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pie are round

two or three years ago i discovered i loved baking. not just that i was able to bake, but that i was good at it and enjoyed it. somehow it was cathartic (i have learned since then that this is a not-uncommon phenomenon known as stress baking).

although i baked a variety of things, mostly i made cupcakes. they’re quick, easy, delicious and almost endlessly adaptable. plus they’re just so cute. my mom declared 2010 my year of the cupcake and said i had achieved cupcake mastery (i don’t know about that, but that’s what she said). so, when we unwrapped our presents on Christmas, there was a cookbook full of all kinds of exotic-sounding cupcake recipes.

there was also a cookbook for pie. it seemed pie had replaced cupcakes in the upper echelons of trendiness — and really, who wants to be seen with last year’s baked goods? so there was my culinary mission for 2011: master pie.

in february i decided i wanted to make apricot hand pies using this recipe from smitten kitchen as the starting point. there were no apricots in the store by then (the stone fruit we get in winter is primarily imported from chile) so i settled for plums. i’m not a big plum fan but i decided to give them a shot.

helpful baking hint: read the recipe before you start in. read it twice. maybe even three times.

this was during the six months i wasn’t allowed to drive after my seizure. internally i was a bit of an emotional nutcase, what with puzzling through the past year and a half of my life and puzzling through new things i didn’t understand. i think my medication exacerbated all of that, but i don’t really know. anyhow, the evening i set out to make these pielettes, things seemed to go from bad to worse to terrible until i ended up crying into the sticky, sticky dough before breaking down completely and postponing my baking until the next night.

what came out of that was edible, if not quite according to the recipe.

then after that, i kind of forgot about making pie. i made lots of other things, both familiar and new, but no more pie.

this is year of pie: mach ii.

this year i really am going to learn to make pies — all sorts of them — and make them well. if you want to help me out, remind me by sending me a yummy-sounding recipe and then inviting yourself over to help make (or at least eat) it. i promise i’ll try it.

tonight i made hand pies again, without crying into the dough. i made blackberry filling instead of peach bourbon, but i still didn’t manage to get the dough all the chill time it requires. and it requires a lot. it is truly scrumptious, however. one of these days, perhaps in summer, when the peaches are ripe and lovely, i’ll block out an entire saturday and devote it to hand pie-making. for the time being, let’s hope these little guys turn out to be edible. they certainly smelled good while they were in the oven, if i do say so myself.

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