First Crack Pie - saturday 2011-02-12 0320 last modified 2011-02-12 1452
Categories: Daily Grind, Food
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I've been clumsy lately. I knocked a handsoap dispenser off a ledge. I caught it before it fell. I knocked a fork off a table. I caught that, too, gaining a handful of sauerkraut and an increasing respect for my own reflexes, perhaps not my coordination. There were others. Spatulas, cell phones. All clumsy moves followed by sweet catches.

Which is why I get some grace for yesterday's clumsiness. All my practice was oriented to countering gravity, but nothing I broke was broken in falling.

I got a stand mixer! It's baking efficiency in a neat, thirty pound package. I was making dough. I left a spatula in it when I turned it back on, not twenty seconds after thinking how terrible an idea it would be to stick a finger in a running stand mixer, not five seconds after thinking I should pull out the spatula after putting on the shield. Obviously I didn't. It snapped in half immediately. I was worried about insipid splinters burrowed in the dough, but the stand mixer is pretty speedy at splitting wood. Fast breaks are clean breaks. Right? It turns out I didn't need to worry about splinters at all. Shattered pieces of jagged glass make for pretty convincing reasons on their own.

Pyrex and I don't get along. Pyrex is supposed to be strong, but I've shattered two of them in the past two months. I was making crack pie (look it up, it doesn't involve actual heroin). It took no time to make the crust - thanks, stand mixer - but I got into an existential crisis trying to decide how to compensate for the absence of dried milk powder in my pantry. Substituting is a time-honored baker's tradition. No buttermilk? Try milk and vinegar. No baking powder? Try baking soda. No heavy whipping cream? Good for you, you need to lose a few pounds. But not even vegans could provide a way to substitute out of my dilemma. In hindsight, it should have been oh-so-predictable: dried soy milk powder, dried rice milk powder, other sad imitations - you get the picture. Vegans.

I ended up trying out half corn starch, half sugar. Sugars and binding agents are like dried milk, right? Really, what chemical purpose does it serve? Nobody seems to know, the substitutions I found were all about using milk instead. Thanks, but this recipe doesn't call for reconstituted milk. Otherwise the ingredient would have been milk. So I formed up my possibly splintered pie crust and poured in the filling and let it go. All seemed well. It looked and smelled good. Now I just needed to walk it from home to its party destination. I found a bag with a supportive bottom, loaded up the pie, still in its Pyrex baking container, and went on my merry.

I'm a decent walker. Sometimes I have to dodge branches at the last second, but as established earlier, my reflexes are pleasantly surprising. I can avoid serious bodily harm, though my dignity takes a hit. Watch someone walk in a straight line then suddenly close their eyes and crumple to the left leaning backwards before resuming as if nothing happened.

I'm apparently significantly less aware of the obstacles that may affect what I'm carrying. So, three blocks from my destination, I ran the bag into a light pole. It rebounded into my leg, which happened to be moving in such a way that it sure felt like I kicked it right back into the light pole, again. Which probably didn't help since the shattering sound came out of the first pole strike. Keep in mind, I'm not exactly swinging this thing around with abandon. It's listlessly at my side. I shattered that Pyrex by walking it into a solid object.

Happy house warming. Here's a buttery, sugary, warm pie possibly laced with wooden splinters and sprinkled with powdered sugar and glass shards. Much like narcotics, it may be a tempting, sensory delight, but it will leave you with little stabbing wounds and totally screw you up inside. I might just call this one an interpretive success and move on to less dangerously themed recipes.

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