My first impression of Pie 7.0 was panic, as in “OMG this is the cover girl pie.”
It’s true. She’s on the cover of the SUGAR, BUTTER, FLOUR cookbook, nestled in a silver pan on a sea blue table under a swirl of white and pink and gray, so it isn’t at first apparent how unfortunately beige Pie 7.0 actually is. The crust is graham-cracker tan, the peanut butter filling is peanut-colored, the whipped topping is ivory, the chocolate shavings are brown, and the Moon Pies on top are layers of brown-tan-white. This pie was made by this brown-eyed girl.
In hindsight, she tasted like all the colors of heaven, so Pie 7.0 may not have been designed to be sensed most acutely by vision of reflected light. She was meant to be tasted.
Pie 7.0’s given name is “Thanks for Taking Me to the Moon Peanut Butter Moon Pie Pie.” She’s the finale pie, absolutely the last recipe in the book on page 155, and she commands an encore. After the last bite, I felt like young Oliver. “Please, sir,” I said, “may I have some more?”
This crust was my fifth crumb crust, but the first graham cracker crust I made. The recipe suggests nine sheets of crushed graham crackers would give 1.75 cups. The volume came to about 2 cups by my reckoning, but I used it all anyway and made a delightfully thick base that makes me pass the premade ones in the stupid market with my nose in the air, like an old forgotten beau.
The taste of a graham cracker brought me back to when I was about four years old, so I carried a couple to my DH’s home office so he could time travel with me. Only a dozen steps from the kitchen, we both heard the butter explode in the microwave.
I estimated a third of the butter was lost in the explosion, cleaned the microwave, added another hunk of butter to the bowl and melted it (slowly). You’d think a setback like a greasy explosion would make me focus. Instead I made banana bread while the crumb crust first hardened in the fridge and then baked in the oven.
While making the banana bread I broke the handle of a favorite mug. You’d think such a mishap would make me focus. Nope. Instead I expanded my multitasking to cooking some bacon on the stove. My kitchen looked like a crime scene. The graham cracker crust came out lovely (and beige). Believe when I insist it was more beautiful to my nose than your eyes.
The filling was simple to make with my ancient hand mixer: I blended some cream cheese and peanut butter, vanilla, sugar, and cream, dumped them in the pie shell and let them vacation in my fridge.
I’m a pro at making whipped topping by my seventh pie, but this one called for added marshmallow cream (Fluff!) and once again I was reduced to a sweet-toothed preschooler. I licked all the bowls.
I accidentally bought mini Moon pies twice in the week preceding this bake, so I had about ten extra Moon Pies. DH claimed Moon Pies and Scooter Pies are the same. This reminded me of the good old days before Google when one could expound “facts” loudly, authoritatively, and dare and stare your doubters down. (While I enjoyed a mini Moon Pie, I felt bad for 70-year-old men who have not realized they could not make a lie be true by simply being a bully and saying it louder. Then I remembered not to ruin my pie-making-bliss by thinking about 70-year-old bullies, and finally focused.)
The mini Moon Pies were cut in half and jauntily placed on top of the mounds of marshmallow whipped topping. Chocolate shavings scattered around to make Pie 7.0 more brown and sweet.
The whole concoction was frozen solid, wrapped up tight, and traveled nine hours in a car through four states to a very important family celebration for an incredible man who was not my nephew, and whose parents are not my cousins, but they always make me feel like they are.
Baking is scary but fun. You can be happily sad, and sadly happy–some melancholy beige mess of feelings on a blue sea beside a pink sunset. Laugh while you cry–it’s much like a sun shower. Opposing emotions roil inside. Hugging helps in all situations.
And when a baker re-enters a crowded room and spots her pie pan with only one scrawny slice left, she’ll steal away the victory slice aware (as all writers who bake must be) that she’s awkwardly describing herself in the third-person, yet knowing her incredibly creamy tan miracle brought eaters to the Moon and was loved like a tree-hugging, free-loving, smiling man. The best of all our wildest hopes.