Sunday, November 18, 2012

11/18/12 Pie Playdate

What happens when two moms and bakers (bake-stresses??) get chatting in email about the finer points of pastry-making, from cold butter, shortening, tools, and pre-baking the shells? Why, what else, besides a Pie Playdate!

S. has some serious credentials, having been trained in a British home-ec class, and with a deep cake-decorating background, and being known for making beautiful pies. We're talking about a San Francisco Giants Pumpkin-Carving Contest winner after all! So I was psyched to get some professional-level guidance!

First, the fillings. I had some wonderful help with this too. Katrina measured all the spices for a pumpkin pie, measured the heavy cream, cracked the eggs, and mixed it all together. "You only made the pastry!" she declared later.

I lost count of how many pie crusts we made, but it was quite a few. Some were butter-only, some with shortening, some with the fabulous ingredient of vodka. The end-results was that the vodka pastries came out the best (flakiest) in the end, but were the hardest to work with.

S. is also very creative about form factor, making pies that looked like muffins and loafs! I stuck to ordinary 9" circular things. It turned out that the best test of pie crusts were so-called "railroad cookies," which are simply leftover dough rolled out, and sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon.

In the end, we had a whole lot of pies made -- and more than met our objective of exploring the best way to make them! Chris Kimball, here we are!

Oh yeah, meantime, our children? We'd planned to park them in front of the TV with some Indiana Jones movies, but they had so much fun playing outdoors with balls and bats (S's son is a serious baseball player; Julian had no idea what hit him!), they ended up walking to a nearby park and doing plain old normal KID-things together.

That regrettably included a conspiracy to conceal a broken glass bottle, run over deliberately by a bicycle, with one kid getting cut trying to hide the evidence and clandestinely securing a band-aid. But that's still healthier than zoning out in front of a screen on a gorgeous afternoon, right?

All in all, a fabulous and productive day!


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