Monday, October 8, 2007

Braces & A Birthday

I welcomed 34 with a determination to conquer my nemesis, pie dough! How fortuitous Cook's Illustrated came out with a new Foolproof Pie Dough recipe -- the stars were starting to align. This pie dough has vodka in it to help reduce the amount of gluten formed during preparation.

It has been a hit! I can now make, roll and place pie dough properly in the pie plate. The keys to success are my dough mat (it helps me roll a large enough circle) and parchment. I'll probably buy a French rolling pin next week because it's supposed to be easier to use than the ball bearing kind.

I got to use my birthday treat, decorative pie crust cutters from Williams-Sonoma. They are so cute. I wanted a custard pie with complex flavoring. If you can make lavender crème brulée, why does egg custard pie have to be boring? My favorite teas are Earl Grey and Honeybush Caramel. I toyed with making a tea flavored custard. I love coconut and caramel. I had decided on that until I found I was out of coconut milk and coconut extract. I did find some pecan flavoring. Pecan and caramel ... things were getting interesting. Could I make pecan flavored custard and use caramel sauce to make pretty designs in the custard before it baked? My challenge was set! I wimped out on the caramel sauce. I chose caramel syrup instead.

The pie crust rolled out perfectly! My fluting was beautiful! It all went away during the blind baking, but hey! This is the furthest I've ever gotten. Could it be my pie weights? I used the whole jar when I guess it was supposed to be half. Oh well. At least I got the first part right. The shrinkage was disappointing, but I guess it's to be expected. My filling is beautiful, the crust is a little dark for my tastes, but I'm closer to my goal. If I make one pie a week, I ought to be perfect by Thanksgiving.

I got braces for my birthday. I'm happy because my teeth have stopped aching. My mouth is still to sore to chew properly, but I've discovered the joy of homemade soup and sauteed crab. I've made tomato basil, butternut squash and carrot soup in the last six days. I purchased the can crab a week before my braces. It's a good thing I did. I heat a mix of olive oil and butter with fresh garlic and Old Bay. I throw in the crab and heat until warmed through. Delicious!

Tools of the trade:

1 comment:

gina said...

I was hoping to try this vodka pie crust this weekend, but have run out of time. I look forward to hearing how your future crusts turn out.