Monday, May 30, 2011

Pie Genes

Lots of families have traditions that are passed along from generation to generation.

For our family, one of those traditions is pie-making.

My grandmother made the most awesome pies--my favorites were pumpkin and lemon meringue. My mom also made pies--I remember the procession of fruit pies through the summer, starting with rhubarb, then cherry, then peach, then blueberry.

When I was out on my own, I decided to make pies, too. I tried the first one at my parents' house when I was home. Here's my mom's crust recipe.

Pie Crust
2 crust
1 3/4 c. flour
1 t. salt
3/4 c. shortening
1/4 c. water

That's it, but of course, I knew you had to mix the first two, then cut in the shortening (Crisco) with a knife, then add cold water and press the dough together.

Can't remember what kind of pie I made that summer; the only thing I remember is tears! Pie crusts look simple (only 4 ingredients), but they are really difficult to do well. I'm sure it wasn't rolling out properly, probably sticking to the rolling pin, or maybe even not working into a ball.

My mom came in and rescued me. "Here--this is how I do it," she said, and she whipped up a decent crust quickly, while I watched in amazement.

Later, I was able to put together a workable crust, but they often turned out somewhat crumbly-- "too short" (too much shortening?), which made my siblings laugh. I guess they found it an ironically appropriate name for a pie crust I'd make.

Over the years, I've gotten better at pie crusts. Now, like my mom, I can whip one up with no problem, so it's time to pass on the recipe.

The logical choice for passing on is Robbie who loves pies. He was also interested in learning.

He had a chance to try his first pie this weekend when Bill, Kim, and Sam were here. Bill loves rhubarb pie, and we always have it for Bruce's birthday. So we had birthday rhubarb pie planned. I used my mom's recipe:

Rhubarb Pie, filling
1 1/2 c. sugar
4 T. flour
2 eggs
Mix into: 5 c. rhubarb.
Bake 425-30 minutes
375 20 minutes

Robbie did a great job with the pie--no tears, though there was some skepticism about having to cut in the shortening. I assured him that there is a chemistry to pie crust making, and that if we just stirred the shortening in, or creamed it, like with cookies, we'd have a tough crust!

Not to be outdone, Eli made his pie specialty: Chocolate Dream Pie.
Here's the recipe:

Chocolate Dream Pie
1 c. cold milk
1 pkg. Jello Choc. Pudding (instant)
2 1/2 c. Cool Whip, thawed (8 oz)
1 chocolate cookie crust.
Mix pudding and milk. Fold in Cool Whip
Spoon into crust
Freeze 6 hours.

He was glad that Kim also preferred chocolate to rhubarb!

So here are my pie boys, proudly carrying on the family tradition.

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