Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Rolling in the Dough

Sometimes I feel like my life revolves around merely shuffling from one event to the next. I was rushing through the hallway today trying to get to my car fast enough to get to CosmoProf fast enough that I could get to the Monon Center fast enough to lift and run before going to a short class. I'm not going to lie, I kinda like routine, at least to a certain degree. I like knowing what I'm going to be doing in advance and planning accordingly and if that sounds boring then so be it. But, routine or no routine, life just isn't life without a little spontaneity. Thanks to not having a car for more than two months, my ability to be spontaneous has been sucked dry. Sucks.

What I do have to fall back on that breaks up the fast paced nature of life these days is the occasional blessing of some time to cook. I enjoy being in the kitchen, obviously, I think I've said that about a hundred dozen times, but I don't like cooking when I'm rushed. Being on a time crunch takes the love out of cooking and replaces it, at least for me, with overwhelming waves of stress. The other day I made some soup that I failed to take any pictures of and therefore neglected to blog about. But I had about a hundred other things to do that evening and had expected the stupid soup to take about half as long as it did so by midway through that the only reason I cared to finish was so I would have something to eat. Dad was out of town, which Mom declared to mean a cooking vacation for herself.

For this reason I try to avoid cooking or baking unless I know I'll have about twice as much time as I think I'll need to complete my endeavor. There are some foods you just can't rush, or it takes all the love out of it, and the love is what makes it worth while. One of my absolute favorite things to make is a baked good component you simply cannot hurry through. Pie crust!

What makes pie crust so unbelievably wonderful? It's so simple, yet at the same time so complex. The one that I made, that I highly recommend, is only flour, a little sugar, a little salt, and water. But it's so perfect! The recipe is so easy, too, but at the same time a little complicated. You have to be willing to take the time to make it perfect, which takes only about 15 minutes if you don't try and rush it, and you have to get the hang of a pastry blender which is only a minor detail... cutting butter can be a bit of guesswork if you don't know what you're doing, but I have faith in all of you.

Pie Crust

All pie crusts lead to something else, though. Serving just pie crust is a little odd. So mine lead to Dutch Apple Pie, or I guess Dutch Apple Pie is really what caused me to make pie crust, which I chose as a thank you gift for someone in particular and ended up making not once... not twice... but three times. For Taylor's dad, for my family, and for a neighbor. I'm not a huge fan of apple pie, so maybe that's why this didn't make my list of favorites. Personally, no chocolate, no peanut butter, no fun really, but I like to appease others more than myself and it's Lent so I decided to give this one a shot.

Dutch Apple Pie

Overall I'd say it was a success, everybody who had some seemed to enjoy it. I did run into a couple problems along the way though... First off, did you know pie crust can "shrink?" Me neither. Every time, never fail, the pie crust retreated into the pan at least a little bit, crushing my hopes of a gorgeously browned trim around the edges of my cinnamon crumble creations. Taylor and I did use one of the many pie crusts I kneaded out over the course of the past week to make a lemon meringue pie (unfortunately no photos were snapped) and I tried folding the dough OVER the edges of the pan and that helped a little... but only a little. I think the key, though, is the fresher the dough, the better it bakes. The recipe I used said it would keep in the fridge for up to a week, but I would try to make it the day of if at all possible.

1 comment:

  1. Well any time you want to try to perfect your pie crust shrinking problems you can call on me and I will help you eat your creations. I'm watching hells kitchen right now and I would say that you should go on it and win your own restaurant, but I don't think you would enjoy it seeing as you don't like to be rushed and that's pretty much all Ramsey does.