“You’re taking something that’s perfect and trying to make it more perfect” said my friend Kelly. I was trying to convince her that the mini pies she took home a couple of weeks ago were some of my worst – a chocolate pudding pie experiment gone wrong.
And she got me thinking – is there such thing as perfect pie? Pie elicits such an emotional response in people. It takes them back to memories of a slice of time when the world was right. The feelings captured in that memory infuse the taste of the pie they remember, making it nothing short of perfect. For me, it’s sitting at my Grandmother’s kitchen table eating strawberry rhubarb pie. In my memory, the pie was amazing and something I would never be able to replicate. Then I made it and you know what – the crust was awful. It was a strange recipe that made a soft, cake like crust that was bland and tasteless. And there were no actual strawberries! Just rhubarb with strawberry Jell-O. That was surely not the pie I so fondly remembered, was it? It was.
What made that pie perfect was our whole family crammed into my Grandparents’ tiny efficiency apartment. Nowhere to sit but the kitchen table where a spread of pie, kiflis (Key-Fleas), muffins and cookies helped you pass the time until Grandpa took you down the hall to play pool or outside to play shuffleboard. What made that pie perfect was my Grandmother who in her Hungarian tradition, fed us until we loaded back into our car for the two hour ride home, settling in against our pillows drenched in the smells of meat, potatoes and most importantly…pie.
I am aware that there is no such thing as perfect pie. But I’m going to make MY perfect pie and I still have some work to do. I went full steam ahead with a three-way dough experiment this week. Continue reading