Vegan cook extraordinaire Emilie deemed on her blog that Friday was Pie Day. This stems from a great story about how her tiny college town's hardware store proclaimed the same: Friday is Pie Day. And though I'm probably butchering her story, I love imaging golden and ballooning homemade pies amidst the hammers and wrenches and two by fours.
I've wanted to perfect vegan fruit pie for a long time. I've made a handful of attempts that produced a weak result. The crust was chewy, inside runny. I'm not saying I didn't eat the whole thing still. That's how much I love pie. But I didn't understand how something so conceptually simple was eluding me entirely. My ultimate dream is to eat fresh pie for breakfast. Is that too much to ask?
To destress, I crawl into bed after the house is calm and asleep and watch the Food Network. Nothing's vegan on the channel, but I like to feel as though I'm absorbing technique and strategies for cooking well. I also ignorantly believe anything can be veganized since I'm always after the sabor, the flavor, of food no matter what the TV chefs are using as the base of the dish. I have a secret crush on Bobby Flay and I was watching one of his smackdown shows where he throws down the gauntlet to an unsuspecting civilian who has perfect one aspect of cooking. The show is sometimes embarrassing and painful to watch; however, I often find myself making mental notes, and more often scribbled ones. Last week’s show was a Pie Throwdown, and I figured if this was going to be a battle between two great pie makers, I was gonna take notes and ride their coat tails to fresh, perfect pie.
I suppose pie making is like anything; the secret is in the details. That's what I learned from the pie show. Bobby Flay and the Pie Experts skimmed over quickly the points that would make the difference between flakey, perfect crust and chewy, nasty crust, but I knew enough to pick up on the subtle pointers. Things like: When not to handle the crust too much and Roll the dough with a flick of your wrist, don't put your back into it. Later, I went online and pulled the ingredients for Bobby Flay's pie. I was just after his crust because I had another plan for the filling. I did note that he had used a couple tablespoons of peach eau de vie in his filling, which after looking up I learned was a fruit brandy. He said it helped do "something" to the fruit. I didn't catch what. I knew it was probably a good enough suggestion to try it though. I didn't want to buy peach eau de vie, so instead I used a grappa that Ma had brought me from her trip to Italy. The grappa had been decorating my counter for that last month in the tiniest, sweetest bottle plugged with a wooden cork.
My end result was a Black Raspberry & Strawberry Pie. I gotta say it was out of this world. The crust was amazing. It has an embarrassing amount of earth balance and vegetable shortening in it. Sigh. None the less, I am over the moon that autumn is dawning a new season of pie making for me.
Here's what I had for breakfast:
22 hours ago