Friday, November 19, 2010

The great pie experiement, part 2: First thoughts

That's all I have to show you for my first pie experiment. Why? Well, never having made pie before I wanted to focus on the process and not worry about cleaning my hands between steps so I don't get flour all over the camera. Now that I have the basic steps down, I can go back, make another and share pictures of each step. I told you this would be a process.

I can sum up my thoughts on my first attempt in this way: OK. I mean, it was good overall but each component had problems that I want to fix. The crust with a biscuit-like texture, there was way too much liquid in the filling and the pie was pretty flat overall. All this came together to make an pretty good apple pie in flavor, but just an OK pie in terms of the textures I prefer. Luckily, this weekend my dad comes to town for our Thanksgiving and I will be making another pie. I'm pretty I've figured out what went wrong and I know this next one will be even better!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Culinary bucket list: The great pie experiment, part I

I began cooking when I was young. To be honest, though, I can't definitively tell you what the first thing I helped my mom make was or when I made my first complete meal. My memory is fuzzy from those times. I've read that divorce will do that to young people.
What I do know is that cooking has always been an escape for me. When I am stressed or troubled or tired, taking a few moments to cook something has always focused me and helped me solve my problems.
As time has gone on, cooking has become a way to challenge myself. So in the back of my head I've begun to list the things I want to eventually accomplish as a cook, call it my a culinary bucket list. The list includes things like making biscuits from scratch (check, though I think I really need to keep practicing to be a success at these), beating egg whites to stiff peaks by hand (halfway there!) and making pie.
I've never made pie by myself, though I LOVE pie. That may be my problem, though. I may love pie too much. My standards involving pie are so high and my ability to tolerate my own failures is so low that, until recently, I thought I might implode if I couldn't create a delicious version of my own favorite food.
But in every cook's life there's a moment in which you suck it up and make the damn pie. And that is what I did last night - I made pie crust. And today, after letting the dough chill in the fridge overnight, I will make my very first honest to goodness apple pie with pie dough that I made all by myself and if I screw it up, I have husband who will eat it anyway and pretend to love it.
If you feel like it's time to suck it up and make your own pie, I have collected a vast knowledge of pie tips. Much of the advice contradicts itself since it is coming from a wide variety of sources who have spent many a night crying themselves to sleep after ruining their pie. Luckily for me they didn't implode, but instead got back up the next morning and made pie again, thereby perfecting their recipes for the rest of us to try out. So here's my current base of knowledge. Read them all. Because food bloggers have a knack for being hilarious. And Alton Brown is just awesome, even if I'm not planning to do a shortening and butter pie crust (BUTTER ALL THE WAY!):

When I have my own experience, I will definitely be sharing with you what I've learned and I hope you will do the same.