Well, it had to happen eventually. For the first time ever, in the history of my pie baking experience, I had a complete, utter, total, truly spectacular pie failure. Well, they say a picture says a thousand words:
Frankly, I’m at a loss for words. Obviously, I pulled it out well before it was “done”. But it’s clear the crust simply melted in the oven… honestly, I’ve never seen anything like it.
Now I’m trying to figure out what I did wrong, and while it’s very possible I just measured the fat wrong, I’m actually wondering if it was how I decided to use the food processor this time ‘round. In the past, I’ve just used it to cut the fat into the dough, and it’s worked quite well for that purpose. But this time, I decided to add the water to the dough and bring it together in the processor, as well. As a result, my only guess is that the result was the fat getting over-processed into the dough
But the real killer is I spent, literally, two or three hours last night preparing dough, and then another hour and a half peeling and slicing apples today, and that doesn’t count all the rolling effort and so forth. Am I choked? Yeah… just a little. And I’ll be damned if I’m gonna bake another pie any time soon…
So, a few weeks back, I yanked half of the carrots from the garden out back and tried out a pickled carrot recipe. They turned out pretty decent (a bit on the sweet side, but tasty, certainly), and today I found myself looking at the last half of my crop, wondering, what on earth am I gonna do with all these damn carrots? I knew I had to pull ‘em, as any longer, and they’d most likely rot, or turn woody and inedible, and so I yanked the lot, cleaned ‘em, and then pondered. What to do. What to do… and then, it came to me:
That’s right, I made a freakin’ carrot cake! With from-scratch cream cheese icing, no less! Of course, I haven’t tasted the complete concoction, so I can’t guarantee it’s deliciousness, though I did nibble on the bottom layer a bit (which did not exit the baking pan gracefully), and it was certainly tasty. Yeah, I know, it’s strange and ugly looking. But, hey, so am I, so it seems rather apropos.
Well, I didn’t get much writing done over the weekend (big surprise, there), but I did do a fair bit of cooking yesterday, oddly enough. As of late, Lenore and I have been, shall we say… incredibly lazy. Consequently, little food has been cooked in our domicile, but I made up for that, yesterday, with a fit of cookery which involved the creation of:
- A loaf of rather dense bread.
- Ridiculously delicious scalloped potatos.
- Home-made pumpkin pie (well, I used canned pumpkin, but still…)
- Very sore arms, as a result of all the kneeding, rolling, and so forth.
Anyway, the bread was inspired by my stumbling across The Fresh Loaf, which is a fantastic website on breadmaking. It has lessons, recipes, a forum… tons of information. Definitely worth a look if you’re into baking, at all. As for my bread, I think I screwed up a few things:
- Overworked the dough.
- Didn’t score the dough before the final rise.
- Didn’t wait long enough for the final rise to complete.
However, I did use a poolish, which resulted in some really nice flavour development. Hopefully future bread experiments will produce better results.
As for the potatos and pie, I signed up for a trial membership to Cooking Illustrated, which is a really fantastic cooking magazine and website that is affiliated with America’s Test Kitchen. Their approach is to choose interesting food items and then experiment with different recipes and techniques, documenting as they go, and scoring the various things they try out. The result is excellent recipes while imparting some wonderful information about the science behind cooking (as they tend to investigate why certain techniques work while others don’t).
Incidentally, the pie and potatos were both assisted by my finally relenting and buying a nice, 11-cup food processor, which means I didn’t have to manually slice potatos or cut butter into my pie dough. ‘course, now I have to justify it’s rather exhorbitant price by actually using the damn thing…
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