Our daughter, Alyssa, says I cheat at pie-making. This is an utter falsehood! Well, ok, I cheat a little... We had a 'who made more mess' side by side comparison and since she lost, she called me a "Cheater." I ask you, is that fair? So what if I monkeyed with the results, a little. Does that really make me a cheater?
Today is two days after Thanksgiving and there is a bit of confusion in our house. We are eating Thanksgiving dinner tonight BUT our house is decorated for Christmas. (It is our family's tradition to decorate our home for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving.) Our younger daughter, Mia, got to participate in the Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade so when most Americans are cooking their turkeys, I was riding a bus at 5am along with all the other (three busloads) of half asleep family members of the band. I have to admit, we had a blast! As non-native Easterners, it was a really fun parade to attend. The police officers were friendly and helpful, the crowd was jovial and kind. A wonderful time was had by all! The balloons and bands and cheers were not something we will forget anytime soon. "SPIN IT!" (Attend the Philly parade if you want to find out more...)
We came home and instead of stuffing our tummies, we stuffed back into busses and then defrosted and passed out. Upon arriving home, instead of over-eating, we went to a movie on Thanksgiving Day for the first time in our lives . When we got home, I did a bit more meal preparation and readying for our feast today. You see, Mia was also was supposed to participate in a tree lighting ceremony the day after Thanksgiving where we live BUT instead, she spent the entire day asleep, nursing a headache and budding cold.
Yesterday afternoon, Alyssa and I made our pie crusts for the organic apple and pumpkin pies we will share with friends later this afternoon. Below, you can see me weaving the scalloped crust strips into a lattice pattern - after all, it is Thanksgiving and a little extra effort is required. I really enjoyed the process and feel gratified and proud of my pies. I even made little autumn leaf cutouts to place on top of the pumpkin pie. The most satisfying and enjoyable aspect of cooking with our daughter(s) and friends are the connections you make while doing so.
Cooking together is relaxing and fun. It's a time when Alyssa (who is home from college) and I reconnect and catch up on each other's lives. She tells me jokes, I teach her cooking tips, tricks and techniques. She gets irritated with me for teaching her cooking tips, tricks and techniques... Mostly, we laugh and lots of hugs and love are involved.
Cooking encompasses everything I hold dear; loving, nurturing, respecting, valuing and teaching those I love. Cooking allows me to share (and pass on) my knowledge and experience and to connect with anyone. I also learn something new every time I cook.
What tips, tricks and techniques did I share with Alyssa about pie making you ask? I think you're a bit nosey BUT here is what I have to offer (besides a virtual smile and hug.)
1. ALL ingredients for the pie crust should be the same temperature, COLD.
2. Some of the butter pieces should remain the size of peas when it is incorporated into the flour.
3. DO NOT add too much liquid. ALWAYS hold back a portion of the liquid your recipe calls for because too much liquid will make the crust tough. Give the flour a chance to hydrate before adding that bit of water you held back. The crust should be supple, not cracked and dry.
4. DO NOT EVER stretch a pie/pastry crust. FIT it into place and do not panic if it is too long, short or whatever. You can always patch it up and no one will know or most importantly, care.
5. No matter your level of cooking ability, pie crusts can be a challenge, so just have fun.
Avid home cook and passionate instructor