Flour? I Hardly Know Her.
Emily Haynes, Pie Bar Front of House Staffer
This year, I set a goal for myself. I would bake a pie. Like actually fully bake a pie: crust, filling, all of it from scratch. I came up with this goal around January, so I wrote it down as a resolution, but it’s occurred to me that this project and its many trials and errors (emphasis on errors) may exceed the boundaries of 2019.
My first experience making a pie crust from scratch was in the second grade. I threw a heck ton of flour into a bowl with some water and eggs and hoped for the best. What came from the oven was a one-of-a-kind creation, but a functioning/edible pie crust it was not.
I don’t come from a family of “bakers” so I sort of wrote myself off as someone who wouldn’t know how to do proper cooking things like make a pie crust or cook garlic bread without burning it (still working on that).
But I’ll be darned if the internet isn’t just the champion of making a gal feel as though she can do anything and everything with only a 20 second YouTube video to light her way.
My second experience making a pie crust was technically better than my first, but only on a technicality: I got the ingredients right this time, but not much else. It was too dry and then too wet and then too dry and it became an afternoon of flinging flour and ice water around my kitchen in the hopes that maybe a pie crust would emerge. Alas, it surely did not.
As with trying anything for the first time, it can be real discouraging. I knew there were people who throw things like this together effortlessly and flawlessly every time. If they could do it with such ease and hardly without thinking about it, then why was I having such an impossible time of it?
And the truth of the matter is that baking is in itself a variant and complicated thing. The nature of it is that each individual baked good is its own piece of art and small miracle of nature. It’s all chemistry and, while I didn’t do great in chemistry in high school, I know that chemical reactions rarely happen exactly the same way each time.
Any number of things can determine the success of a baked good. How much fat is in the butter, how hot or humid your kitchen is that day, how fresh your flour is, the list goes on and on. These factors in a baking day are discernible by the competent sorts of bakers which, as you may have inferred, I am not.
By rally again I did because try again I must. I was going to bake a pie, dang it, come hell or high water. And what did attempt number three but yield to me?
A pie: A perfectly mediocre, perfectly edible pie that I couldn’t have been any prouder of if I tried. A real functioning crust that held the real edible and even, dare I say it, tasty apple filling.
Was it perfect? No. Would it have passed as marketable at a pie shop? Not a chance. But I made it and it was mine. I suppose technically the goal to make a pie in 2019 is completed in a letter-of-the-law sort of sense.