Good heavens. Making pie really should not be this hard, should it?
So this week I made a chocolate cream pie for Sir Monkeypants’ poker buddies. This was my first experience with baking the pie crust alone, and then adding a filling that needed to chill to set.
My first attempt at the pie crust part seemed to go well. I was happy with the rolling — actually almost even circular! — and the crust in the pie plate looked good.
Then I baked it, and this is what I got:
Notice around the edges? It shrunk! It pulled in from the sides, and also, the bottom lifted up. I took this picture as soon as it came out of the oven, but as the crust cooled, it got smaller and smaller.
To the internet! The internet is full of pie-making snobs, let me tell you. I’m grateful for them, though. One of them had this to say on a message board: “A proper pie crust isn’t so much a recipe as it’s a spiritual quest for perfection in an imperfect world.” I feel like my quest so far has moved me farther from nirvana, not closer, but I persist. A pie samurai, I will be!
Anyway, the internet suggested that some shrinking always happens, but you can minimize it by weighing down the crust by filling it with rice or beans; properly crimping the sides, so they are stuck down to the pie plate; and being sure to prick it well all over.
I hemmed and hawed for a while, before I finally decided to chuck the first crust and try again. After all, the second one could hardly be worse, and this whole thing is supposed to be a learning process, and more practice equals more learning, right? (Naturally I ate most of the discarded crust. It was pretty good… another B+ at least.)
So here is my second version:
This one was a bugger to roll out — too wet and nowhere near round — so there was mondo patching. You can still see holes in the bottom where I didn’t quite get it stuck together. On the good side, however, I feel like I had a fluting breakthrough.
Now THAT’S what I’m calling my new rock band — Fluting Breakthrough. Eat that, Coldplay!
I also baked this one with a bunch of mung beans encased in tin foil in the middle to hold it down, which worked very well to prevent bubbling and shrinking, but on the other hand, stuck to the bottom (see: too wet). I had to peel them out very carefully but even then, it kind of ripped the pastry a bit and left it looking pretty ratty.
But who cares, when you’re going to fill it with this:
And overall? Okay, I think you have to admit that this is one good looking pie:
However, it is not exactly a good tasting pie. In the first place, the first crust I made was better. This second one was overhandled and too doughy. As for the filling, it is basically store-bought vanilla pie filling with melted chocolate chips in it, and it’s too sweet, too chocolately (I never thought there could be such a thing), and has a funny fake-rum type aftertaste which I did not enjoy. I think this is the first pie I’ve made that I did not actually like, the first one that I don’t think I will make again. It’s the recipe’s fault, though, not mine.
During the First Crust Attempt Crisis, I was really ready to throw in the towel on pie. I wanted my Mommy. But I got back up on the pie horse, and I’m happy I made the second crust, even if the pie isn’t my favourite. Sir Monkeypants just left with 7/8ths of a pie — hope the poker boys are enjoying it.
So I guess I’ll be back next week. I seem to have committed on Twitter to hosting a pie tasting party when I hit 50 weeks (it’s all Crafty Mom‘s idea)…so I really need the practice!