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Waiter! What the heck happened to my pie??

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.DSC05377.jpg

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.


Posted on Sunday, February 18, 2007 at 10:01PM by Registered CommenterKristen | Comments24 Comments | References3 References

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    There is no better way to start your day than to drink a fresh smoothie
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    Dine and Dish - Dine and Dish Blog - Waiter! What the heck happened to my pie??
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Reader Comments (24)

That is so funny! I love that you turned the pie into a shake! How resourceful!

I'm very eager to see The Queen. I think that Helen Miren is amazing!
February 18, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterKaren Beth
ugh! I know that feeling too well! You leave the house with a BEAUTIFUL cake/pie on its perfect stand, only to come home and see that it turned into a "pumpkin"! Last Easter I had a lemon meringue pie that "wept" all over the table. I'm glad that you were able to turn a "neg." into a DELICIOUS positive!
February 19, 2007 | Unregistered Commentergigi
Vanilla Pie Milkshake - genius! Meringue can be so temperamental, I shy away from recipes that need meringue!
February 19, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterFreya
Pie shake sounds great! I think you should try the Italian meringue next time - it doesn't do that gooey shifting thing :)
February 19, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAsh
Great post - congratulations on confessing to the mishaps we all experience, but don't always want to admit! The egg whites probably should have "peaked" sooner. I have read that the beaters and bowl need to be exquisitely clean. If they aren't, even a small amount of oil or invisible residue can make the egg whites go flat. So, wash everything in very hot water and rinse well. Another option, I believe, is to add a little cream of tartar, which I think is supposed to help the process. Would be worth checking the Joy of Cooking on that technique.
February 19, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterT.W. Barritt
Looks great.Never attempted to make this pie but I have seen Paula Deen's Banana Cream Pie!I bet it tasted wonderful!:)
February 19, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterasha
I agree, meringue can be tricky. I usually do Italian meringue or Swiss meringue (heating up the whites with the sugar in a bain mary first to disolve the sugar and then beating them) to be on the safe side.
Good idea about recycling the pie, that must have been a great smoothie.
February 19, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMarce
About that cream of tartar.....did you add any? Since there wasn't a recipe I couldn't tell. That is a stabilizer for whipping egg whites, and yes, you need to be impeccable about clean bowls and beaters, as well as getting egg whites separated without one scant drop of yolk. I have seen it recommended that you separate them one by one into a small bowl, check for any yolk and then transfer them to your mixing bowl to insure their integrity. And they whip better when they are room temp. If you need to warm them, place the eggs in a bowl of warm water for 10 minutes before separating.
February 19, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterKate
See, that is exactly what will happen to me if I try to make a pie! I'm going to try an shephard pie for this event. That's on the menu for tonight.

Hope you can make it to <a href="http://rachelsbite.blogspot.com/2007/02/announcing-leftover-tuesdays-2.html">Leftover Tuesdays</A>!
February 19, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterRachel
Awww well these things happen sometimes - I'm tickled that you managed to save the day with the milkshake idea - how creative! :D
February 19, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterLisa
So glad you took the picture before the pie went weepy.
I know there's an explanation for this but I'm not at home with my research tools.
February 19, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMy Kitchen in Half Cups

Egg whites can be tricky sometimes!

I have to say your pie looks great, though.
February 19, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterPatricia Scarpin
I have had that happen to me, too. I always thought that maybe the sugar wasn't dissolved enough in the egg whites. The cream of tartar is important as is the clean--no grease or yolk in the whites or bowl. I guess you are supposed to eat the pie immediately...it does look good. If life gives you lemons, make lemonade would be a good title of your blog today. Don't we miss Grandma's pies? By the way she made them and her angelfood cakes with a whisk, not an electric mixer. She had very strong wrists and arms which she attributed to milking cows.
February 19, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterpat/mom
Kristen - your pie looked lovely, and I love how you creatively re-used it when it chose to misbehave. :)

I think I'll wait on meringue until I am a much more confident baker. :)
February 19, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterKirsten
mmm...vanilla milkshake sounds GREAT!
February 19, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJeff
I've got to start turning things into milkshakes, that's genius!
February 19, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterbrilynn
Hi, I make a pavlova dessert made with all egg whites, the main thing is to be absolutely sure your bowl and mixing thingys(hehe) are completely dry, a speck of water or moisture will muck it up. The pic looked great ;)
February 19, 2007 | Unregistered Commentermartha
It looks so beautiful, but meringue can be touchy. Making the milkshake sounds like something my sweetie would like. He makes smoothies all the time. Must remember this ploy. It reminds me, in a very good way, of Julia Child. Bon appetit!
February 19, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterElle
Thank you all for your comments!

KB - Anything that is dessert like that doesn't turn out in this house gets turned into a mix in! We have all kinds of flavored shakes :)

Gigi - I'm glad I'm not alone. It is so frustrating, isn't it?

Freya - I may give it another try, but after that I'm not sure it is worth the effort!

Ash - What is Italian meringue?

TW - I thought they should have peaked sooner. I didn't add the cream of tarter because the recipe I had didn't call for it. Next time I will do that!

Asha - Banana cream pie is my all time favorite. Yummy!

Marce - I'm going to have to look up recipes for those and will probably try that next time. Thanks!

Mom - I do miss Grandma's pies, but yours are in the same category to me!

Kirsten - Yes... I think I was getting ahead of myself with this pie!

Jeff - It was great, thanks!

Brilynn - That's what we do with everything that doesn't turn out quite right! It's a great way to "recycle!"

Martha - Thanks so much for the tip... I thought my stuff was dry and clean, but maybe not! Thanks for the compliment on the picture. Glad I got it before it turned into a disaster!

Elle - You can turn almost anything sweet into a mix in with vanilla ice cream. Delicious!

February 20, 2007 | Registered CommenterKristen
Mmmm, milkshakes! Dairy Queen and Sonic's restaurants will be asking for this recipe, I'm sure! :)
You are truly resourceful and creative! :)
February 20, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterLisa : )

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