Well my first couple attempts at pie crust perfection, with The Joy of Cooking cookbook, been interestingly opposites. In honor of my largest support system, I decided to ask my husband what type of pie he would prefer me to make to kick off this baking endeavor. It seemed only fitting since, after all, he will be the one dutifully by my side tasting each of these creations for the next year or so. In true Matt fashion he requested a Pecan Pie since the book did not contain a Derby Pie recipe. Therefore two Wednesday ago I put together the confection for our dinner and date night in. This was not an easy pie to start off with. Actually, I would go as far to say there couldn’t have been a more challenging pie to begin the whole project with since my wonderful mother in law makes a wonderful Pecan Pie, and that said reason is THE reason that my husband thinks so fondly of it. Although Matt wouldn’t admit to it, lets just say my attempts to master it were a bit of a taste bud let down compared to the amazing treat we look forward to every Thanksgiving dinner. You know how the Pecan Pies are meant to rise to the top… well mine sank to the bottom lol And the crust, once again, turned out a little to brittle for my liking. It also stuck to the surface of the pie plate which made it really difficult, almost near impossible, to serve with out breaking it all apart. Some how though, even as awful as it was, the whole pie still managed to disappear with in a matter of a few days. That mysterious disappearance in and of itself says volumes about how gracious my husband is. 🙂
The next pie however was quite a different experience. Since my spring break stay-cation began on Friday I decided I would make a Strawberry Pie for our weekly Saturday family dinner night out at the Pomeroy family farm. I chose this pie Mainly because I was able to find Strawberries for a dollar at the grocery store, and therefore had a whole extra carton sitting in my fridge that I did not want to go to waste. Plus, Strawberries taste like Spring, and with the weather we had been having in Kentucky a little Spring tastebud fever was just the cure for the winter blues our family was experiencing. Don’t get me wrong, I honestly love all the seasons, but after going on almost six months of cold, winter like weather, some nice warm sunshine and fresh flowers were way over due!
Maybe it was the fact that I was on spring break and had no where to be, with no plans ahead for the entire day, but my perfectionistic tendencies that tend to come out when baking subsided this particular Friday evening. Usually I spend too much time worrying over every little tear that happens to the dough when you flip it off of the cutting board and into the pie pan. I try my best to repair each little crack, as if it had never been there in the first place, instead of just focusing on the beauty that it made it into the plate at all! This time though I did something much different. This time I only focused on the major tears, and even then, instead of trying to make it into something its not, I let it be what it was. That simple difference made all the difference. In all it’s buttery, flakey, melt in your mouth gloriousness, my pie crust turned out as if my Nana had made it herself! Better yet, I was able to share my first successful pie crust around a table with some of the people that I love most in the entire world, which for me is what baking really all boils down to, sharing it with others you cherish most.
Much love & prayer,
P.S. Here is the recipe for both pies below, just incase you feel like making one, or both of them, after reading this post. Just remember, whatever you do, do not try and make the crust into something it’s not, and it will turn out as perfect as possible.
preheat oven to 450
an unfilled pie shell
and bake it only partially, from 5 to 7 minutes. allow to cool, reduce oven heat to 375
1/4 cup butter
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
beat in 1 at a time:
1/2 cup light corn syrup or molasses
1 to 1 1/2 cups broken pecans or walnuts
1 teaspoon vanilla or 1 tablespoon rum
1/2 teaspoon salt
fill the shell, bake the pie about 40 minutes or until knife inserted in the filling comes out clean. serve warm or cold