Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Emotional Validation Through Pie

He Never Called Back Pie

I've never participated in Pi Day festivities before, but it was social pressure to cook something delicious so of course my pride made me participate. Unfortunately, my pride forgot to go shopping on Saturday so there we were, Sunday afternoon, staring at a frozen pâte brisée with looks of consternation on our faces.

"I have all of the ingredients we would need for a pecan pie except for the pecans," I told Hui Lian.

"Well, we'll just add something else," she suggested.

"What are our assets?"

"I have oatmeal and apples."


I fished out my famous family pecan pie recipe and got to work.

This is the point in the narrative where the protagonist's fatal flaw leads to a train of events that will eventually end in catastrophe. What is my fatal flaw? We talked about this already - pride. Pride is my weakness. And your faith in your friends is yours!

So, right at the point in the pie where I was supposed to add a cup of corn syrup, I got all prideful and decided "High fructose corn syrup is the devil. Natural things that come from the earth are wonderful. Therefore, I shall replace half of this corn syrup with something benevolent. Like molasses."

Let's just cut to the chase and deliver the moral of the story: never add a half cup of molasses to a pie.

It was pretty, though! Also, there were enough people at the party that none of them knew who brought the nasty apple pie. Mwa ha ha ha ha!

The success in this story, however, lies, in the veracity which we unwittingly bestowed on the pie's title. We had given the pie a title, see, in honor of Hui Lian's recent life events. (I have plenty of anecdotes my own as well, of course, to lend credence to the phenomenon.) We had named it "He Never Called Back Pie." And oh, how satisfying! You cut yourself a beautiful, appetizing piece of "He Never Called Back Pie," with its lovely, fluted flaky crust and you settle down to eat it when you realize - "Bitter. Dark. It's bitter and dark. It got my hopes up and then it didn't follow through." And then you cry into your pillow.

You know who you are.

Keep Talkin' That Mess, That's Fine, But Could You Walk and Talk at the Same Time Pie

I repented for He Never Called Back Pie, and so it was with full confidence a week later that I tackled a simple tarte au chocolat in the French tradition. And I am happy to inform you that this story will have a much happier ending than the last one.

The recipe I found called for a pre-baked crust (bake it for 15 minutes with dry beans in the bottom to keep it from bubbling. And to lend a pleasant Chinese Checkers look to the bottom of your crust. And then take out the beans and bake it for five minutes more and take it out.), a cup and a quarter of heavy whipping cream, two eggs, some vanilla, and eight ounces of dark chocolate.

I only had half of a Newman's Own organic chocolate bar because I accidentally ate the rest, and it was nowhere near eight ounces, so I made up for it with a lot of cocoa and a little bit of brown sugar and it came out just fine.

Heat the cream until it begins to bubble, and mix in the chocolate/cocoa/brown sugar and vanilla. In a separate bowl whip the eggs, and add just a little of the hot cream to temper them. Then whisk it all together, pour it in the crust, and bake it at 350 for 18 minutes or a few more until it's solid in the middle.

And it's really dang beautiful, and everyone eats it and there is a general feeling of love all around. Because those scoundrels who treated you bad? You kicked them to the curb.

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