Monday, March 26, 2007

Easy as pie -- my ass

Before we went to California Ryan went to the grocery store to stock the house for our house sitter -- and went a little nuts. The way he shopped indicated he either thought we were going to be in LA for three years, not three days, or that some major catastrophe was scheduled in our absence. Among his purchases were cold cuts galore, a three pound bucket of potato salad, and a huge bag of apples. No one could have eaten all of those apples unless all they ate were apples, for every meal, and every meal featured four apple filled courses. And since we didn't have a rabbit watching our house I wasn't surprised when we returned home and found most of the apples were untouched.

Now, I love apples, but I am a VERY picky eater. One brown spot or mushy bit and I won't eat it. Ryan loves fruit, but is more of an oranges and bananas type person. So, it seemed there was only one answer to our apple predicament (other than chucking them at cars) and that was pie.

The ideal.

I have made two other pies in my life, and both were made under the watchful eye of my Mother -- who is a pie wizard. She makes dough so good I used to eat it raw (no, I'm not kidding, you should try it). Her crust is always light and flaky with a seemingly limited amount of effort. She makes it look as easy as, well, pie. I called her this afternoon to get her recipe and it seemed simple enough -- water, shortening, flour and salt. I had all of those things. I told all of my co-workers about my pie aspirations and promised to share my bounty with them. I figured I had enough apples to make at least two pies.

Then I actually tried to make a pie -- solo.

It started out easy enough. I peeled the apples and covered them with sugar and cinnamon. I cut the shortening into the flour and added the salt. But when I started to add the water the dough didn't seem to be getting moist at all. So, I added more. Then it looked to wet. I added more flour. Perfect. I pounded it into a ball and set it on my perfectly floured counter. I put my rolling pin down in the middle, did two quick rolls, and the whole thing split in half -- with most of the dough stuck to the rolling pin. I put more flour down, floured the rolling pin, made the dough back into a ball and started again. And the same thing happened. After about four tries and half a bag of flour the dough stayed down. And it looked good, until I went to pick it up. I found the dough was now shunning the rolling pin, and clinging to the counter.There was no way it was coming up in one single piece. I scraped it up and started again.

I have always been very good at knowing when I'm beaten. The second time I rolled out the dough and it stuck to the counter, I had the same feeling I did when I lost the 7th grade class election. All the crying in the world wasn't going to make a difference. My countertop was now more flour than granite. If that dough wanted to stick, there was nothing I could do. I started peeling up small pieces and laying them inside the pie pan until the bottom was covered. Then I added the apples and repeated the process for the top. For a final touch I spelled out Ryan's name in fork pricks. It looked like a pie from a Tim Burton movie.

The reality.

It tasted pretty good though -- and luckily Ryan didn't marry me for my pie making skills. He fell in love with my cookies.


Ellen said...

And that, my friend, is why I always buy ready made pie crust. But I think it looks pretty good!

Amanda said...

I just figured you would snack on the dough while baking & would consequently run out of pie dough before it was time to make the pie.

cate said...

If by cookies you mean boobs, then you are correct.

mom said...

Libby, I said 1/2 cup COLD water, add a slight amount more only if needed...

Amanda said...

just realized something - your pie is like a hidden picture! YOu have to find the pictures the crust has made!