Let’s replace calories on food labels with time stamps or statements of bliss or surgeon general warnings. For example, a delicious gooey chocolate dessert (500 calories) could be labeled as “minus 10 minutes” and “consumption of this bliss will trade 10 minutes from your life for an inch on your waist.” I’d still eat it.
Carrots and broccoli could be labelled “plus 10 minutes” or “balances beer.” If you can stand to chew and swallow, you can get a refund on the bliss minutes.
Tasteless high fiber gunk? “add 20 minutes” or “aids digestion (aka helps you go).”
Red meat: minus 1 hour
Fish: add 1 hour
Bread: minus 5 minutes
Kale: add 1 day
Brussels sprouts: add 2 weeks
And so on.
We don’t really want to live forever, do we? At some point all our friends will be gone. We’ll have trouble getting around. We’ll snooze sitting up in a chair. We could even outlive our teeth. What a waste that would be. Maybe some foods could be labeled “will make you feel like you are 20 again.” Others could say “may exacerbate arthritis” or “will lead to painful death” vs “promotes peaceful end of life while snoozing at 90.” Ok, I know. I should stop.
These were some of my thoughts while concocting Pie 5.0. I tallied the calories in the ingredients and have decided not to share the number. Instead I’ll say it’s likely to be “so delicious it’ll be worth sacrificing 90 minutes from your 9th decade.”
For this week’s challenge, we turn to page 80 of SUGAR BUTTER FLOUR and find a delight named “I Wanna Play Doctor With My Gynecologist Chocolate Mousse Pie.” (You really should go to NYC and see The Waitress so these pie names make sense.)
To start, we’re back to a trusty cookie crumb crust. After the Pie 4.0 debacle, can you blame me for retreating? I think not. Shortbread cookies crumble effortlessly, as though they never intended to stay bound in cookie swirl shape for long anyway.
Mixed with melted butter, pressed in the pie pan, cooled for 15 minutes, baked for 10…the same old drill. Easy pie shell.
Next up was the cherry filling. Here is what I learned: if you squeeze the lemon over the pan of cherries, the seeds will fall in and hide behind the cherries. If you squeeze the lemon with your bare hand, the citric acid will bite at that paper cut on your pinky.
After adding cornstarch and sugar and boiling for only ONE MINUTE, I dripped in the almond extract and the resulting combination of aromas made me swoon.
While the crumble crust and cheery cherries got cozy in the fridge, I concocted the most ridiculously complicated chocolate mousse while facing constant reminders that following directions (loosely) without understanding the WHY of the specifics can lead to surprises.
Five (5) ounces of semisweet chocolate were melted and stirred in some heavy cream in a double boiler over simmering H2O. Bars of semisweet chocolate for baking come in 4 oz. portions, so a handful of semisweet chocolate chips was dumped in.
Then three eggs were whipped to frothy stiff peaks. In a another bowl heavy cream was whipped to frothy stiff peaks. One-third of the egg mixture was stirred into the chocolate bowl (which was supposed to be cool, but wasn’t yet, so the eggs looked like they were trying to cook, and the whole mess was chucked into the fridge for a rapid cool down before proceeding).
After a few minutes of cooling, the meringued eggs and the whipped cream were folded into the chocolate to make the mousse. This was spread over the cooled cherries and the whole stack of wonder was shoved back into the fridge to set for FOUR HOURS.
By now I was desperate for a taste, so I poured another cup of coffee and licked all the bowls.
Hours and hours later, it was time to prepare the toppings. The recipe called for maraschino cherries which were hidden in the grocery store. After an emergency text to Mom, I found them in the baking aisle. But in my kitchen, they appeared to be the cheap version–they had no stems. Apparently I was supposed to find cocktail cherries, but I missed that detail. The one cherry with a stub of a stem got dipped first, but not until all of the high-maintenance sweeties got individually blotted dry.
The shish kebab stick and spoon served the purpose of the missing stems.
I lost my mind with the extra chocolate and did some “chocolate work.”
The melted chocolate cooled quickly. The spoon became trapped. I have no idea how this happened, but the spoon stayed upright for hours and the chocolate was so strong I could hold up the heavy bowl by the spoon. Yeah, I had four hours to kill while Pie 5.0 chilled out in the fridge.
I made the whipped topping with heavy cream, some sugar, vanilla, and bourbon. I didn’t have a custard bag so I devised one out of a Ziploc bag with the icing tip screwed into a hole I cut in the corner.
I had fun designing the top, but discarded the pictures of the forest of chocolate trees I tried from my first crack at chocolate work.
A slice of Pie 5.0 likely costs a chunk of lifetime, but she was too delicious to resist. I found the empty pie pan in the sink this morning so somebody finished her off in the dark of night while I dreamed of eating it for breakfast today with my coffee.
She was a beauty.
Pie 6.0 will be a fancy-pants double-decker, planned for construction and consumption on Memorial Day weekend. If you’re in the area, call me and I’ll (try to hold off the vultures and) save you a slice.