Pie Making Disasters — Or were they?

For Thanksgiving this year, I was in charge of pies. This year, the pumpkins did very well, so after Halloween, I set aside two likely pumpkins from our harvest and made pumpkin pie from scratch. Years ago, before I owned a blender and before there was such a thing as a food processor, I made pumpkin pie from scratch. I had to use a wire strainer for the pumpkin and about six hours later, I swore that the best pie in the world did not justify that kind of labor. Fast forward many years. Cooked the pumpkin about 1.5 hours. Worked on The Next Historical while it cooked. Scraped off the pulp, pureed it in the FP: 20 min tops. Made the pie filling, including an unauthorized addition of molasses because I was feeling frisky. Whoo hoo!

Oops. No lard for the pie crust. I made another unauthorized substitution of butter for lard. Tip: Do not do this. The pies smelled great, but the crust looked gross and disgusting. I did not have high hopes for my pies. Sob.

My sister and son were making diet Key Lime pie, for which, I proudly said, I had bought all the ingredients for them, wasn’t I great?!

Oops. I neglected to buy a lime. But hey! No problem! We have a lime tree out back. The son gets sent outside with a flashlight and a description of a lime. He comes back with nothing. The sole lime on the tree was not lime-like in appearance. We agreed it probably wasn’t ripe. Or possibly it was dead or something. Son gets sent out with the flashlight and instructions to get a lemon. This he does.

Also, no one put diet whipped topping on the list so I didn’t buy that. NOT my fault.

But still, oops. So we decide to substitute some non-diet frozen whipped topping.

On two separate shopping trips, I’d bought gelatin and lime green sugar-free jell-o. One of them was for the pie. My sister grabbed, reasonably, the gelatin. I wasn’t in charge of the Key Lime Pie so I didn’t think about it at all. The box contains 8 total oz of gelatin in 32 packets. The recipe calls for 1/16th of an ounce of gelatin.

Argh!! Arithmetic required. Hilarity ensures until the calculations are made. At least one person ended up with a headache. Now, I am making pumpkin pie and dealing with my pie crust disaster and while I noted that my sister had a recipe in her hand and that my son had his iPhone in his hand with a recipe, I did not think of the implications.

At the end of the key lime pie stuff, there were ingredients that didn’t make it into the Key Lime Pie. Typically with recipes there aren’t leftovers so early in the process. Turns out my sister and son had two different recipes.

Oops. We shrug and put a very very pale looking pie in the fridge because, hey, maybe it won’t taste like poison. The pumpkin pies are cooking but the crust is turning dark at a rate the does not bode well given the amount of time the pies are supposed to cook.

On to the Mud Pie, for which yours truly had also bought all the ingredients. Mom totally rocks! Son crushes the Oreos until he gets sent to fetch the required vanilla pudding. Only for some reason, the box says Banana Cream Pie pudding. Soccer Boy was not willing to make the obvious substitution. (Lemon in the Key Lime Pie, sure! Banana Cream Pie pudding in the Mud Pie — Nooo!)

Oops. Sister drives son to grocery store and they very nearly purchase Banana Cream Pie pudding again because of how close it is to the vanilla. (See? That could have happened to anybody!) But they did get vanilla. I was then still stressing over my blackening pie crusts and didn’t think to tell my sister that the mixer never gets all the stuff in the bottom of the bowl. So when they’re ready to pour the layer of vanilla pudding over the layer of crushed Oreos we all think it’s kind of odd that the pudding is so very unlike actual pudding, which is, you know, thick and pudding like. Alternating layers of crushed Oreos and pudding wasn’t happening. It was more like a melange of ingredients. But we pretended.

Then we got to the bottom of the mixing bowl and it was lumpy and not mixed at all. About then I remembered the thing about the mixer not mixing too well.

Oops. So we just pour the rest of the stuff into the bowl of "Mud Pie" and put it in the fridge to hope for the best.

My pie crusts are freaking black. Like charcoal. I went to bed depressed about pie disasters.

The following morning, which is Thanksgiving, I pack everything up and my son and I drive to my brother’s house. The Mud Pie, which we thought had solidified overnight leaked all over my car. This, I say to my son, is Sludge Pie, and we’re not going to be able to fake our way out of this like we can with the pumpkin pies and the Key Lemon/Lime Pie. So we admit the problem and put the Sludge pie in the freezer in the hopes that anything with Oreos as a main ingredient can’t be all bad.

We have a very nice meal and a brief break and then the pies come out. Uh oh. I dash into the kitchen and successfully cut away all the black pie crust before anyone can think the better of requesting pumpkin pie.

I was kind, though, and taste tested it first in case I needed to prevent hospital visits later by throwing away the pies. And guess what?

The pumpkin pie was freaking awesome. Even the un-burned crust was at least decent.

I also taste-tested the Key Lemon/Lime pie, and guess what?

It was pretty good.

Then we brought out the Sludge pie. Warnings were duly made. But the kids were all hot to try Sludge Pie. It wasn’t exactly frozen, but it was really really thick. And guess what?

The Sludge Pie was gone, entirely consumed in a very short time. It was actually kind of tasty, particularly if you like sugar.

Now, I don’t necessarily recommend winging it like we did, especially with pie crusts which as everyone knows proves one’s cooking chops and later confers the ability to smile smugly while people ask how on earth you did that like you’re a cooking goddess or something. But we did and we came out OK.

Try at your own risk.


Tags: ,

Comments are closed.