It was all set. Yesterday, my foodie friend Katherine K. (not the Katherine who taught me how to make burgers) invited me over for an after-school cooking lesson. She was going to teach me how to roast pork and veggies. More importantly, she was going to give me a lesson in the pie-baking basics.
But, alas, Jesse came down with a fever and we had to cancel. So now I'm on my own when it comes time to bake my first ever pie. Yikes!
It's the 4th year in a row that we are hosting Thanksgiving Dinner at our house. But this year is different. Usually, Avo is in charge of planning and preparing the meal and all I do is show up, eat, and clean up. But now that I've learned a thing or two about cooking myself, I want to help Avo out. Then again, I'm not sure he wants my help!
To make things easier for Avo -- especially given that we have a small kitchen -- I will make the desserts and leave the rest to him. I plan to spend the day before Thanksgiving baking, so he can have the kitchen to himself for the big event.
I've decided on making apple pie and snickerdoodles. Apple pie is classic Thanksgiving -- and it goes well with vanilla ice cream. picked the snickerdoodles because the kids will have fun making them with me. Plus, I like any excuse to say "snickerdoodle!"
Recently, I've become intrigued by the pie-making process, especially after an especially gripping "pie" episode of "Throwdown with Bobby Flay" on the Food Network (Bobby beat the Maine "Pie Moms" with his Peach-Blackberry Pie.
Katherine K. warned me that the biggest challenge is the crust -- it's difficult to get the crust flaky and to be sure that the bottom isn't soggy.
"Do you have a pastry blender?" she asked.
"Um, no. What's that?"
"You can use forks for the pie crust, but using a pastry blender makes it easier to cut the butter into the flour."
Katherine also tipped me off that many apple pie recipes call for Crisco.
"They taste good, but I refuse to eat anything with Crisco in it," she said. "Same goes for lard. I'm all about butter."
Indeed, it seems as if every recipe I find calls for Crisco.
Butter or Crisco? Pastry blender or food processor or by hand? What apples work best? How small do you cut the apple slices? What's a girl to do?
Who knew there were so many choices were involved in making apple pie? Everyone insists that their way is the only way!
I've got to make some decisions and fast because I don't want to have to resort to buying a store-bought crust -- or be forced to pass off a store-bought pie as my own!