Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Pie Years

Confession:  I've never been all that swoony about pie.  It's kind of hard to admit it, cause pie is so all American, so comforting to so many. It's sweet, it's savory, it's breakfast, it's dinner, it's coffee's best friend!  It's the hit of the party, the belle of the ball! Who says no to pie??

I've gotta say I'm pretty sweet on cobbler and crisp and crumble and even galette.  But somehow, I'm that person who doesn't go bonkers for pie.  And maybe that's just as well, because if I'm going to be baking pie all the time, I probably shouldn't be eating it, cause I'd rather save room for butter and bacon and ice cream and wine. And cheese. Usually not all at once but... as middle age encroaches, we've gotta choose our poisons!

And yes, I did just allude to the fact that I'm going to be baking pie all the time. Which is not exactly true.  At least not yet. So far, I've baked 2 (fresh blueberry) pies over the course of 3 weeks.  Which is a lot for me, and more pie than I've baked in years.  And I aim to bake more -  much much more -  until I finally figure out how to untangle the mystery that is pastry dough.  So many recipes!  So many fats to choose from: butter, shortening, oil, lard!  To add a bit of vodka or vinegar, or not?  To cut the fat into the flour by hand, or by pastry cutter, or by food processor?  HOW WILL WE EVER FIND THE TIME TO EXPLORE  ALL THE DIFFERENT PATHS TO GET US TO THE PERFECT PIE??  And why do I even want to explore it, when I don't even really want to eat the stuff?

I guess it comes back to the fact that (almost) EVERYONE LOVES PIE!!  And I love to comfort people with food. And ok, there's a bit of vanity in there too, cause if pie is the hit of the party and you show up with pie, well then I guess you're the hit of the party too! "You" being me, that is. Yes, it's shallow!  Yes, it exposes my insecurities!  But I don't care!  I'm obsessed with pie. It's cheaper than therapy, and if it makes me feel better  to bake it and it makes you feel better to eat it, then everybody wins, right?

But the only way to really get good, or even halfway good at it is to do it.  Again and again and again.  So if you need me, I'll just be over here cutting the fat into the flour, rolling out the dough, dicing the fruit and hoping for the best.