Thursday, July 27, 2006

One Pie, Two Pie, Yellow Pie, Blue Pie

Sometimes you just have to experiment. After all, without change, adaptation, innovation, invention, there is no progress.

And sometimes, the occurence of unrelated things leads one to create, in the course of which, one might experiment.

It is late July, and two things happened on Saturday that are germane to this post. First, fresh peaches were available at the farmer's market. We bought a 1/2 peck. Second, blueberries were on sale at the Hyve. A dollar ninety nine a pint. I bought four pints. On Monday, a new Gourmet magazine arrived at the Monkey House (along with the credit card bill for the card used to charge all the gas for the last two trips--UGH!). In this particular issue is a recipe for blueberry pie, with a crust recipe that I found intriguing.

I have, for several years, been trying to perfect the process of creating and manipulating my mother's pie crust recipe. It has been difficult work, but I have been getting much better at working with it. I haven't furiously thrown twisted, torn and half-flattened batches of unbaked pie crust into the garbage for a longg time, now, but it used to happen about fifty percent of the time. Well, yesterday, I tried the new recipe on two pies--one peach and one blueberry.

It was a slight dilemma that I had. I felt, on some level, that I had to maintain some family loyalty. I counter-argued (with myself), that nothing is more valuable than flexibility when it came to cooking, baking, washing dishes, removing sauce splatters from the underside of the table after you've dropped a bowlful on the floor--anything in the kitchen. The counterargument won.

Working with the new recipe was notably different. This one has way more butter in it and more flour--it makes way more dough, so that's a plus (but a bit wasteful). I did far less working of the dough with my hands. This is also a plus, since it a) keeps the hands cleaner, and b) keeps the dough cooler. This one also was way easier to manipulate, as far as getting the rolled out dough from the work surface to the pie pan.

As far as taste goes, the new recipe was lighter (because of all the butter replacing the Crisco), but it's taste was a bit less bold. Also, it baked to a much lighter, almost yellow color. (I have pics, but Blogger is giving me a bit of a hard time today. Maybe, later, I'll post them.)

Drawbacks include that working with this dough was much messier (i.e., more flour everywhere). To be truthful, however, this might be due to the fact that I discovered far too late that I was out of wax paper. Wax paper is a rolling out secret that keeps the dough from sticking to the rolling pin without the use of copious amounts of flour. Obviously, that contributed to the mess.

Monkey, after a preliminary taste test, was firmly in the "I like the old crust" camp. I was in the "they both have their good points" camp. I would definitely make this crust again.

The next time, I might try to figure out a way to create a hybrid of the two. Now, there's an experiment!


Magdalene said...

Could you send a piece of each of those pies with both crusts over here for an almost-official taste-test??


Anonymous said...

The Author is pie-maker extraordinaire!
Keep 'em comin'!

ATR said...

Unfortunately, pie travels poorly over the internet AND the ocean. Sorry.... But, hey, crust recipe is provided; just dump in five cups of fruit mixed with a cup of sugar, a couple tblsp of lemonjuice, about three tblsp of cornstarch and a pinch of salt, bake it at 425 for half an hour, then lower heat to 350 for half an hour, cool for four hours (at least) and have at it! Vanilla ice cream is recommended!

Magdalene said...

Now I am confused....
fruit is the filling or in the crust or both?
Darling husband is the dessert baker in our house, I am sure he would love to try your recipe and report back success or otherwise.
Of course, how will we know if it is authentic having never tasted the original?!

Oh bother...

when are you and Mrs (soon to be Dr?) Monkey making a trip across the pond? We would love to have you.

ATR said...

First, she is Dr. Monkey now, she just can't practice unsupervised until she gets licsensed.
As far as trips abroad, they may be in the works in summer 07 or 08. Stay tuned!

PS--the fruit does not go into the crust (except insomuch as the crust is surrounding the fruit filling, in which case the fruit is, indeed, in the crust).

Anonymous said...

Hey, pie boy! This blog is just *filled* with lots of entertaining and yummy temptations. I'll have more to say later but as I'm rushing out the door I want to pose a question. Thoughts about refrigerating the dough before rolling it out?

Great blog! And now I want me some pie!

Anon AMVB, she still a novice pie-maker

ATR said...

Refrigerating the dough=YES, for at least an hour.


Anonymous said...

OK, now I have some time for a response more worthy of this fine post. Yay, I finally have internet at home!

It is quite something that you experimented, thereby breaking with family loyalty, especially when your pies are so fabulous. As a novice pie maker who is easily frustrated and does not allow herself to throw out dough, I must admit that this alternative recipe is tempting. (Though I for one could *never* betray our mother! I mean, your mother.) Just the thought of lots of dough and and and easier to work with dough.... Having internet and reading about an easier recipe - am I dreaming here?

No, not yet. But I should go forth and dream. Dream of delicious pies that arrive via FedEx from my pie mentor as a teaching aid.

PS - Have you ever noticed that some FedEx vans say FedEx Express? What is the deal with that? I mean, Federal Express Express?! Though I bet they can deliver a yummy pie super super fast fast!

Anon AMVB, she goes to bed drooling