I have been making pies for Thanksgiving for years. When I used to host Thanksgiving I would make upwards of 10 pies that my guests could pick from not only for dinner, but to take home, or if they were staying for future meals over the weekend. Now that I no longer host dinner, I have been bringing pie for years to dinner that RangerSir and I attend.
To some pie making would be chore, a challenge, or something that you pick up from the local store or bakery. For me baking pie is a favorite creative pastime. I would rather make pie than any other sweet or dessert. My Grandma Virtue was known for the pies she made when worked at the county home years ago. My Aunt Leola always had pie with awesome flaky crust when we stopped to visit her and Uncle Sherm after a pilgrimage to visit the folks in Illinois. So though I can’t remember sitting with either of them to learn about pie making I think I come by this talent honestly.
This year I nearly cut the tip of my thumb off and ended up in the emergency room. I have been since been told to keep it clean and dry, and to function without a thumb, until it heals up some. This has kept me from all sorts of things including pie making.
RangerSir, who enjoys cooking/baking, stepped up to the plate telling me he would learn to make pies. It took a great deal of self-control and patience to not cuff him along side the head, while telling him pie crust is an art, and not as easy as they make it in the cookbook. How did I tell him that making pies was a quiet time I reflected on Thanksgivings of past, and who we had been with and who was now missing. It was my time and my art. Yet I agreed to help him through the process to make our pies for Thanksgiving.
Now the test of patience was on not only for him who thought I should leave him to his own devices, but also for me to not get caught up in what I was missing out. How do you explain to someone what the mixture looks like when cutting in the fat to the flour or how much water you add to the crust, when I know it is right by touch? He was a bit of a saint when he begrudgingly stepped back when I said can I touch it so I could put my good hand in to feel the pastry for just a few seconds and pronounce it right, even if we had put in twice as much water as the recipe called for. We made two pies last night and I thought my hair would catch on fire from my brain cells scrambling as he rolled out the dough “all wrong”, but overnight the pastry fairies worked in his brain and he was doing it exactly as I wanted the next morning when we made the last pie. He was a bit miffed when I told him we were mixing up two pie recipes to make this year’s mandatory chocolate pie, but he went along without complaint. Though to him making a three-layer chocolate pie was unnecessary, but when the sprinkles went on in the end, he was pleased with his results. We worked together as I coached him on the art of lattice pie and that it really was necessary on a cherry pie.
The pies are all done now. They look absolutely perfect. Though we have not tested them out the crust looks flaky and is perfectly brown. It was a trial, but also a reflection on how we can work together and support one another. I asked him if I could take pictures and blog about the pie making. He agreed knowing that I would not share this with the world if I wasn’t thrilled with the end. He had my back on pie making and I was his partner into new territory.