Culinary Adventures with Maggie and Suzanne

Where cheesiness is next to godliness

Friday, July 30, 2010

Pie Weekend, Day 2

Pie Day 2 started with leftover quiche. It also started with opening a bottle of wine at 7:30 in the morning. Why on earth would we open up a bottle of wine at 7:30 in the morning, do you ask? Because Jen Lancaster mentioned it somewhere in her blog, and being both 1) Jen Lancaster fans and 2) lovers of wine, we thought this sounded like a stellar idea.

You know what's not a stellar idea? Drinking wine on an empty stomach when you have a whole day of pie-making ahead of you.

Our stomachs weren't empty for long - we finished off the quiche (an empty pie plate is a successful pie plate). It was even better warmed up than it was the night before because the swiss next to the crust got all melty and amazing.

The next thing we did was finish off the Berry Cheesecake Pie by adding the berry mixture to the top of the completely cooled cheesecake. The verdict:

1. Beautiful pie, both in the pan and on the plate, topped with Cool Whip.
2. Greasy crust, as we suspected that it would be. It may be easy, but that greasy a texture could only hold up to a very firm pie (like a cheesecake) or a custardy pie. It was a very sturdy crust, though, which is useful when the pie is this heavy.

3. As far as cheesecake goes, this was a mid-level difficulty with a top-level taste. A friend of mine used to spend thirteen hours making cheesecake, and it was delicious, but this was almost as good with only a two-hour (okay, and an overnight refrigeration) work/bake time.
4. Let's just look how pretty it is one more time. Go ahead. Bask in the pretty of this pie. Ignore the empty wine glass in the picture (maybe it made us loopy because we drank it so quickly?).

Having finished up the pie we started the night before, the next pie we made was French Silk Pie. Alas, in my sugar high and possible tipsy state, I neglected to take a picture of it. But it was pretty. It was easier to make than I anticipated. It was also much, much richer than any French Silk pie I have ever had. It was not my favorite, but when guests came over, I noticed that we didn't have any trouble getting rid of it.

The last pie of the morning was the Coconut Custard Pie. Of the custard/cream pies, coconut is my favorite, so this was the one I was anticipating the most on Day Two. And it did not disappoint. The piece you see in the picture was when it was still warm from the oven. Heaven. Even people who claim not to like coconut liked this pie. Because the recipe called for a pre-baked pie crust, I used it as an opportunity to try a different one, so I rolled out Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything and used his basic flaky pie crust recipe. I believe this is going to be my go-to crust. It was just right.

The only thing I would do differently with this pie is to use a slightly shorter time to pre-bake the crust. By the time the pie itself finished baking, it was a little brown for my taste.

At this point, we transferred all the pies that we had made to Maggie's house for a little change of scenery (and to give my oven a break), where we made the next two pies.
The first pie we made at Maggie's house was Momofuku's Crack Pie. Yes, it was chosen for its name. As you can see, it did not turn out pretty. In fact, it looked pretty weird all throughout the process, from the oatmeal cookie crust (which involves first baking a large oatmeal cookie and then pounding it into bits and buttering it back together to make a crust) to the batter before we poured it into the crust, all the way to the finished product. It tasted okay, though. In fact, it was Michelle's favorite of all the ones she tried. It was super sweet. It tasted like a cross between maple candy and a pecan-less pecan pie.

The next pie we made was a Cream Grape Pie. This was an intriguing concept to me, so I just couldn't resist. Again, I forgot to take a picture of it, and I'm so sad about that, because it was pretty. That was the best thing about it. It never set. We picked at it - turns out that cooked grapes have a similar texture to cooked cherries - but I was never able to get a piece of pie that looked like pie out of it. I may try just a plain cream pie recipe and add grapes to it at some point in the future to see how it would taste.

For dinner that night, we went back over to my house. We had a full guest list - several people were already in town for Max's funeral, so they just came over for pie afterward. Pie and alcohol, apparently. Funny how gatherings at my house seem to go that way.

Dinner was Deep Dish Pizza (what? It's a pie!). We made three of these - one with spinach, one with mushrooms, and one with roasted peppers. I ended up using Natalie's basic pizza crust (which I can't remember off the top of my head, but it was super simple - just mix and let it rise while you make the sauce). Once again, there are no pictures to prove it, but it was awesome. The only thing I would change about it is that I would pre-bake the crust, as it was a little doughy at the bottom for my taste.

Then people stayed over for what seemed like forever. Maybe I was just tired. It had been a full day.

Things I learned:

1. Wine at 7:30 in the morning? Not as great an idea as it sounds. Unless, of course, that is all you plan to do that day, and then by all means, godspeed.
2. Quiche makes for amazing leftovers.
3. Pre-cooking texture can tell you everything you need to know about post-cooking outcome.
4. Coconut is manna from Heaven. Who am I kidding? I already knew this.
5. It doesn't matter to most people how it looks as long as it tastes like sugar.
6. I'm a shit hostess when I'm in the middle of a task. Or task weekend, as it were. But even when I'm not a good hostess, the party is still good if there's food and drink.

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