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)


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.


Made a little progress…


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


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.


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…


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.


{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.


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.


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.





Pie 6.0

Pie 6.0

Layers are more of a concern for cake bakers than pie slingers. I think Mary Berry sounds rather sophisticated and proper when she calls them “lairs.”

Well, Pie 6.0 has two layers. It’s a double decker delight called Love, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness Pie, from page 144 (12-squared) in the SUGAR BUTTER FLOUR pie cookbook. The book gives credit for the recipes to Sheri Castle, and the text (which is quite funny) was written by Daniel Gercke, so I’ll give Daniel full credit for the line that claims this pie is a “declaration of deliciousness.” It is. Or it was.

A few things learned during the construction of Pie 6.0:

  1. Don’t rush, but hurry or you’ll literally miss the boat.
  2. Stay focused, but multitask because water-skiers need cheeseburgers, and cheeseburgers can’t cook themselves.
  3. Unflavored gelatin stinks and is hard to find in the stupid market.
  4. When it says to fill a blind bake pie shell with weights, just do what you’re told.
  5. A double-decker pie is tedious to make and hard to slice.
  6. Only bake for 15 minutes. Those extra 5 minutes dry out the shells.
  7. In May in the south, butter softens before you can get it cubed.
  8. A pie can become a birthday pie with the addition of one lighted candle and a song.
  9. Trimmed crust dough can be collected and re-rolled to make little pies.
  10. Not-sweet-enough cream cheese topping is a lovely complement to super-sweet fruit layers.
  11. I cannot say “layers” with one syllable like Mary Berry can, but I can hear her say it in my head.
  12. Four humans can eat one pie very quickly, especially when said pie is viewed as dessert, snack, and breakfast fodder.

To begin, I returned, weak-kneed, to my nemesis, the dreaded blind-baked pie shell of Pie 4.0, and I whipped up two of them.


True to the book’s title, sugar, butter, and flour are used. The butter must be kept cold and must begin as cubes. Cubing butter in the south in May is challenging as it softens immediately. The refrigerator helped, but the process took a while just to cube the butter.

The dough was formed into two rough balls (using only my cool fingertips) and rolled flat to store in the fridge overnight. Next morning, I rolled them out and baked them up. Recipe says bake 15-20 minutes. I worried that these shells had to withstand layering and slicing without a pan as a base, so I let them bake the full 20 minutes.

I use the trimmings to make a couple of mini-backup pies. I promise I checked that the burners were off before I set them to cool on the stove.

The fillings were simple. I used my 30-year-old blender to puree (not pronounced as it seems–say ay at the end) the strawberries and blueberries separately. Whisked in the smelly gelatin. Then added more sliced strawberries or whole blueberries to each.


For each fruit, a packet of unflavored gelatin was dissolved in a tiny bit of water. The smell reminded me of a science lab, so I looked it up and the gelatin is made from boiling bones, ligaments, and skin of cows and pigs to extract proteins. If it smells like roadkill or wet leather to your nose, that’s due to the proteins. Quite appetizing. Here is the packet of powdered gelatin (sprinkled over a few moles of water) and resisting gravity in a bowl at a 45-degree angle prior to heating.


The fruit fillings had to set in the cold fridge for hours. Then they were poured into the shells and set in the fridge for more hours. There was plenty of time to play dozens of games of cornhole, cook dinner, and drive the water ski boat while the pie components lounged in coolness. (Fortunately, the fruity ester smells overpowered the protein odor.)


The cream cheese topping was made with a lot of cream cheese and not very much sugar. The lack of sweetness turned out to be delightful with the fruit lairs. (Layers)


The pie shells and fillings were finally ready to assemble. The strawberries leapt into the bottom layer; the blueberries took the top bunk. Then the whipped topping was piped in a spiral over the blueberries, and the whole thing was decorated with more fruit and sprinkles.


We turned it into a birthday pie with a candle and a song.


Here are the two mini backup pies, one strawberry and one blueberry.


Game plan: Pie 7.0 might be a Peanut Butter Moon Pie Pie. Though it’s the last recipe in the cookbook, the picture makes me drool so it cannot be last. I’ll step away from the pie book for a week to make my traditional early June pie for my husband. Then Pies 8.0 and 9.0 will likely be made with the help of 2-6 small hands of grandchildren, so I’ve been plotting two pretty ones with marshmallows and jelly beans as toppings.