Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Pie Crust, A Culinary Extraordinaire

I went to two stores and the only cloves
I could find were whole.
Why is it that pie crusts are so very difficult?  I know that they are considered one of the greater home culinary accomplishments; and I always have trouble with them.  This time I can even tell you what went wrong, and how I managed to fix it.  But I still don’t understand what makes them hard to get right. 

Leaf shaped doughnuts!
It was my father-in-law’s birthday over the weekend and I’d agreed to help my mother-in-law make the pies he requested instead of cake.  Mom gave me a large can of packed pumpkin and two cans of evaporated milk (I used the recipe off the back of the can, so I won’t reproduce it here, I will only say that I did cut out ½ cup of sugar without any effect on the taste), and I took them home. 


So I ground them myself!

On a small side note, a doughnut craving and an ambitious moment are very interesting things when put together.  I’d decided that since I was going to be baking anyway I would go ahead and make doughnuts again.  I did add the egg this time, and I used a cookie cutter instead of a bowl to cut them out.  They nearly doubled in size while they were cooking, and if I’d had even some raspberry jam I’d have filled some of them.  I had also taken a small handful of sugar/spice mixture out from the pie to sprinkle on the doughnuts—that only worked if I was fast enough to sprinkle before the doughnuts dried.  And I think I’ve been cooking them on too high of a heat.  But this wasn’t going to be another doughnut post. . . .
So, back to the pie.  They actually turned out nearly perfect!  Libby’s World Famous Pumpkin Pie Recipe is very easy to make, and does taste really good.  And like I said, decreasing the amount of sugar by ½ cup didn’t do anything to the flavor at all.  Ah well, fillings are generally counted as the easy part.  The crust is a different matter.
Dad has a preference for the simple Oil Crust recipe (it can be found in almost every recipe book so I’ll not give it to you).  Being probably the easiest pastry recipe in existence I was going to use it anyway.  And I still managed to goof it up!  I added too much oil.  It rolled out all gooey, and when I got it into the pie plates it started sliding down to the center.  So I took it out and rolled it in a generous handful of flour.  Then it was good enough to stay where I put it in the plate.  I think the extra oil gave it a bit more elasticity than normal, and I had trouble rolling it out big enough, so there wasn’t enough to trim off the edges.  Instead I just turned the extra bits under, giving the top a nice, fluted ruffle.  And what sugar/spice I had leftover from the doughnuts I sprinkled on top of the pies when they were done. 
The pies were a big hit with everyone, and I think Dad had a good time.  Happy Birthday, Dad!
Elizabeth

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