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The Southern Gazette - - Front Page - Terry Bursey

See what the Food Dude is whip­ping up in this week’s col­umn.

HL: Easy as Hum­ble Pie “Easy as pie” is a say­ing that bugs me to no end.

In culi­nary school in 2011, I first learned how mind-numb­ingly dif­fi­cult it was (for this cocky cook, at least) to make a pie.

After bray­ing in frus­tra­tion upon learn­ing I wasted a full class on failed doughs, I de­cided to aban­don the French meth­ods in favour of sage bak­ing wis­dom from my Nan.

I un­char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally gave my grand­mother a call to in­ter­ro­gate her about her pie shells and the meth­ods she used to get that flaw­less crust.

“I never made what you would call a pie, Terry” Nan said. “What I makes is tarts.”

I sti­fled a groan and thanked her re­gard­less, con­tin­u­ing my search for the per­fect pie dough on the in­for­ma­tion su­per­high­way.

In my hubris I as­sumed there was a method­ol­ogy for pie mak­ing that would suit me, and all I had to do was dis­cover it.

I pored over ev­ery pie recipe I could find, and found sur­pris­ing vari­a­tion – pie doughs made with ground nuts and honey, pies crafted us­ing lard in­stead of but­ter or short­en­ing, and even pies from the trop­ics that called for co­conut oil.

All these and more turned out to be hor­ri­ble fail­ures and my in­flated ego was forced to stare into the abys of the ugly truth – I was ter­ri­ble at mak­ing the baked good fa­mous for its lack of dif­fi­culty.

The abys stared back. Through this re­search and prac­tice how­ever, I came to dis­cover some recipes for a lot of de­light­ful pie fill­ings I had never dreamed pos­si­ble. I un­earthed gems such as key lime, rocky road, Florida moon co­conut – but my all-time favourite was for a pie filled with a rich and deca­dent fill­ing sim­i­lar to that of pecan pie.

It was called wal­nut-raisin. Now, I know what you’re prob­a­bly think­ing. Raisins and wal­nuts in a pie? For real? Why, though?

I thought the same thing when I first came across the ob­scure for­mula. Re­gard­less, hav­ing the in­gre­di­ents handy, I tried out the fol­low­ing recipe. I call it:

Hum­ble Pie

In­gre­di­ents:

1 cup sugar

1 ½ cups corn syrup

4 eggs

¼ cup but­ter, melted

1 ½ tsp vanilla

1 cup chopped wal­nuts

½ cup raisins

1 un­baked pie shell

½ tsp cin­na­mon

3 tbsp. flour

Direc­tions:

Com­bine all in­gre­di­ents in a large bowl and whisk un­til smooth. Pre­heat oven to 350 de­grees and fill pie shells ¾ of the way full of fill­ing, be­ing sure to stir con­tents to avoid raisins and wal­nuts sink­ing to the bot­tom.

Bake for roughly 25 min­utes or un­til crust is golden brown. Let cool for 15-20 min­utes, al­low­ing it to firm as it cools.

Yields two pies.

To this day, I still at­tempt to make a pie about three or four times a year and in ac­cor­dance to the ap­par­ent will of the uni­verse, the only pie I end up eat­ing is a slice of prover­bial hum­ble pie.

I’ve got­ten good at mak­ing the dough, and my assem­bly can get ex­ceed­ingly artis­tic with some snowflake de­signs and even a few adult car­toon char­ac­ters (I lit­er­ally tried to make a Rick Sanchez pie last year) but as soon as they en­ter the oven, some bizarre pie-ori­ented Mur­phy’s Law kicks in and they ei­ther over­bake or erupt like an­gry boils.

This wal­nut-raisin pie is the only pie I make on a reg­u­lar ba­sis be­cause it goes par­tic­u­larly well in a pre­made pie shell, and it’s one of the only sugar-rich baked goods that pro­vide a full bal­ance of flavours and tex­tures.

If you’re like me and strug­gle with pies to the point of it be­ing sur­real, I highly rec­om­mend bak­ing this pie at home.

If you’re a self-pro­fessed pie ex­pert, chances are a slice of hum­ble pie will do you some good as well.

Happy Pie­day!

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