My mother would be shocked at the state of my refrigerator. I can count the edible items currently in there (aside from condiments) on one hand. My mother’s refrigerator has never looked like this in her whole life, if I had to guess. Somehow though, I have the ingredients on hand to make a pie—with a homemade crust, no less.
I’ve never made a homemade pie crust, and I’ve never successfully made a double crust pie. Here I am though, with writer’s block, no one to interact with at our new duty station (yet…), and apparently, ambitions to make a pie. Or a disaster in my kitchen.
We’ll find out which shortly.
I’ve washed up my counter so I have a clean area for rolling my pie dough and, at present, gotten no further. Did you know you’re to use well-chilled shortening and ice-cold water for pie crust dough? Lesson one in my pie-baking adventure.
That’s fine. It gave me time to write the start of this piece.
My pie making plans actually started yesterday, or a week ago, or whenever it was that I encouraged my husband to pick out some frozen fruit at the commissary. You see, I’d run out of raspberries, so the commissary trip was necessary. Not because we aren’t responsible enough to have a refrigerator with more than five edible items in it, but because this girl needed more raspberries.
“Husband, you should get some fruit, too. You should eat fruit! Pick out some fruit so you can eat fruit.”
He grabbed three kinds, to my surprise. Three kinds I’m almost certain we usually never have—peaches, cherries, and mango. I suppose we’ve had mango before, because mango salsa is a beautiful thing, but he grabbed what he grabbed, and then it sat in our freezer for the thirty years we’ve lived at our brand new duty station.
It’s been just shy of three months, but I’m already lost and out of place enough to venture into the world of pie making.
I gave him the cherries plain with his lunch one day, and I’ll never forget the dramatic face he made as he worked his way through each disappointing bite. Plain cherries? How could I? Why would I?
Last night when I mentioned that I had a secret—we have the ingredients to make pie crusts; homemade pie crusts—he got pretty excited. So excited, that we may or may not have gotten a little busy with something else. But, this is a story about pie, so that’s not really anything you needed to know.
Four hundred or so words in, and my shortening and water should be chilled enough. Time to go make that pie!
I’m not actually nervous about making the dough. I’ve had success with other doughs such as pasta, cookies, homemade rolls, and the like.
I’m nervous about getting the top piece of pie crust to fully attach to the bottom piece of pie crust. For our first married Thanksgiving, we were going to attend dinner at my husband’s great aunt’s house. When we asked what we should bring, she said pies, and I’d never made any kind of pie before. I practiced multiple times trying to make a cranberry apple pie, and absolutely every time my top pie crust and my bottom pie crust became detached and I had a gooey overflowing mess in my oven.
We brought three pies to Thanksgiving that year—two which I made that only had bottom crusts and one store-bought pie that had the top and bottom ones. I never tried to make another double crust pie again.
Those Thanksgiving pies were of course made with store-bought, ready-made, refrigerated pie crusts. Thank you, Pillsbury!
My pie plates are also probably an inch too big for those store bought ones. How was I supposed to know that Pyrex and Pillsbury weren’t in cahoots when designing their convenience pie making items? It’s like that scene from Father of the Bride where Steve Martin flips out about there being superfluous hot dog buns. My pie plates have superfluous room and are an inch too big for those store bought crusts.
A homemade crust will taste better anyway, right? Right. I’m going for it.
Not only are my pie plates an inch too big, but the amount of frozen fruit we have is about half of what the recipe says to fill a pie with. By this point, I’m thinking this will be an extra crusty little pie.
The good news is that since I have more crust to work with than filling, maybe I can really smash the top and bottom crusts together well enough this go around. Just to be sure, I smash them together twice! Once with my fingers and once with the edge of a fork. That counts as a design—I’m sure of it.
My pie looks nothing like what I assume it’s supposed to look like. It’s not pretty like the pies my mother makes, but it’s a pie, and it’s going in the oven. I’ve come this far.
Now it’s time to see if it leaks all over the place like a disaster or if I actually wind up with a finished pie.
I even put the aluminum foil around the edges of the crust to make sure that they didn’t brown faster than the rest of the pie. This is a smart thing to do in pie town, so I’ve read.
You want to know what’s not a smart thing to do? Turning off the oven at the halfway mark when you remove that foil around the edges. The oven was off the whole second half of my pie cooking time, and I didn’t even realize it until I peeked and saw my pie was nowhere near golden brown.
Well. That’s fine. I’ll just keep going. Turn that oven back on and see what happens.
What happened, you may wonder?
I successfully made a peach—with a little bit of mango—pie!
It wasn’t a full -n disaster, and it wasn’t any kind of win-an-award-at-the-state-fair pie, but it was a pie. I made it, we spilled milk all over the kitchen right before we ate it, and it tasted like pie. My husband even ate two pieces, so maybe it tasted like good pie.
Today’s pie adventure was pretty fun. I had some knowledge of what I was supposed to be doing, but I winged it a lot, messed it up a lot, and spent a lot of time and effort on it. You might say it was kind of like a PCS. You do what you got to do to get through to the end result, and usually everything turns out fine.
Whether you’re making a pie, PCSing, or just winging your way through something else, I hope you wind up smiling at the end.
Or you know…making goofy faces to document your accomplishment.
Please note: For my first successful double crust pie, I used recipes found on the inside of the Crisco package and a recipe from a Betty Crocker cookbook as my guidelines.