Pie. It all started with one simple word.
Yesterday, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, an old friend (and I don't mean she IS old, just that I have known her since before I was even really ME) posted on Facebook that she was grateful for: pie. And I was hungry and my head reeled and my mouth watered. The day before, at about the same time (the I've-cooked-two-kids-breakfast-and-packed-their-lunches-and-dropped-them-at-school-but-haven't-eaten hour) a blogger I read had mentioned popovers AND posted a picture, which prompted me to run to the kitchen and whip up a batch. They were good. I ate them with Stilton and gouda and apricot jam. But THIS was pie. It was two days before Thanksgiving so on everybody's mind (and lips) were apple and pumpkin. But the image lodged in my brain and taste buds was CHERRY. Oh, those Rainer cherries I had put up in light honey syrup this summer called to me and said, "THIS is why you put us in these jars." And I resolved to bake a cherry pie, darlin' (or is it charming?) Billy.
I researched some recipes online quickly and consulted The Joy of Cooking. It seemed that I needed tapioca to thicken the cherry syrup, in a nice clear, unassuming way. Tapioca. Not something regularly stocked in my kitchen. So, I needed to hit the grocery. But life gets in the way. I got the tapioca yesterday afternoon, when I took the girls for their Halloween treat from Gran and Poppy (who live 3000 miles away and sent $$) -- they got frozen yogurt. But then it was time to cook dinner, eat, clean up, bath, bedtime. No cherry pie.
Today was a new day and I was determined. Yesterday I had considered buying a crust and just filling it. But that seemed wrong. Those hand pitted cherries could not go in a store bought crust. I looked at the go-to recipe for crust for so many people -- Ina Garton's recipe. But hers uses shortening. Uh, I just can't. Part of my "hang up" is straight up nutrition -- trans fats, GMO's, all that... bleh! But there is also this. I remember Crisco in my mother's pantry when I was a child. I remember her pulling it out to fry chicken or such things. I remember looking into that open container, at that gorgeous snowy white STUFF. And thinking, "OH MY that looks yummy. I want to taste it!" And tasting it. And finding out that it somewhere between doesn't-taste-at-all and makes-me-want-to-retch.
And, total pie aside, brief off topic! Today for the kindergarten party in Gregorie's class, I made popcorn. I, as I always do, popped it in coconut oil. And every time I open the container of coconut oil I look in, at the gorgeous snowy white stuff. And I stick my nose in. And I inhale. And I usually taste. And I always think, "THIS is what I expected back then. THIS dreamy goodness!"
But anyway, I decided that an all butter crust was the thing for me. So, I went with Smitten Kitchen's all butter recipe. And I started at 4 pm and clearly hadn't thought about "chill it for an hour or two" part. So, I waited. And dreamed of store bought crusts. And thought about the fact that I don't actually own a pie pan. Hmmmm..... All this was a bit much, so I drank some homebrewed IPA and thought that tomorrow would be a good day to make a cherry pie...
[to be continued...]