Why yes, you’ve assumed correctly. I, Kristine, have successfully baked my first pie from (semi-) scratch! Its been a long time in the making and it wasn’t as disastrous as I was expecting. That being said, there was a bit of improvisation and problem-solving, but man, did the pie turn out yummy. I have spoken to many people about baking and my pie experience and thought that any first-time-pie-bakers out there could benefit from my learning experience. Start preheating your oven, it’s time to bake a pie!
Let’s pause for a moment and marvel at its golden-ness.
Lesson #1: Do What Makes Sense.
I used this recipe from Robert Irvine and as I was reading it, something didn’t make sense to me: Why would I place the apples in the pie crust without soaking ’em in cinnamon, sugar and butter? Maybe to some, that’s the way to do it, but it seemed backwards to me. What I Did: I mixed the sugar, melted butter, cinnamon and apples together, then arranged them in the pie crust and then poured the remaining butter, sugar, and cinnamon over the top of the apples.
Similarly, if you’re baking a pie for the first time, please save yourself the headache and the mess and get yourself a store bought crust. It was the best decision I made regarding this entire process. I highly recommend the one I used – Meijer brand graham cracker crust!
(More on the blog: What I’ve Learned Working 8 to5 )
Lesson #2: You Will Make Mistakes – Adapt.
This recipe used a crumble-y crust for the top layer of the pie, which turned out super delicious and beautifully golden (story to come about that). I got so excited and skipped the final 1/3 of the recipe where it calls for the crumble topping to be put on the pie after it has already baked for 30 minutes. Luckily, I realized my mistake after the pie had only been in the oven for 5 minutes. I quickly came to find that trying to remove the crumble topping was (a) dumb (b) very hot and (c) impractical, so what did I do? I covered the whole thing in foil so that the apples inside the pie would cook, but the top wouldn’t burn.
Which brings me to my next story…
So after the pie had finished cooking and I removed the foil so the crumble topping could brown for the last 15 minutes, I took my delicious smelling pie out of the oven only to see that the top was still flour-white. My brilliant boyfriend saw my disappointment and suggested putting it in the broiler. After 5 minutes in the broiler, the top was beautifully golden brown and the inside was toasty warm.
(More on the blog: Recipe: Heart-Shaped Chocolate Cake with Strawberries )
Lesson #3: Make Things Easy on Yourself.
Use apples that are on sale at the store. Use a pre-made pie crust. Bake on a day where you have time to enjoy the process. Personally, I find cooking and baking very therapeutic, so I try to enjoy the process as much as possible. If I’m not enjoying the process, then I can usually attribute my unhappiness to feeling rushed or that it’s taking too long and I have somewhere else I need to be.
Understand what it is that you don’t enjoy about the cooking or baking process and find a way to either completely annihilate that feeling or find a happy middle ground. In my mind, when the end goal is filling my belly with tasty treats, I will do anything I can to savor the moment as long as possible.