Tonight, we are gathering with some friends to ring in the New Year. There will be thirteen people, total, and I was asked to bring the dessert. I was thrilled. I love dessert, and I love making dessert. It seemed perfect. After a bit of thought, I decided on pie. I was in a homey, comforting sort of mood, and pie is both. Plus, pie is almost always well-received.
As this was to be a large-ish gathering, I decided to make several pies. Apple, because it is well-liked (except by Ginger); Lemon Meringue, because it looks so pretty (and is Pepper’s favorite), and New England Squash Pie because it is unusual and makes me think of our Pilgrim forefathers. One of tonight’s guests is a man who, if he cannot trace his ancestors to the Mayflower, itself, can trace them to the very next boat, and I thought he, at least, might appreciate a historic pie.
So, anyway. The pie making began. And, it was off to a very good start. The lemon meringue came out looking like this:
But then the meringue shrank…
…even after I had taken pains to extend it to all of the crust edges (which is what you’re supposed to do to prevent meringue shrinkage.)
No matter, though. I kept my thoughts firmly positive. On to New England Squash!
I had to use my least favorite pie plate for this pie, and as the pie baked, I remembered just why I dislike this plate so much. It’s larger than the average pie plate and crusts never behave right in it. Today, was no exception. Ten minutes into baking,the crust decided to fold in on itself, making my squash pie look…
Here is the pie in profile.
This is the sort of pie you call “rustic”. This is the sort of pie you say has “personality”. This is the sort of pie you serve your family on Sunday night, thankful you don’t have to show it to anyone outside the family. Or – if you do – this is the sort of pie you hope will taste really, really good, proving that looks aren’t so important after all.
I made the apple pie last. I wasn’t concerned about the apple pie. I don’t even use a recipe for apple pie. Apple pies are reliably good. They are wholesome. They behave.
But this pie leaked. This pie did ugly things to the bottom of my oven. And then, when I was laying parchment paper on cookie sheets for the gingersnaps I decided to make (because maybe children at the party would prefer them to pie), the parchment paper rolled up on itself, fell off the cookie sheet and slipped into the oven which was open, airing out the smoking mess the apple pie had left.
Pepper saw the whole thing and said, very calmly, “Mommy, the paper fell down…and caught fire.”
“Pepper!” I wailed (as though it was her fault. It wasn’t). I slammed the oven door shut – because that is what you’re supposed to do when you have an oven fire. And then CPT America arrived on the scene, grabbed a fire extinguisher and blasted the inside of my oven with it. He, too, was maddeningly calm. He said the fire would never have gone out on its own. Our oven is too drafty.
So, there you are! An adventure, indeed.
Now, I will be adding oven cleaning to my list of New Year’s Day activities – right alongside tree un-trimming and wreath-removing.
And that, as they say, is that.
From the dining room table, wondering if next time I should just offer to bring the drinks,