Today I drove from Charlottesville to Doswell to drop off my pie for the State Fair. I was checked in by a nice woman who said that my pie looked delicious, and I was flattered by the compliment. But sitting at home on my porch this evening there’s a part of me that has regrets. The piece that gnaws on me thinks things like the pie was a hot mess, or that it will be the kind of pie that elicits a sad sigh from the judges before they look at each other and say “What’s the point?”
In reality: Maybe this happens. Maybe it doesn’t. In my life at least, it will only ever be just another movie that played in my head at a time of vulnerability. The truth is that I don’t feel great about the pie because I’m thinking about what I thought went wrong, and thinking isn’t doing. If I’m not careful that thinking just hangs on as a doubt that will chew me down to the bone unless it’s either shaken off or confronted.
The purpose of this blog is to help with both, with a tilt toward confronting the doubts. I love food, and most of all I love feeding people… this blog is about sharing what I love about both while tracking my progress and holding myself accountable to improving my cooking instead of just feeling bad about it when it doesn’t work out.
For today, I’m going to address my issues with the pie I turned in.
What do I wish had been different, and how would I fix it?
The pie I turned in didn’t have the right wash for how I want that pie to look. I used egg yolk and olive oil, which helps with the browning but has none of the shine I’m looking for.
The fix is to make the pie shiny and golden brown. To the best of my knowledge, that means using 1 whole egg and 2 dashes of salt.
The Broken Crust
The top crust was cracked, mostly due to stretching/jimmying I did to pull the pie free from the aluminum foil I’d laid in the pan while baking. Burnt sugar made it stick, but it was also a very tight crust because I cut it with less overhang to reduce the droop issue from my last bake. While it was 3/4 intact (and it wasn’t a gaping hole – it was just an easy-to-
noticeseparation from the crimp to the top crust.
The fix is to use more dough for the top crust to give it a little more slack; I might benefit from weighing the top crush before I apply it to know the ideal size. For the burnt sugar issue, I can just use parchment paper or silicone sheets instead of the aluminum foil to avoid sticking.
My pie description was “caramel apple pie in a flaky butter crust”. That is not what I made, or what I remembered entering on the entry form. I made my Apple Pie.
The fix is to pay attention to what I enter. I hope I’m not DQ’d 😦