I made a list of 33 things I want to do before I turn 33 in June 2014. See the full list here.
26. Make a pie. I really need to conquer my fear of baking.
“When [Almanzo] began to eat pie, he wished he had eaten nothing else. He ate a piece of pumpkin pie and a piece of custard pie, and he ate almost a piece of vinegar pie. He tried a piece of mince pie, but could not finish it. He just couldn’t do it. There were berry pies and cream pies and vinegar pies and raisin pies, but he could not eat any more.” — Farmer Boy, Laura Ingalls Wilder
My dear mother came to town to help with bread baking, but when it came time to tackle making a pie, I turned to my mother-in-law. I grew up enjoying Mom’s bread, cinnamon rolls, cookies, crisps and cobblers, but she wasn’t a pie mom.
Corinne, however, was a State Champion pie baker (Entrant No. 10, actually). So on Mother’s Day, she pulled out her old recipe card and we baked a pie. Two pies, actually. Over achievers.
Isn’t that cookie jar just the cutest? I’m totally putting a sticky note with my name on it in hopes of inheriting it someday. And you guys. LARD. Corinne said she found it with the cottage cheese, not with the butter, like we both had sort of expected.
Anyway. We cut in the butter and lard until we had little peas, being careful not to overwork the dough.
Corinne floured up the pastry cloth on its little frame and slipped the sleeve on the rolling pin. I remembered my sticky dough near-mess from baking bread and sighed in relief. I rolled out the dough for a 9-inch pie pan.
Then I tried (not so successfully) to get the pie crust into the pie pan without tearing it or poking holes through the tender dough. Corinne showed me how to patch the holes – no one will see the inside, she reminded me.
Then time for the cherries. I am not sure if I’ve ever had tart cherries from a can before – these were in water not syrup – but they are SO good. I had to restrain myself from eating too many before they made it in the pie. We mixed the sugar and juice and cornstarch and heated until thickened, the stirred in the glossy butter and plump cherries. Mmmm. So good.
I used a nifty tool to cut the pretty lattice strips.
But don’t look too closely – I was not good at the weaving part, and the lattice strips kept breaking so I gave up and faked it a bunch.
Then we made an apple pie, because two pies is better than one pie, clearly. I actually did a pretty good job moving the top crust on this one.
We put them in the oven, and when there was about 30 minutes left, the tornado siren went off. Not even joking. A tornado warning vs. my beautiful pies! What were we going to do?
We all went down to the basement and watched the news as the storm moved closer. And closer. Straight line winds and rain-wrapped tornados in the area prompted us to move into an interior bedroom, so I dashed upstairs, and with 10 minutes left on the oven timer, I turned off the oven (but left the pies in), ran back downstairs, drank more wine, and hoped for the best. 20 minutes later, the storm had passed and I went up to check on my pies.
Overall, I think they would have been better baked at the proper temperature for the full time, but considering their low-temp long hangout, they sure were good. And pretty.
I’m thankful for the time that Corinne spent with me, and I feel good enough about making pie crust that I’ll try it again. Above: Totally the best part about pie making, amiright? Below: The woman who gave life to the man I love. She has a pretty special place in my heart.