse, a 50-year Crossroads member, yearly bakes six to eight pies for the sale. Among them are her apple pie, a crowd favorite, and a few mincemeat pies. The latter is usually one of the first varieties to be snapped up at the sale.

“My grandmother was the baker in our family and she taught me how to make pies when I first got married,” said Boisse, 70. “She also taught me how to make and can my own mincemeat, using a traditional recipe that includes venison, apples, raisins, currants and (sweet spices like cinnamon). People always ask of if it’s ‘real mincemeat.’ The answer is yes.”

Edith Carwin, 67, of Sanford, a 40-year Crossroads member, has been baking pies for the sale since its inception. She plans to turn in a few of the mincemeat pies too.

Carwin recalled making the mincemeat pies with her mother as a child. Her job was to peel the apples and run the venison through a hand-cranked meat grinder for the filling.

“Mincemeat is one of those things that you either love or hate,” said Carwin. “Usually friends who were hunters gave my mother their deer meat from the neck of the animal to make her mincemeat. But if we didn’t have wild meat, we’d use hamburger. Mom always emptied the refrigerator when she made her pies, using leftover jam and coffee in her filling. I still make mine that way too – adding a little of this and that.”

Carwin also spoke of a special treat her mother would make using leftover pie pastry scraps.

“We called them ‘do dads,”‘ said Carwin. “She’d roll out the leftover dough and put jam on it or sprinkle it with cinnamon and sugar and bake it.”

On Monday, Carwin will join Blanchette and a small second-shift baking crew at Mousam View Place (formerly the Knights of Columbus Hall), to assemble and bake the pies in the reception hall’s pizza ovens. A few teen volunteers from Sanford High School will help put the pies together and haul the finished product over to the church.

Blanchette said the assortment would include fruit pies, cream pies, pecan and lemon meringue.

“But our best sellers are always the traditional ones like squash, pumpkin and apple, ” said Blanchette. “Those are all available on a first come, first served basis and by cash only.”

Staff Writer Deborah Sayer can be contacted at 791-6308 or at: [email protected]