Week 15: crack pie

I thought I’d keep going with the Ugly Pie theme this week, since last week’s pie was so delish. I was sure there must be more satisfying ugly pies out there to find. Which brought me to Crack Pie. Based on pictures I’d seen around the web, I knew it wasn’t famous for its beauty. There was a whole lot of work-up to this pie. Could it really be that good? (Read a little hype here and here and here). I was skeptical. Here is my pie (and as it turns out, I think it has a rather lovely appearance in its own simple way):

And with a sprinkle of snowy sugar:

Crack pie was tasty. Really tasty. If you like something gooey, a little fudgy, salty and sweet all at once, then look no further. This is one of those pies that tastes wonderful right out of the fridge with a glass of milk. Crack pie will travel well. I can imagine it would be just right around a camp fire. Or in front of the Christmas tree. Or standing by the fridge at 2 am.

I made mine exactly as described here, but I doubled the salt in the oat cookie crust and the filling. Make it. You will want to make another one the next day. Just try to resist.

Blue Ribbon for being like eating fudgy candy pie.

Week 14: it’s not pretty, but ugly oaty maple pie is darn tasty

This week’s pie was a sure test of my goal to try not to see the world entirely through my perfectionist glasses. That is because this week’s pie was not pretty. Honestly, as I took it out of the oven I said, “Why hello Ugly Pie.” This was for sure Perfectionist Me talking, because my fella looked at it over my shoulder and declared, “No, it’s not ugly, it’s rustic.” It was too late however, because since that moment we are both calling it Ugly Pie. (As in, “Hey, can I have some Ugly Pie?” “Is there any Ugly Pie left?” “I sure feel like a little Ugly Pie…”) We have a little green book that we use to record the best things that we make so that we remember where we got the recipes months down the road, and this pie made it into the Green Book. It was entered into the book as “Ugly Pie.”

The discovery of Ugly Pie reminded me of another entry in our green book. At least five years ago I made a cake that was so sad-looking, it became legendary. I think I remember taking it out of the oven too soon, and then realizing my error about ten minutes later, I stuck it back in trying to save it. But to no avail, because it sagged in the middle as it cooled and it ended up a little too brown on the edges. Back then I was even more of a perfectionist that I am today, so needless to say, I did not take the ugly cake very well. We lived in a condo at the time and my perfectionism had driven me to dump a few desserts I deemed to be “failures” down the garbage chute, even though my boy tried to stop me. (One of those times he managed to, and thank goodness, because if not, we might never have tasted my now famous peppermint patty brownies. I cannot believe I almost pitched those). This time it was all I could do not to march that cake down the hall and send it hurtling down the chute to a dramatic and satisfying end. I didn’t do that though. I remembered the brownies. Instead, I wrote a note beside the cake and left it to finish cooling in all of its ugliness on the kitchen counter and I went for a walk so I wouldn’t be home when my guy found it there. I did not want to talk about my cake. I did not want to look at my cake. I wanted my cake to disappear, but I resisted and instead of being wasteful and silly, I disappeared instead. I just needed a little time apart from the Ugly Cake.

This is the note (stuck into our green book):

(Pretty good penmanship for a cake, huh?)

Continue reading

Week 13: tiny pear and vanilla pies

These past few weeks I find myself feeling nostalgic. Nostalgic for my childhood home. Nostalgic for the day last week when the leaves on the tree outside my house were the perfect glowy shade of orange against the sky. Nostalgic for my honeymoon in Paris (partially thanks to this blog, which always makes me feel dreamy for Paris, though it doesn’t take much). So where is this feeling coming from? Is it that it’s autumn? Is it the fact I’m pretty sure I’m getting more crinkly wrinkles around my eyes when I smile? Beats me. I can tell you that pie – making it and eating it – always feeds my nostalgia, so I guess I might have to get used to the feeling.

Last week I made portable pies again, this time delightful little pear pies with lots of vanilla. Vanilla is a flavour perfect for a nostalgic mood – sweet and aromatic and comfortable. I wasn’t so sure about them at first, the puffed up texture of their tops and the fact that the crusts didn’t brown up as well as I like, but it only took a bite to find they had a beautiful creaminess and a rich vanilla taste that made me feel wrapped up and ready for November’s chill. Continue reading