Monday, November 16, 2009

1, 2, 3 - First Pie's the Charm

I've always been a baker, ever since I was in grade school. I'm a master at cookies (peanut butter especially), cakes, muffins, brownies, etc. However, I've always been stumped by one bakery item...pies. It's the crust. And since pies aren't my favorite dessert, I've never made a huge effort to learn how to make a good pie crust. The most effort I ever made was those Jell-O pies with either graham cracker or Oreo crusts. Soooo, yea that doesn't count. The little old lady, Ruby, that lives across the street from me has baked me a pie once before and she was very good at it. Little old ladies always seem to be good at pie crusts, why is that? But anywho, I've never felt quite right about walking across the street and saying, "Hey, can you teach me how to make this wonderful, flaky concoction you filled with yummy coconut-y goodness three years ago?" Something about how we've been neighbors for five plus years and only spoken six or so times makes me feel this way. Even though she is adorable and sweet, I still don't feel comfortable asking such questions.

Being that I don't feel comfortable asking my neighbor, one would probably say, "Crystal, why don't you just ask your mom or other female relative that bakes?" Well, my mom isn't a pie baker either and I don't really know of many other "bakers" in the family that are really into pies. I really do think it's a lost art.

Fast forward through all this uncertainess about pies until about late last year. My boyfriend, David, loves pies. And Donna, his mom, is a master pie baker. In fact, she's pretty much awesome in every arena of the kitchen. Well, she has confided in me that she can't seem to bake a good chocolate cake without incorporating a box mix. Go figure, she can make pies and I can make cakes, but not the other way around. Slightly ironic? I think so. Well, since we've been dating David has been requesting pie after pie after pie. But, this is the kind of thing you have to test and retest and retest, until you get it right. How does one do this without it being compared, critiqued, etc.? So, I had a conversation with Donna about a month ago regarding pie crusts. Being the wonderful woman she is, she proceeded to tell me her secrets to a great pie crust. Mind you, she didn't give me her recipe (probably because it's mostly in her head), but she did give me a couple of really good tips. So. That being said, last Friday I tested my first post-advice pie on my stepdad's birthday celebration. Below is the result which, by the way, was quite scrumptious. Let's just say the pie barely made it through a 24 hour period and only four people ate off of it.

I decided to attempt this pie because 1) Bob (my stepdad) loves all pies, 2) David loves coconut-flavored pies and 3) I have been intrigued by this recipe since a bake sale in my office. This pie was described to taste like a white sugar version of the filling in a pecan pie. I thought the taste description was pretty accurate, but my mom doesn't think so. You should try it yourself and make your own determination. Either way, it was quite tasty!


1 1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. butter
1 tbsp. flour
3 eggs
1/2 c. buttermilk (I used whipping cream)
1 tsp. vanilla
8 oz. coconut
1/16 tsp. salt
i deep dish pie shell

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, flour and salt; mix. Add buttermilk, vanilla and coconut. Mix all together. Pour into unbaked pie shell. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Going in to the oven:


***Keep your eyes peeled for another pie recipe this week. I baked a scrumptious Christmas-themed pie last night that turned out as a great tester for the holiday season!

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