So I’ve been away from my blog for a bit, but I’m back. I needed a little break after finishing the first term in my master’s program so I’ve been swimming, reading, attempting tennis again after years, canoeing. And oh yes, baking.
Not long ago Todd and I bought a bed from our furniture designer friends. It was high time, as we had been sleeping on a mattress on the floor, which lent a sort of crack-den air to our bedroom that I wasn’t a big fan of. Our beautiful bed was delivered and assembled by our friends and a purchase price was decided upon: cash, and the rest in pies. No joke. Brandon, cosmopolitan guy that he is, originated in Alabama and has retained his Southern affection for pies of all kinds. Amy doesn’t love to bake, and I’ve made key lime pies in the past that they’ve enjoyed, so a deal was struck: I am to provide them with pies for at least the near future.
The pie you see above is the latest. It’s Number Seven: Lemon Chiffon. A confection of eggs, sugar, and lemon juice, it’s a bit more complicated than it has the right to be, plus I also attempted crust again which, even though everyone says it’s supposed to get easier, makes me wonder why people insist on doing it themselves instead of avoiding the headache and purchasing some ready-made. Note the lopsidedness of the crust in the photo. I simply cannot get it right! Ever! My crusts tend to look “rustic.”
(A secret: pat-in-the-pan butter crusts and crumb crusts are headache-free. I’m going to concentrate on those for the future.)
Before there was lemon chiffon there was a key lime pie made with Persian limes from Mexico, a key lime pie made with actual key limes (which are a pain in the rear to juice but do produce a superior limey flavor), a Derby pie in honor of the one in Kentucky that I don’t follow, a banana cream pie that knocked Milo’s socks off, a strawberry pie made with berries I’d picked that very morning, and sweet potato, which is a current favorite of Nuala’s. I’ve a few others lined up: apple-raspberry, black bottom, chess…
Baking for others has been a freeing experience; I’ve carefully measured out sticks of butter and cups of sugar without batting an eyelash at their copious amounts. Brandon and Amy don’t dwell on that type of thing. They’re woodworkers and burn something like ten thousand calories a day sanding, so pie, for them, is a necessary strength-builder. I’ve enjoyed this self-directed foray into the American history of pies, too, reading all about them online and in The Joy of Cooking (my go-to book for pie and other recipes).
My next pie will be peach, I think, and I’ve promised to make two because Nuala is getting awfully tired of watching pie after beautiful pie being whisked out the door without her being able to sample them. A peach pie during summer’s wane may be too good to resist.