Pie Now, Pie Forever

We’ve got a nice backlog of holiday projects to share with you. Some turned out. Some didn’t. Some are SFW. Some aren’t. The holidays are weird.

THESE GUYZ

THESE GUYZ

For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to make this Mini Cranberry Meringue Pie recipe. Or, at least since 2006, when the recipe was originally published. Finally, I got my act together in 2014 and turned out these adorable packets of delight for Thanksgiving dessert.

IMG_6812

Ceramic pie weights came in very handy.

The process was actually fairly simple, for someone who is not super new to baking, anyway. The crust was nice (although I rolled out my last roll-out of it too thin, and those were a little overdone when they baked), the cranberry part was easy enough, and the broiler browned up the meringue with no problem. I did screw up the meringue by over-whipping it at first—distracted, no doubt, by whatever episode of Serial I was listening to. But it was easy enough to make more. The teeny tiny results were gorgeous and tart and my life’s pride.

Delicious cranberry filling!

Delicious cranberry filling!

A few days prior to Thanksgiving, my brother frantically emailed to make sure there would also be pumpkin pie. I said, “If you insist…”

Two pie dough recipes, having an awkward frenemy moment in the fridge.

Two pie dough recipes, having an awkward frenemy moment in the fridge.

His response was: “Insist.”

Well HAPPY THANKSGIVING, siblings. I made your dang pies. So many! For a pumpkin pie, I referred to Cook’s Illustrated, my secret, actual love, as they are foolproof and impossible to make fun of. I highly recommend subscribing to their website–it’s pricey but a frigging trove of useful cooking shiz. The pumpkin pie was fairly standard, except it involved candied yams in addition to pumpkin, and it all had to be cooked on the stovetop first. Oh, and of course the crust involved vodka–my favorite pie crust recipe ever.

What a beautiful pic of a perfect pie!

What a beautiful pic of a perfect pie!

JK the other side looked like  a mud puddle.

JK the other side looked like a mud puddle.

It ended up being fine, because the teeny tininess of the mini-pies needed some supplementation. And a big orangey-brown slice of pumpkin next to the maaaaybe overly cute cranberry pielet looked pretty rad.

Christmas came and went, with an enormous baking fail followed by a questionable baking success (more on that later). I received from my sister-in-law:

THE PIE AND PASTRY BIBLE!!!!

Rose Levy Beranbaum is I think contractually unable to publish a recipe that won’t work perfectly. And her contract is with her creator, maybe. I dunno, either way, she is reassuring and great and sometimes comments on Amazon reviews of her own books, giving tips and stuff. I have been using The Bread Bible and The Cake Bible for years. It’s accurate to say that they are the only Bibles I care about. UNTIL NOW.

Oh, Rose!

Oh, Rose!

A couple of weeks later, my friend Lauren mentioned that she could probably handle an apple pie for her birthday, so I turned to that, the newest of my Rose Levy Berenbaum tomes. And the All-American Apple Pie was born from the very womb of my oven.

Ugh, sorry, that is disgusting. I baked this pie, is what I’m trying to say.

Oh, Rose! : Part II

Oh, Rose! : Part II

It took me a lot longer than the average “cut up apples, mix with sugar, stick in pie shell” variety, but the results were an A+. I want to use cream cheese and sherry vinegar in all my crusts! Even sandwich crusts! Sorry, kid! That taste that’s screwing up your mouth right now is called “sour.”

So 2015 is the year of pies, I think. I’ve been on an ice cream kick for the past few years, but maybe it’s time to move along. After I finish making Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream recipes for every single person I know.

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One comment

  1. Michael Howson · January 27, 2015

    Your siblings very much appreciate the pies.

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