Thursday, January 03, 2008

Pie, Anyone?

I’ve had my share of pie-making mishaps through the years. I’ve produced soggy crust, cardboard crust, and just plain terrible crusts under the fillings. And as for the fillings-well, I’ve had mistakes there, too. Burnt custard. Strawberry pie filling that would never get firm. Stuff that was just plain bad.

When I was making a Ritz cracker pie in fifth grade, the end of my hair got caught in the beaters of the electric mixer. In two seconds flat, a big chunk of hair was wound up in two meringue-coated beaters-with them still going! That little experience earned me a haircut and whole lot of teasing from my older sister.

When we lived in Colorado, I miscalculated the amount of butter needed in a buttermilk pie and, well, set fire to the oven. I’m still thankful to my mom-in-law who bought me one of those fire blankets for under the kitchen sink. My kids, who were preschoolers back then, still talk about the time Mom almost burned down the house.

Even though I’ve had plenty of, well-let’s just call them catastrophes- over the years, I have to admit I’ve made some great pies, too. My mother let me cook a lot when I was growing up, and that freedom has given me far more successes than failures in the kitchen. No, I still haven’t mastered my mother’s pecan pie or lemon meringue, but I can certainly bake pretty well. Except for one kind…for years one pie has evaded me…no matter how many recipes I tried, I just wasn’t happy with the results.

That all changed on Monday. Yes, on New Year’s Eve, I finally made a great coconut cream pie. Well, actually, my daughter and I made it.

Baking is one of the things we do together-it’s actually one of the few things my daughter and I do together. But once we get into the rhythm of rolling out pie crust, measuring ingredients, and carefully spooning in the filling, things just seem to go well. The years roll away and we only concentrate on the task at hand, not curfews and boyfriends and English grades. Obviously, I’d cook with her all the time if we could.

Back to that pie. When we brought it to the table after dinner, we beamed with pride. The meringue was lightly browned and dotted with toasted coconut. The filling was creamy and devoid of lumps, and the crust was crunchy and perfect. The boys in our family said it was good, ate a few bites, then went back to watch football. But Lesley and I savored every bite. We knew we’d done something special.

So, even though it’s a new year and we’re not supposed to be thinking about desserts…anyone have a favorite pie? Or does anyone feel like sharing a cooking mishap? Oh-and just in case you’re wondering, our coconut crème pie recipe came from The Taste of Home cookbook. I would whole-heartedly recommend it.

Happy New Year!


Danny said...

... Most of the time, any kind of pie is fine by me. :D Congratulations on your perfect pie. ;)

Ellen said...

I looooooove pecan pie. But survival dictates that I never bake anything!!!!!
Savor the moment of the perfect pie and the daughter who helped.

Estella said...

I love pumpkin pie!

Anonymous said...

Danny, I'm with you. I love dessert, though I have to admit I've never been very fond of blackberry or blueberry pie. : )


Anonymous said...

Ellen, oh, pecan pie with fresh pecans! Makes me think of growing up in Texas.

Yep, I'm still happy about my daughter helping. who knows, maybe she'll want to bake again, real soon.


Anonymous said...

Ellen, my sister lives in Greece. She loves pumpkin pie so much that she goes across Athens and buys canned pumpkin for $6 a can!

I know, I really need to send her some cans. : )


Ellen said...

Shelley - what a coincidence I live in Texas and have spent most of my life here.