Friday, December 27, 2013

Rounding the Corner, Headed for Home

I did it! Kinda. In 24 weeks, I made 18 out of the 20 pies listed by the New York Times as the "Twenty Pies to Make this Summer."

It's no longer summer. But not all of them were pies. I'd say that evens things out a bit.
Between Midpoint Pie and now I made three last desserts:

Butter Pie

A Butter Pie, to which I added cranberries, chocolate chips, and pecans. This was taken to a Friendsgiving at Sarah's house, which was super delicious. It would very sugary and rich, to no one's surprise. But I rocked the crust out!

A Pear-Pomegranate Pie. This got made twice, because it was THAT good. The crisp pears and the pomegranate molasses was consumed at two additional Thanksgiving celebrations. I used the Smitten Kitchen's All-Butter Crust for this recipe, and made a lattice top. It was beautiful - probably the crown jewel in my quest.

I was all proud of myself for making 18 pies, but while coming up with this post realized I'm a dummy who can't count - I had missed the Mixed Berry Almond Crunch Crumble! So on December 23 I scraped together everything I had in my kitchen and came up with this dessert, which was very, very good- and got eaten in a bar during a concert. A tip: drain frozen fruit before you bake it. Why didn't I do this before?!

Two pies remain: an Apricot and Almond Tart, and a Rose-Scented Berry Tart with Almond-Shortbread Crust. But screw those pies. No way. I'm done.

Pear Pomegranate Pie
Why I am not making the last two pies:

1. They are not pies. they are tarts.
2  They will collectively take over 8 hours to make (including chill time)
3. French butter, apricots, frangipan is expensive
4. Pretty sure I’ve gained five pounds and eating pie has contributed to this
5. My last two pies were easily some of the tastiest and had the prettiest/best crusts. Mission accomplished.
6. I DO WHAT I WANT, NEW YORK TIMES. I refuse to be guilted into completing a faux contract filled with desserts that weren’t even pies to begin with.

Top 10 best pie moments:

1. Deep frying peach pies for my streetcar friends
2. Pie-stravaganza!
3. Diner - en - Blanc tart - most complicated and super pretty - I couldn’t believe that not only did it turn out, I didn’t drop it on the way to the picnic
4. Grandpa’s pie - probably one of the last desserts he got to enjoy before he died. Also, sister bonding time is awesome.
5. PIENADO. most fun group outing. 
6. Brown Butter Nectarine Cobbler/Lumenocity was fun to share with strangers and the easiest/tastiest to make
7. Giving away berry crumble at a rock concert the day before Christmas Eve.
8. The first crust I made that didn't fall apart - Plum Crostada
9. The alone time I got to spend working out complicated recipes
10. Spreading sweet dessert goodness amongst lots of friends, family, and strangers. 

Pie Superlatives:

Best pie-eating spot: Washington Park
Worst pie: Lazy Sonker. Not a pie.
Healthiest pie: Pear Ginger Crumble
Farthest-away pie: Cherry-almond crumble (sang happy birthday to Katy in England)
Least healthy pie: toss up between Butter pie (added chocolate chips) and tarts (SO MUCH BUTTER)
Total pounds of butter used: 6
Total pounds of sugar used: 5
Pie participants: over 50
Best filling: Plumb Chutney Crumb Pie/Peach Pie
Prettiest Pie: Fruit Tart/Raspberry Hazelnut Tart
Ugliest pie: Pear Ginger crumble

What Did I learn?

Patience. Planning. How to roll out a great crust (keep it cold, use lots of flour). Adding savory herbs to fruit is really tasty. Pears are hard to find ripe. French butter is a thing that exists. Recipes are annoying but sometimes necessary. Dessert is best when eaten with friends.