I have made pies in the past. Apple pies, pumpkin pies, strawberry pies, etc. Pies are not my favorite thing in the world to make, but I still make them. Why? Because my husband, besides being an ice cream guy, is a pie guy. He loves pie.
When Cook sister announced the theme of the event "Waiter, there's something in my.." as pie, I knew I'd be able to participate. Should I make a pie I'm comfortable with...one that I've made before? Should I branch out and try something new? Should I expand my abilities some...take a risk?
I decided to branch out of my two crust comfort zone and make a pie with meringue. My Grandma Sumner made the best meringue pies...surely that pie making gene was passed on to me. I was certain that I would be a natural meringue pie maker. With a couple of Vanilla Cream pie recipes in tow, I gave my mom a quick call to make sure I understood everything I needed to understand about making a meringue pie. My mom, who inherited the meringue pie making gene, offered up some significant and helpful advice. After hanging up with her, I felt I had the confidence, ability and the genes to make a great Vanilla Cream Pie.
I followed the recipe exactly and things seemed to be moving along quite well. When it was time to whip the egg whites into shape, I got out my handy hand mixer and began beating the suckers. 10 minutes into the beating and my peaks were there, but not as stiff as I thought they should be. I soldiered on for yet another 5 minutes and still...peaks, but no stiff peaks. I decided it was good enough. My arm was getting tired from holding the mixer and I had other things to do besides beat the heck out of egg whites all day. I spread the meringue carefully over the vanilla cream pie, being certain to "seal" the meringue at the edges like my mom advised. I carefully plopped the pie in the oven, set the timer, and went about cleaning up the kitchen. When the timer for the pie went off, I peeked into the oven and was very pleased. The pie looked pretty good for my first attempt.
A couple of hours later, I was out with some girl friends. We were on our way to see the movie The Queen when my phone rings. I noticed the call was from my husband at home, so I picked it up.
Him - "Ummmm...did you look at your pie before you left?"
Me - "Yes! It looks good, doesn't it? Don't eat it OK? It is for after dinner."
Him - "You must not be looking at the same pie."
Me - "What? What do you mean?"
Him - "Kristen...the pie has these brown liquid dots all over the top, like someone sprinkled Pepsi all over it and the top has shifted. There are big gaping holes around the edge and the meringue is starting to liquefy or something. Should I do something with it?"
Me...perplexed - "It looked great when I left. I'll have to wait until I get home to see."
After the movie (good!), I headed home to check out the fate of my once perfect looking pie. I have no idea what happened, but my husband was right... it was not a pretty site. How can something that looked pretty good right out of the oven turn into something so frightful merely a few hours later? Those of you pie experts out there, can you please enlighten me?
The pie wasn't pretty and ended up being a flop. The taste of the pie was great...reminded me almost of Grandma's. What do we do here at our household with flop's? We stick them in the blender with ice cream and milk and make them into milkshakes. So, last night instead of having vanilla cream pie for dessert we had vanilla cream pie milk shake.
My Grandma Sumner would have been proud of me for attempting something new. Being the resourceful woman she was, she also would have been proud of us for taking a flop and turning it into something not so floppish. Hopefully, I can channel her pie making skills a little better the next time I attempt to make one of her signature pies.