Despite our relocation to Palo Alto, a crazy heat wave, and my trip to San Diego, I’ve managed a few pie making endeavors these first weeks of September. Two pies down, fifty to go. Here’s my first update on a year of pies.
Week One – Caramelized Onion and Blue Cheese Galette
After being totally preoccupied with the move, I finally manged to whip up a pie before the first seven days of September were gone. This Caramelized Onion and Blue Cheese Galette is from the Summer section of the book, but it seemed most appropriate since we were enduring a heat wave. Do you really see yourself being in the mood for sweet potato pie when it’s ninety something degrees outside? I certainly wasn’t. Moreover, we were a few weeks out from the autumnal equinox yet. Autumn pies can wait for shorter, cooler days.
- Date: September 7, 2015
- Likelihood of repeat: Definite. I already have two occasions in mind.
- Pluses: We opted for feta instead of blue cheese, which English suggests as a variation. English’s pie crust recipe and methods (e.g. the double chill, one yolk plus one tablespoon milk for wash) were refreshing and yielded incredibly delicious, flakey crust.
- Deltas: More time in the oven (I couldn’t stand the hot kitchen any longer, but the bottom of the crust could have been firmer). Mind the onions their last few minutes browning (a few of ours got slightly burnt).
- Lessons learned: Galettes are beautiful and much easier than I expected. The new oven gets the stove top extremely warm – proceed with caution.
Side Dish – Ripe Peach Hand Pies with Erica
My new friend Erica kindly texted earlier this week with an invitation to make pie and/or crafts at her place. We also happened to both rent the same movie the evening prior, so we added The Age of Adeline to the agenda. Erica had ripe peaches and lots of butter handy, so we decided on peach hand pies with an all butter crust. She whipped up the crust in her Cuisinart while I held her son (he’s almost six months and absolutely charming). Then we peeled peaches during the baby’s nap. Erica added cornstarch, cinnamon, and sugar to the peach slices as she saw fit. Guided by a quick review of Chef John’s method for assembly, we each made four generous hand pies.
It was wonderful to get out of my rut. I was so set on making one of Ashley English’s pies before the 14th, but I wasn’t inspired. Having Erica take the lead on crust and filling based on what was ripe and on hand was just what I needed to get excited about seasonal pies again.
Week Two – Roasted Corn and Pepper Pie
Eager to take on an official pie and inspired by another new friend Lydia, I got ingredients for the Roasted Corn and Pepper Pie. How does Lydia fit in? She loves corn. She spent at least ten minutes expounding upon her love of corn the first time we met. This pie is also from the Summer section and was also a bit behind schedule. At first I questioned, “It’s corn, peppers, and eggs? Why isn’t called a quiche?” My friend, this is no quiche. The crust is filled so completely by the vegetables that I was surprised the eggs found somewhere to go.
- Date: September 17, 2015
- Likelihood of repeat: Likely. This pie was much more tasty than I anticipated. If Mark were to handle the roasting/grilling then I’d be up for it. Might be my go-to for vegetarian guests.
- Pluses: Google Now is my friend. If I left my half and half out overnight is it still ok? Yes. If I accidentally froze my half and half is it ok? Yes. How do I seed and cut a pepper? Like this. How do I cut corn off the cob? Like this.
- Deltas: I need to step up my decorative crust game (I’m not bad, but I want to master it).
- Lessons learned: The cool-before-serving-time always gets me. Twice now poor Mark has waited long past nine for supper because I get the savory pie out and it has to sit for another half an hour. Also, be kind to yourself even if you feel behind schedule.
Overall, I love how the this year of pies is getting me out of my comfort zone. Not that I’ve done anything particularly advanced or out of character yet. It’s really more to do with the food itself. I’d never made a galette, purchased or seeded peppers, or cut corn into a bundt pan before. I never would have if it weren’t for this adventure.
Thank you to my new friends, Erica and Lydia. It has been delightful to spend time with you each during this exciting season. I’m grateful for your inspiration and support.