Mar 27, 2013

I Made a Pie!

I really am sorry to keep harping on this...actually, no I'm not. I MADE A PIE! A delicious, perfect chocolate silk pie. Seriously, this is a huge deal. I made it all, from scratch. Tacking that "from scratch" on to the end of that sentence still gives me a little thrill. From scratch! Me! A pie! 

A couple years ago my Superman received a Williams-Sonoma  "Pie and Tart" recipe book from his mom, and wowee-kazowee every single pie he has made from that book is exceptional. Yes, I admit it, Superman does most of the expert cooking around our house. He loves it, really he does. He makes a heck of a good jambalaya, the best salmon in the world, and his Dr. Pepper steaks make up the best of our summer BBQs. So yes, he is the one to make the pies most of the time. This chocolate silk pie in particular had become one of our favorites, despite the fact that it never seemed set properly the few times he had made it. Delicious and chocolaty, yes, but silky, not quite. 

Thus, when I finally finished the pie and it had actually turned out to be perfectly silky, I did a victory lap around the kitchen. Finally, I cooked something and it actually turned out better than what Superman could do. I mean, not that it is a competition or anything. It just never happens. So I was beyond thrilled. Sadly though, it was not because I have any mad skills. Rather, my perfect pie was merely the result of a few happy accidents. 

First accident: trying to make a chocolate silk pie all at once. Apparently the first rule of pie baking should clearly state: "Make the pie crust first, preferably hours prior to making the actual pie filling." I had no clue how long it would take to mix a crust, roll a crust, refrigerate a crust, cook a crust, and cool a crust. Let me just tell any pie novices out there, it takes a good long while, especially for a first timer. Holy smoke! Thanks to my mixer, making the crust was not a big deal. Rolling it out, yikes, took me several tries. Moving it to the pie pan, several more tries. Then you have to chill it. So, thought I, while chilling this crust I am just going to make the pie filling. Wrong! By the time I had read through the instructions for the filling, assembled the double broiler and thermometer, gathered the ingredients, and was finally ready to start, the crust was ready to pop in the oven, so I did. 

Second accident: baking the crust and making the pie filling at the same time. Turns out it takes quite a while to bake a crust the right way. You should cover it in foil and weight it down so it won't bubble (I used two cups of dry rice because I didn't know we even had such a thing as pie weights in our kitchen), and bake it for about 25 minutes. Then you pull it out, remove the weights and foil, and bake the shell for 7-10 more minutes. That is about 40 whole minutes. So, silly me, I thought I could make the filling while the crust was baking. Big mistake. The instructions specifically say to let the crust fully cool before putting in the filling. I must have missed that part in my initial skim. So, there I was with a hot pie crust and hot pie filling, what to do?

Third accident: putting the filling in the freezer while the crust cooled. This was the solution I came to; let the filling cool, let the crust cool, and voila, problem solved. I was able to clean up most of my mess from baking pie and baking crust while the whole thing cooled separately. Then, once I could feel the crust was basically cool, about 20 minutes, I pulled out the filling and used my trusty spatula to smooth it into the crust. Then I put it into fridge to finish setting. Then somehow, when I pulled it out for our birthday celebration, my pie was firm, held together, and a lovely chocolate silk. 

There you have it, the sum of these three accidents equated to one very perfect chocolate silk pie. I am documenting these happy mistakes so perhaps next time, if I ever dare to tackle the challenge again, I can duplicate this same batch of happy mistakes and have myself one perfect pie. That is right, pie. I OWN YOU! 

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