Lucky Pie 13.0 LIVE

Lucky Pie 13.0 LIVE

When I began this pie adventure, I envisioned stories where I wowed readers with my baking skill. Instead, I’m humbled by my mistakes, grateful you still read, and incredulous by my luck that the pies taste incredible. (Usually. There was that burned one. And that savory one.)

My routine is to endure the stupid market, enjoy the bake, eat the pie, and then finally in about a week write a blog post about the experience. Today, things are going quite badly already, so I’ve decided to blog LIVE, as the bake progresses. It won’t be as fun as watching Mary Berry and her pals, but let’s give it a try.

Last night, by candlelight, I made the double pie crust for Pie 13.0, aka “Big Guy Strawberry Pie” from page 41 of the Sugar Butter Flour cookbook. Today I have time to type and drink coffee while I wait for the crust to be ready to roll. There she is late last night when she was but a good idea, and right now–too cold and hard to roll. That’s why we’re waiting. (We = me + my crust)

20180824_21323820180825_104057

There was a slight measurement (or perhaps reading comprehension) problem last night having to do with the appropriate quantity of butter. (It’s always the butter, isn’t it?) Anyway, when the error was discovered, the second half of the forgotten / missing / necessary butter was chunked up and added in last. (Not my brightest idea. The dough has globs of butter. I’m hoping it somehow comes out–I don’t know–flaky?)

Just tried to roll it. Not ready yet. So I’m just sitting here in a dirty apron and hairnet, drinking coffee and wondering what my wet hair will look like later when I release it from captivity.

20180825_104702

Made a little progress…

20180825_105050

OMG. I had to add a lot of flour to combat the globs of butter spots. Here she is in the pan.

20180825_105710

And here she is napping in the fridge with her top half ready to roll (on the right). Thank goodness it’s time to slice strawberries.

20180825_110024

It took an hour to slice the strawberries because I talked on the phone with my daughter while I sliced and she fed eggs to the baby and laughed at her silly little ones. There’s a cookie pan in my oven right now getting nice and hot at 425F so the bottom of the crust cooks quickly to avoid a soggy bottom. The recipe calls for some strawberry jam but I only have preserves, so there’s modification number two (after the crust/butter fiasco). I’m rolling out the top crust right now…

20180825_121834

I placed it on after cutting 8 little circles out of the edge. I tucked the top crust around and under the bottom one and pinched it the way my momma showed me when I was small and she made apple pie and blueberry pie with the fruit from the can. I pinched the little circles to make them look like strawberries and glued them down with an egg wash. (They look like acorns.) I cut open the little window in the center of the crust just like the picture. Egg washed the whole enchilada and sprinkled with the expensive large crystal sugar. While she bakes for 45 minutes in two temperature stages, I have time to make the weird basil infused whipped cream.

20180825_123503

{My hair is completely dry under the hairnet and matted to my head. Lovely. And I’m sticky almost up to my armpits with egg and butter and flour, so much so that my electronic devices and mousepad refuse to notice my touch. My fingertips are invisible. See? You just can’t get this depth of detail without the live blog feature.}

Hey, so something worked out pretty good. The pie is on it’s second stage of cooking for the exact same time the cream is cooling. Of course, the cooling cream should have been about ten minutes ahead, but we must account for the time it takes to make a mistake. See, the heavy cream gets heated BEFORE the basil is added. This is what the basil looks like when you remove it with a fork from the pan of heating cream because it shouldn’t be in there yet. Whoops.

20180825_124841

I’m on break for about a half an hour. I think I’ll clean up the mess.

I whipped the weird cream after it chilled in a bowl nestled in another bowl of water and ice in the fridge for an hour. An hour. In a bowl of ice. I’m not kidding. Details, people. Anyway, it took 7 freaking minutes to whip. I didn’t think it would ever get there. I scooped it into the icing bag and put it in the fridge for later. And, yes, I tasted it. I popped that test blob on the spoon right into my mouth and, man, basil tastes (and smells) weird in whipped cream. Like I made Italian spaghetti sauce and then used the dirty bowl to whip the cream. Maybe it’ll taste incredible with the sweet pie. You-know-who has no idea of the weirdness of the whipped cream in his future. I bet you a dollar he scarfs it up and asks for more.

20180825_13245820180825_14414120180825_144637

Pie 13.0 is a beauty. She’s too hot to eat, and there’s nobody here to share her with right now. But I will surely garnish each slice with a sprig of basil and a dollop of whipped cream as instructed. You’ll have to just imagine it, as usual, unless you go ahead and buy the cookbook and make one yourself.

20180825_145037

 

 

Advertisements

Pie 12.0

Pie 12.0

My daughter chose “Lulu’s Lemonade Pie” from Sugar Butter Flour for Pie 12.0, a perfect choice for a hot summer day in the southland. The picture in the cookbook is pretty and pink. Take a trot to this site to read about the purported history of how pink lemonade got its pinkness. Ahh, refreshing, right?

I didn’t realize my first mistake for hours after I made it. As I lined up the sugar and butter and flour for their portrait for this post, while the dough for the crust chilled in the fridge, I realized (whoops) I used bread flour for the crust. I traded the bread flour for the regular flour for the photo, but it was too late for the crust. What a way to start. When I rolled out the dough it was quite tough. No kidding.

While at the beach a week ago I got a text and email from my sister about a package that could not be delivered to my house. We’d stopped our mail during the vacation. Anyway, in our text exchange I asked her what was in the package. I always ask this before birthdays and holidays, and nobody ever falls for it and tells me. My sister, fresh from watching all four seasons of the Great British Baking Show, couldn’t contain her excitement and told me: New icing tips and bags! Surprise (almost). No more cutting the corner off a Ziploc for my pies.

At the stupid market I had contemplated the lemons by weighing them in my hand and guessed I’d need at least four for the recipe. I bought five. I don’t have a juice squeezer thingie but I do have strong hands, so I put the flour sifter in a small blue bowl (to catch the seeds and other solids) and I squeezed those lemons by hand. Turned out, I only needed two.

20180811_104601

Also in the stupid market, I checked off the ingredients carefully from my list. Eggs. check. Lemons. Check. Butter. Check. Heavy cream. Check. Half and Half. Check. Back home I sighed and dropped my clenched shoulders. I unloaded the bags in my kitchen to find there was no Half and half. None. I scanned the receipt. None. I closed my eyes and relived the dairy section in the stupid market.

Milk, heavy cream, coffeecreamersourcreambuttereggscheese.

Hmm, said my mind, you’re such a dithering dolt. I did not even look at the Half and half. Who the heck crossed it off the list? Anyway, extraordinary chemist that I am (recall the raspberry vinegar from a recent delight) I made my own: 1/2 whole milk, 1/2 heavy cream. How hard can it be?

I didn’t have any red tights to boil, or red cinnamon candies to dissolve, or any cranberry juice, so I just followed the recipe to make my pie pink: I added three little drops of red food coloring. Pink enough.

I must confess, the actual name of this bake is “Lulu’s Lemonade PieS,” as in many mini pies. The crust dough and all the fillings were to be divided amongst eight little cutie-pies. But, like the lemon squeezer and (until recently) the frosting tips, there are no mini pie shells in my kitchen. Gasp. Get over it. So I made one big pie instead of eight little ones. The physics of this modification demanded a 50-minute bake, rather than 30. When I checked the monster at 30 minutes, the filling almost sloshed over the side. You can imagine how my bread-flour-based-crust reacted to 20 extra minutes of drying in the oven. (Alas, someday I’ll get it right. Perhaps I’m not quite ready for my debut on TGBBS.)

20180811_113251

While I worked and sweated, across the counter from this old baker sat a lovely young woman and her lovely friend. Together they are not yet 60 years old. They chatted and drank coffee and laughed. One was my daughter, and the other calls me Aunt Laura but is not my niece. My daughter’s sole job, besides choosing the pie recipe, was simple: separate the pink from the non-pink jelly beans. There were 17 and I needed 16. Perfect. At least something was going right.

20180811_110340

I whipped up the cream for the topping and spooned it into a frosting bag with one of five or six tips I wanted to sample. After many frosting tips it was clear: I’m not qualified. I must practice. To the utter horror of my audience, I scooped up my first attempt with a spoon and tossed it back in the bowl to try again. The lovely chef/caterer who thinks I’m her aunt suggested I practice later with actual frosting instead of whipped cream. She’s pretty smart. She and daughter licked that whipped cream bowl to a shine.

20180811_133931

20180811_134855

As an encore, I must disclose my dear husband helped RE-decorate after he saw my messy pie. We were just back from the beach where we made drippy castles (with no children helping–just two oldies playing in the soft silky sand) every day.

20180805_190331

So my DH jumped in and made drippy castles on my pie with the new frosting tips.

20180811_135235

20180811_135439

Pie 12.0, like almost all her predecessors, turned out delicious despite my strenuous efforts to screw it all up. Conclusion: if it tastes delightful, it can look like a sand castle. Your mouth won’t know.

The fall semester starts in four (4!) days. Either I will be too busy to bake, or I will be desperate for the relief of baking. It is quite impossible to predict these things. Please excuse me either way.

Pie 11.0

Pie 11.0

I love chocolate.

This pie cookbook has so many chocolate delights. It’s hard to choose. Someday I’ll get to them all. Apparently the chef didn’t even try to decide which chocolates to focus on for Pie 11.0. She just used them all. I say bravo!

My crazy pie journey started about 4 months ago with the extraordinary Pie 1.0. Eleven pies in, I promise I’m not giving up. Just slowing down. Busy in the summer. Perhaps on a diet so I need to pace myself. And I might never make all the savory ones after the jerk chicken experience. Enough ado. I give you Pie 11.0.

Officially called “In the Dark Dark Triple Chocolate Truffle Pie” from page 86 of the Sugar Butter Flour cookbook, Pie 11.0 was built from dark chocolate, white chocolate, cocoa, bittersweet chocolate, and chocolate cookies, from Ghirardelli’s, Baker’s and Hershey’s–even a small piece of chocolate is ridiculously good. I’ve never thrown out a Hershey in my life.

20180726_102722

Here are the chocolates posing for a portrait. (Coffee photo bombed again.)

20180726_092214

The crust was the same deliciousness I made for Pie 3.0–crushed chocolate cookies. The butter did not explode in the microwave (like it did for Pie 7.0) this time. Ah memories.

20180726_092721

The filling was thin like chocolate milk and baked for 45 minutes until it set.

The topping was chocolate (duh) and fluffy (is that what truffle means? Somebody look that up.) I piped it on with an X tip hooked to a plastic bag, in my normal don’t-have-an-icing-bag-but-a-Ziploc-will-do. Good enough.

20180726_172925

I tried to make chocolate curls for the garnish with a paring knife and my innate skill, but the bars melted in my summer hot hands. I should have just used the cheese grater. Somehow I persevered and managed to make a pile o’chocolate shreds for the top. I licked my hands, washed them good, and finished up.

Another globetrotter, this one. She rode frozen in the car to VA, like Pie 2.0 and was eaten for the three days of a long weekend. Perfect for breakfast with coffee.

20180726_174244

Pie 12.0 will be made in a week with my daughter, who will also choose the pie. Stay tuned for pictures of more delicious stuff you don’t get to eat. Cheerio!

Pie 10.0

Pie 10.0

Back to sweet and fruity.

On page 108 of Sugar Butter Flour I found the recipe for Pie 10.0, known formally as “Razzleberry Buttermilk Custard Pie.” Spoiler alert: she was so delicious, she only lasted a couple days in my house.

Let me start with my stupid market adventure and two hurdles called buttermilk and raspberry vinegar. The buttermilk hurdle was low and I glided gracefully over it, once I realized it was with the milk and not the butter. I found exactly zero (0) bottles of raspberry vinegar after I looked everywhere. (No, I did not ask for help.) But I used my wily-ness to concoct my own raspberry vinegar. After all, how hard can a recipe be when the two ingredients are in the name? I squished up a couple raspberries and poured white vinegar over them and let them get acquainted while I worked.

20180714_15160520180714_12282320180714_122913

The pie shell, the custard filling, and the whipped topping ALL incorporated some buttermilk, all with detailed directions to use either “well-shaken, chilled” or “well shaken, room temperature” buttermilk. (I may have mixed them up on one part.)

The crust was easy, but I overbaked it because I didn’t read ahead and realize the filling would also be baked. Whoops.

20180714_12075520180714_12200020180714_12582920180714_13034720180714_130157

I did weigh down the blind bake with rice, and this time I saved the rice to reuse. Here is the box that now lives in my pantry.

20180714_144825

The filling required a lot of whipping and folding, but I’m almost a professional now, so I won’t bore you with the details. Just when I thought I’d messed it up bad, I read this in the recipe: “Don’t worry if the mixture looks a bit curdled at this point!” I love a good set of directions.

20180714_14560020180714_15082720180714_15131520180714_171922

You can see there, after the bake the crust was quite browned. My dear husband loved it anyway.

I made the whipped topping, but it came out a bit thick and buttery again. Those 12 extra seconds of whipping (plus the warm day) beat my whipped cream to churned butter. Again, no one complained.

And the recipe called for three (3) cups of raspberries–way more than needed. After a sprinkle of sugar we dug in.

20180714_172510

I used the extra raspberries and my new crushed-graham-cracker-crust-and-whipped-cream skills to make these little bonus cups.

Pie 11.0 will be either strawberry or chocolate, and she might travel north by car for six hours. Any requests?

 

Pie 7.0

Pie 7.0

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.

20180531_135533

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.

20180531_14010320180531_140256

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┬álovely (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.

20180531_15142820180531_15163720180531_15233120180531_15254720180531_185904

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.

20180531_18545420180531_18585620180531_190220

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.)

20180531_155819

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.

20180531_202017

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.