Thursday, July 15, 2010

Baking School: Week 3

I had a friend in high school that used to quote an (unknown to me) eighties movie all the time.  We would be mid-conversation and she would spout off, "Shut your pie hole!"  I often took offense to it, but it was definitely memorable! 
So this week, the theme is, "Open your pie hole!"  Our class covered the very intimidating (to me) topic of pastry, more specifically: pie.  And I have a confession regarding pie-making:

I have never made a pie crust from scratch before.

I know, I know, this adventuresome kitchen rat, has never made a pie crust.  I have always been intimidated by the procedure.  It seems everyone has a recipe for the perfect pie crust.  They also have different techniques for creating the perfect crust.  Pile on this the fact that the crust has to be rolled out into a perfect circle and placed in a pie tin, and I am flustered and scared.

Well, not anymore.  Well, sort of!  Let me explain:

This week I learned a great recipe (butter is always better!) and a great method (hello, food processor!) to take all the intimidation away.  The procedure takes very little time and surprisingly few ingredients and is relatively simple to get together.  Our teacher was definitely a help in de-mystifying the pie crust for me.  She guided us through the right and wrong ways to make a pie crust and pointed out what we were looking for along the way.  I now know how to make a flaky pie crust and a mealy pie crust and when each is appropriate.  I know how to avoid "soggy-bottom" and make a pie so tasty, there is nothing left on the plate but crumbs.

So that's what I learned and I was so excited to get going and start practicing!  Then, I tried it...and my first pie crust fell!  AGHHHH!

But, I am not daunted...I think I have "figured it out" and I will be working on it again today.  I think the problem was docking.  I docked the sides of the pie crust as well as the bottom.  This time I am only going to dock the bottom of the crust.  Fingers crossed!   

If I get it right, I have a very strange idea up my sleeve.  Our textbook mentioned that back in the day, home cooks would make 21 pies a week because they had a pie at every meal.  This is because most pies back then were meat pies.  Although 21 pies would be a bit much (and unnecessary considering modern refrigeration), I am kind of getting the idea of having a pie week.  Drew would be scared, if I had shared this little idea with him.  He'll never know what hit him!

Off to the kitchen...

"Men may come and men may go...but Pie goes on for ever."  George Augustus Sala

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