I had Easter dinner at my mother’s house this past weekend. It was a particularly auspicious occasion since all three of my sisters were there with their families, and it’s fairly rare these days for all four of us to be in one place at the same time.
So of course, my mom had made pie. Four pies, actually.
Much like Luke Skywalker in The Empire Strikes Back, believing he was ready to face Darth Vader even though incomplete was his training, I swaggered into my mom’s house ready to taste test. I thought, hey, I’ve been making pies for four months now, I’ve got it. I’m ready to see how I stack up against the real thing.
And I got served. Pun intended. I was lucky to emerge without being frozen in carbonite.
My mother’s pie is way, way, way, way better than mine. Sir Monkeypants and I both were like, OH RIGHT, this is how pie is supposed to be! How silly of us.
On Sunday, I talked my mom into making yet another pie with me and I learned about a thousand things I have been doing wrong. She makes her pastry with milk, not water; she bakes her pies at 400 degrees, not 375; she greases the pie plate before loading in the pastry (doh, that seems so obvious now!).
The biggest difference, though, is that she uses much more liquid in her pastry mix than I have been. She freaked me out by dumping at least a half cup of milk in there all at once, and then mixing it up to a nice soft lump like PlayDoh. I’ve been under the impression that the least amount of liquid, the better, and I painstakingly measure out two scant tablespoons of water each time and sprinkle the water ever-so-delicately over the entire thing, until it barely clings together. Apparently, wrong. At least, according to Yoda.
Also my rolling methods leave a lot to be desired, not a surprise. And I don’t use enough sugar in my apple pie filling. And I should use water to seal the edges of the pie, and my mom’s style of crimping is way more effective and faster, and I need to work on my vent cutting technique.
So I made an apple pie with my mom, and it was thisclose to being as good as hers, with her close supervision, of course. Here it is (with leftover cherry and apple pie in the background from the previous night’s dinner):
I like it that my mom cuts a 9-inch pie into only six pieces. Because that’s the way pie should clearly be served. Testify!
So my mother remains the master, and I’m back in basic training. I’m smarting, but I’ll be making another pie this week anyway and we’ll see how it turns out.