I took last week off of pie, and all of a sudden I developed this weird pie-making stage fright. I had to give myself a major pep talk to even attempt to make pastry this week. I’m all psyched out. Shouldn’t I be better at this by now?
Anyway, this week I was making a pie for Sir Monkeypants’ poker buddies, again. I offered him a choice of blueberry (which is possibly my all-time favourite pie, I have no idea why I have not made one yet) or raspberry. Sir Monkeypants chose raspberry, but when I went out to get the berries for it I found that raspberries are going for $5 a pint at the Superstore, and I really did not want to spend $30 on a pie that I was sure was going to be a complete disaster.
Hence, Raspberry Custard Pie, which only takes one pint of raspberries. However, it comes with a whole new level of stress, as the last time I tried to make a custard-based pie I accidentally made Egg Drop Soup pie instead. Ahem.
So I put it off as long as possible, then forced myself to begin.
First, the crust. Sir Monkeypants suggested that I use milk in this week’s crust, for a closer comparison to my mother’s pastry, and also since this pie would be leaving the house so there was no chance of the Captain asking to try it. So I did, but then I spilled the milk into the bowl while I was adding the liquid and thus ended up with really wet pastry. And yet, I did not panic, for my mother says not to worry, you can always add more flour during the rolling process, so I did, and it all worked out okay.
I’m finding that using more liquid makes the pastry much easier to roll, yet very hard to transport to the pie pan without ripping.
In short, there is still much to learn, padawan.
Anyway! Here’s the recipe for the filling part, courtesy of my main woman, Edna Staebler:
Take 1 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon flour, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and mix in a bowl.
Add two beaten eggs and stir.
Bring 2 1/2 cups milk to a near-boil on the stove. Add a little at a time to the egg mixture. I literally added it one tablespoon at a time while constantly stirring with my left hand to avoid the Egg Drop Soup phenomenon, all the while soothing a whining-at-my-feet Little Miss Sunshine with my dulcet voice, because that’s the kind of wondermom I am.
Pour the filling into the pie plate. Oh, it should have a 9-inch crust in it, already prepared. Did I forget to mention that part?
Then you place the raspberries on top. I think the cookbook implies that they will sit on top, but my filling was very wet and the raspberries sort of sunk down then bobbed up to the surface in a weird floating kind of way. But whatever.
Here’s what we have at this point:
Then you try to get that sucker into the oven without spilling it all over, while holding your toddler back with your foot and answering your other daughter’s questions about same-sex marriage at the same time. WONDERMOM.
After baking for 45 minutes at 350 degrees, you get this:
Is it just me, or does this pie look odd? I think it looks odd. All in all, a very odd pie. Sir Monkeypants came home and said, “What’s wrong with the pie?” and I was all, “Nothing, it’s supposed to look like that, I think,” and he was all, “Okay, if you think so,” and I was all, “Trust me, I am WONDERMOM.”
And now, a lengthy anecdote about the tasting of the pie. Aren’t you glad you’ve come with me on this epic journey to the Magical Realm Of Pie? I hope you brought a pocket full of magic beans so we can find our way home!
So Sir Monkeypants had to go to poker, and things were busy around here so for the first time ever, I did not taste the pie before I sent it out for others to eat. Then, when Sir Monkeypants got home ($1.70 richer, I might add, THAT’S MY MAN), I was already asleep, so I didn’t taste the pie.
Then, Sir Monkeypants and I ran into each other at 1 a.m. when we both got up to help Gal Smiley, who was coughing up a lung with croup. He mentioned over the sound of the humidifier filling up that the pie did not go well. He said, “It just didn’t turn out – it doesn’t taste right. I couldn’t even finish my piece.” And I was all, “OH MY GOD.” I was convinced that I’d forgotten a critical ingredient, like sugar maybe, or that the eggs had not set and were just a runny, gross mess in the pan.
So even though it was the middle of the night, I left Sir Monkeypants with Gal Smiley and went downstairs to immediately inspect and taste the pie. There was about 3/4 remaining, again a first – the poker boys never send pie home.
So I had a slice, and I have to say, reports of the pie not turning out were GREATLY EXAGGERATED.
The thing with this pie is that it is a very, very traditional custard. It kind of looks like it’s going to taste like vanilla pudding but it’s not sweet like that – it’s more like a quiche in terms of taste. The consistency of it is just the way custard is supposed to be, which is very smooth and silky — like creme brulee, or maybe like very silky tofu. It’s less like the filling of a Boston Creme donut, and more like egg-flavoured jello.
So I think it really was not what the boys were expecting, as they are really a MORE CHOCOLATE PLEASE kind of crowd. This dessert is much more subtle than that, and really meant for the custard fan. But it did “turn out,” as they say, in that the recipe was a success and baked up just fine. And if you’re like me, and you like custard, it’s actually quite good.
I’m sure I’ll never make this again as I would end up eating the entire thing alone (as I probably will this time), but if I did, I’d use more raspberries. Each bite that has a raspberry in it is exponentially better than a plain custard bite – the raspberry flavour just explodes and it’s SO GOOD. So I’d make sure there were enough raspberries to basically cover the entire top, instead of just the scattering you see in the photos.
Oh, and the crust? Not as good as my mom’s, but definitely better than what I usually turn out. So I might stick with milk a few more times and see how that goes.
So, the pie was kind of a success. I like to think of it as a good foreign film – a huge hit when playing for the right audience.
Next time, though, MORE CHOCOLATE.