Pies & Nostalgia

November 9, 2010

This week in Desserts we continued to dive further into the world of pie baking with “Blind Baking”. A technique of utmost importance for many cold-filling pies which need to be added separately, before baking, “Blind Baking” was a valuable skill to have learned. When our instructor walked out of the pantry with a huge bag of pinto beans in one hand and scissors in the other, we all believed her when she said we were making bean pie. Some of us even muttered “Well it can’t be too bad.” or “That might even be good, with enough sugar…”

beans for weight!

Turns out we’d been duped, the beans were to be used for weight, to keep the center of the pie from swelling and ballooning out of the pie dish in the intense heat of the oven. They would be safely separated from our beloved pie crust by a thin, durable sheet of parchment paper that had been carefully folded and teased into the edges of our carefully crafted pie crust.

As we left for our next class after carefully popping our bean-filled pie crust into the oven, without a blindfold I may add, I couldn’t help but think of some of my first forays into the incredible world of baking. The careful laying of buttery crust, pleasant scent of flour and fat cooking in the oven, and the crunch of perfectly baked, melt-in-your-mouth crust, brought back many of my childhood memories. From my grandparents house in Georgia to the kitchen of my own house, I enjoyed the miracles that the kitchen had to offer.

Little Blender

As my mother sorted though various forgotten photo albums that had been buried deep in a closet, I recognized and enjoyed many of the photos she found. This one, above, was particularly reminiscent of the past few weeks in our baking elective. I am photographed, laying the finishing touches on some truly homemade apple pies. I had, with my aunts aid, carefully mixed the dough, eventually arranging it in each of the small pie dishes. I next filled them with what I am certain was my own take on my grandmother’s apple pie filling, but probably with a lot more sugar.. .With leftover dough I moulded tops for the pies and place them in the oven. I only wish I had a photograph of the finished product, glistening with the yellow glow of butter and steaming from holes in the top of the crust.

It's all in how you hold your tongue...

Now I can’t wait for dessert class this week, as we will be finally filling our blind baked crust with, hopefully, chocolate mousse. Depending on how much time we have left in our course we may work on other more difficult pies and tarts, which will be sure to bring back many memories from my childhood which were carefully crafted in a kitchen and will forever rest in my mind.

Always remember to pre-wash your utensils!

-the Blender



2 Responses to “Pies & Nostalgia”

  1. One of my favorite posts yet! Love the photo of Little Blender šŸ™‚

  2. ADORABLE photos! -seltzer sayre

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