Sunday, January 6, 2013

Week 1-An Attempted Homage to My Mother

Happy New Year!

Just like everyone else I was looking forward to my New Year's Resolution- baking pie all year long.  For about a month, I debated what pie to make first.  Surely it should be apple.  After all that is probably the most ubiquitous pie, right?  And it also fits with the name of this blog. And I've made apple pie a bunch of times so it should have been a softball week.

But I, of course, decided to make this harder than it needs to be.  And I wanted to give a little love to my mother.  So I asked her what her favorite pie was.  Here's how the e-mail conversation went:

Jennifer- "What's your favorite pie?"
Mom- "I'm not fussy.  Will eat whatever."
Jennifer- "The real reason I'm asking is it's for my pie project.  The first pie is for you"
Mom- "Well OK- lemon meringue"

To which I picked up the phone and called her and told her lemon meringue was too hard to make as a first pie so I was just going to make whatever I wanted anyway.

And that interaction pretty much sums up what my poor mother has dealt with my entire life.  I ask her exactly what she wants and then I do exactly what I want.  Seriously, she must have had a thousand laughs when she realized I have two daughters EXACTLY like me with which to spend the rest of my life.

But back to pie.  I decided to make a lemon chiffon pie for Mom.  But apparently, I didn't read the recipe carefully enough.  I thought it would be easier than a lemon meringue- ironically, it's exactly the same pie except you fold the meringue into the filling. (Reading directions, apparently not a strong point of mine.)

So I was already irritated before I made the pie (and it was purely my own fault.)  But I started the recipe with gusto at 9:30 am.  I had my Michele's Pie book out and started the shortening based crust.  The girls were excited and busily made piles of salt on the counter while I measured flour and shortening.  I chilled the dough and we played games until it was time to roll out the crust.

And I rolled and rolled.  Until I realized this dough was in bad shape.  It crumpled and tore.  I used more flour on the board, I pasted it together with water, I used every pie trouble shooting resource on the internet.  Nothing.  So I threw the dough out and started again.  I made sure everything was super cold, I did everything exactly by the recipe.  No dice, Michele.  You may know how to make your dough but I sure couldn't.  The kids decided to give up on me.

So I cheated a bit.  I pulled out a recipe I've used before from America's Test Kitchen and made the dough. However, since I hadn't planned to use butter I had to pull sticks from the freezer and I'm sure the butter was not thawed enough. By the time it went in the oven it was 6:30 at night and I was frazzled.  And I still had the filling, the meringue and the whipped cream topping to make.  I finally finished the pie by 8 pm and guess what?

It was a PIE WRECK.  The crust had shrunk and the edges were definitely too done.  The recipe for the pie referred to another page for the method for making the meringue.  What they failed to mention was the meringue made four times what I was supposed to put in the pie- which I realized after I dumped most of it into the filling.

And my mother was coming over to try her pie. But my Mom is a wonderful mom.  She ate that nasty slice of pie and said that the taste was spot on. And you know what, she was right.  It looked bad and the crust was all wrong, but it wasn't horrible.  And I loved her even more for it- and perhaps, next time I will listen to what she wants in the first place.

My husband ate it and said "It tastes just like the lemon yogurt you get at the supermarket."  Perfect, I spent $20 making a filling that tasted like a container of Yoplait I could get for a buck.

And to illustrate just how bad this looked, here is the evidence:

(We had other pictures, but the Little One ran amok with the camera today and the memory card is in bad shape.)

And in the words of my mother "Better to have the wreck on the first one."  At least she still has faith in me.


  1. I have seen (and eaten) worse looking pies. Taste is what counts. So, what is week 2?

    1. LOL! Actually for all it was a disaster, the whole thing got eaten! I'm still trying to find an ingredient for Week 2's recipe so that will depend on whether I'm successful.

  2. it was edible! and the joy is in the process! way to go Jen on week one. Keep up the good work, and I'm not at all surprised you did what you wanted anyway. :D