That’s what my sister will most likely say if she reads this post, because she knows I’m not a pie baker. Cookies, cakes, cobblers, bread, nutroll – bring it! Pie just scares me and that is why I always left pie baking to my sister. She can turn out a pie quite handily, and I’m sure she got it from my grandma. I swear, Gram would blink and there’d be a pie – no, make that two! One in the oven and one in the freezer for good measure! If it was sweet enough to be called fruit, it was pie material. For several years, we never knew exactly what she was serving at Thanksgiving as she got on a squash-carrot-pumpkin kick. Local farmers and friends seemed all too happy to share their apple crop with her, knowing they’d probably get a pie in return. In the summer, we’d pick oodles of black raspberries and elderberries and voila! We had pies coming out the wazoo! She baked cakes for our birthdays, and cookies at Christmas, but everyday was the perfect day for pie, in Gram’s book.
It’s amazing to me how I could grow up in the corner of my gram’s kitchen, literally at her elbow, and miss the two most important defining accomplishments for any cook: pie and gravy. I’m happy to say that I’ve satisfactorily mastered gravy, but pie still eludes me. And for the most part, I’ve been content to let my sister be the reigning pie queen. Her first attempt was rather comical. I distinctly remember her asking me how to get the core out of the apple – good question, Deb! And her first batch of crust bombed, so she tossed that right into the trash and began again and I’m pretty sure every pie since has been nothing less than perfect.
I was looking through my gram’s old cookbook recently and laughing because the pages with pie recipes were quite um, shall we say – soiled? Which kind of baffles me, because I never remember her needing a recipe to make either pie or crust! Anyways, between that, and my friend describing a nine-course dinner she made for Christmas eve, topped off with a homemade apple pie – well, I just had a craving for pie that I needed to satisfy. Never mind that without the help of that little fat white Pillsbury doughboy, I’ve never been able to pull off a decent crust. It’s time, I decided. Time to master the art of pie baking.
My early rush of success when the crust actually held together was premature. No doubt the little crumbs were clinging together for fear of meeting with my rolling pin and had no intent of staying together for me. I probably shouldn’t have experimented with a whole wheat crust but the idea of “healthy” seemed to offset the huge amount of calories I was about to concoct! I knew I was in trouble when the circumference of the rolled crust was no larger than the pie plate (but why did I think I needed to use a deep dish one?!) Disgusted, I rolled out the top crust, knowing it would be too small to cover the mound of apples and cranberries. Fluting? I don’t think so. I felt like a junior high girl, pulling my too-short skirt down to cover my knees, trying to coax the crust to blanket the fruit. Nothing doing. The only think I did right was put a pan underneath it to catch the overflow that is sure to happen. I’m almost glad my camera card is messed up at the moment, so I don’t feel compelled to share the ugly mess with my readers.
So yeah, apple pie – my eye! For now, I think I’ll stick to bread (sourdough bread is next on my list to try) and cookies, and leave the pie baking to my sister and, in a pinch, that adorable little Pillsbury doughboy!
Update: The pie was definitely edible. I had one piece. And then I realized why I can’t bake pies! I DON’T LIKE PIE!!