Monday, July 5, 2010

As American as ... um ... peach pie!

When our friend Jason asked us to contribute a dish for his July 4th barbecue, I volunteered to make pie. It seemed like a good idea at the time! Never mind that pastry-making skills seem to skip a generation in my family, but unfortunately, they skipped over both my mother and I (and landed on my sister).

I have neither the skills nor the apparently inborn finesse required to mix pie dough in the right consistency, roll it out without it sticking, and (most difficult) pick it up in one piece and put it in a pie dish. My pie crusts tend to be a patchwork affair, more doughy than flaky, aptly called "Frankenstein's Pie Crust."

This is unfortunate, as I love nothing better than a fresh fruit pie with a buttery, flaky crust. Thus, I have been sadly dependent on the pastry-making skills of others.

But, if I have learned one thing from my toddler, it's try, try, and try again. When you fall down, dust yourself off (or not), and try again. When you fall off the back steps and smack your head, cry on your mama's shoulder for a minute, then head right back for another go. Practice makes perfect, and a few lumps and bruises are simply par for the course. If Joe could talk, I believe he would opine: "All skills are learned!"

So. Pie!!

Here I am, peeling "Crimson Lady" peaches (from the farmer's market, of course), with Joe keeping me company. I forgot to make sure not to get "cling peaches" at the market, so of course these Crimson Ladies were completely stuck to the pits. So my peach slices were more like "chunks": uneven and thick. But who cares what the fruit inside the pie looks like? Prepping the filling was the easy part!

For the crust, I used the "Foolproof Pie Dough" from the America's Test Kitchen. I chose this recipe more for moral support than anything. The title seemed reassuring (although note that it was not called "Inderproof Pie Dough"). At this point in my training, most pie dough recipes seem equally hard to me.

Rebecca swooped in with sound advice, pep talks, crust-protecters, and star-shaped dough cutters. I only cried once, which is a record for me. (And then I went right back for another go. Joe would be proud.)

It turned out ... pretty good, really! A decent beginner effort, I think.

I prefer the term "rustic" to "hot mess," thank you!

(Also, it tasted really, really good. The crust was a bit thick, but flaky! I think there are more pies in my future!)

We had a very nice time at Jason's barbecue. Joe enjoyed climbing up the tall, rickety, scary Victorian stairs at the base of the porch, and then climbing back down, over, and over, and over again.

 Our friend Maeve tried watermelon. She's not so sure about it.

 Joe's hat, on the other hand ...

After Omie's recent escapade, I have been rethinking our idea of getting chickens. Obviously, I get a bit too emotionally attached to my animals! Would I be able to hack it if a chicken got eaten by local wildlife? But, here's Joe, trying to convince me that getting chickens is a good idea after all ...

Big day. Time for a nap.


  1. Your pie looks beautiful! I'm so proud of you. Also, the nap photo is gorgeous. LOVE.

  2. Your pie was DELICIOUS. And I know from pie. Stop being so dang modest.


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