Friday, February 9, 2007

A (Sad) Tale of Two Pies

In case you have not memorized each tantalizing morsel of these weekly dispatches, let me remind you, Dear Readers, of a few facts:

1) The sour cream apple walnut pie at Little Pie Company rocks
2) The Queen knows how to make a mean apple pie herself
3) The Queen is a flunky, however, when it comes to multi-tasking
4) A good pie can only serve eight at most
5) Lucy, the royal pooch, is one hungry dog

And yes, these points are all salient when it comes to this week’s post, which if I wanted to be trite I might have titled “Recipe for Disaster.”

Here’s the short version: There were to be nine for dinner and since guests who come to dine at the palace expect pie, well, damn it, I needed to make pie. I found a knock-off recipe for the Little Pie Company’s specialty and decided to also make (see #4 above) another apple pie that involved a traditional filling and a cheddar cheese crust. After all, apple pie without some cheese is like a kiss without a squeeze, right? Or so I hear.

It was a busy day. Snow squalls were blowing outside and I had to trek to the grocery store and then take the dirty dog to the groomer. One child was going away for the weekend and needed help getting packed up and delivered to his destination. There were papers to grade and gossipy accounts of Berlusconi, the Naughty Husband, to read. And then of course, there was that little matter of nine for dinner.

But the Queen had it Under Control. She whipped up the crusts for the pies early in the day -- between other tasks -- and managed to peel and slice about eight pounds of apples before making the two separate fillings. In the midst of the hubbub she assembled the pies and did all the other critical cooking things, which left her with only the very important tasks of fluffing her hair and hiding the embarrassing family artifacts before her guests arrived.

The first clue that things weren’t going well presented itself while we were still having drinks. Coming into the kitchen to fetch ice, I found Lucy the Pooch – on her hind legs – at the counter, nibbling at the crust of the cheddar cheese pie. I snatched the pie from her jaws, but alas, there was to be no camouflaging of the damage.



And now we cut to dessert. Or rather, we come to the point where the pies were to be cut. We were still gathered around the dining table, forks in hand. The pies were presented. We started with the cheddar-crusted apple and it was only as I began to slice it that I realized that the interior looked a little . . .milky. Weird. But no matter.

I next cut into the sour cream apple pie, teasing the knife through the crunchy top only to discover that the inside of that pie was not sour cream-y at all. Rather, it looked like an ordinary pie filling.

And then I knew: I’d accidentally switched the fillings. Two recipes at one time were too many for me. And frankly, this Queen is no Dairy Queen: Cheddar cheese crust with sour cream filling is a bit much of a good thing. Plus it looked creepy, like the apples were held together with Elmer’s Glue. And the icing on the cake (to mix metaphors)? The King reported that the cheddar cheese crust tasted like cheese straws. Not that he doesn’t like cheese straws, he tells me. Just not for dessert.


The other pie, however, was pretty good, and since the teenage contingent had fled before dessert was served, there was plenty of it to go round. The filling was sweet and simple and the topping was crumbly, buttery, and crisp. It was, perhaps, the best we could hope for at that point, an amalgam of both pie recipes, a true American hybrid. This, my friends, became our Prius of Pies.


Apple Pie with a Crunchy Top

Pastry dough for a single crust pie

6-7 large eating apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
2 T. lemon juice
1 c. sugar
1/3 c. flour
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. salt

1/4 light brown sugar
1/4 dark brown sugar
1 stick butter, chopped up
1 T. light corn syrup
1/2 c. flour
3/4 c. walnuts, finely chopped

Line pie plate with pastry, chill until filling is made. Toss sliced apples with lemon juice. Mix together sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt and add to apples. Mix gently and spoon into pie shell. Make topping by putting sugars, butter, corn syrup, and flour into food processor and blending. Stir in walnuts. Press clumps of topping between your hands and lay flattened layer atop pie, patching to cover the surface. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes; reduce heat to 350 and cook for another 35 minutes.



At 10:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

All's well that ends well.

Did Lucy get any more of the cheese-straw crust for her dessert?

At 12:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The Prius of pies!" Hmmm. Car metaphors in the pie blog. Does the queen have a new car perchance?
SoCal Sister

At 11:49 AM, Blogger Caty said...

I'm sorry to hear about the disaster, but the Apple Pie with a Crunchy Top looks really tasty!

At 3:27 PM, Blogger The Queen of Tarts said...

Anonymous, To Lucy's dismay, the garbage disposal was the recipient of the remaining cheese-straw crust.

SoCalSis, Funny you should ask! We're currently awaiting delivery of our new little bundle of hybrid joy.

Caty, Thank goodness for serendipity!


Post a Comment

<< Home