Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Tragedy of the Burnt Blueberry Pie (with Macadamia Creme)



This here is exactly why I hate baking.

You get really excited about making a dessert of some sort. You literally think about it for days and how delicious it's going to be and how great it's going to look on the blog. And then you follow the recipe to what YOU seem to think is "a T", turn your back for a minute and then the edge of your pie burns to a crisp along with all your hopes and dreams.

Baking is like this needy, scornful lover that never forgets a crossing. You have to pander to its every insecurity, from start of project to end!

Cooking never treats you like this. Cooking lets you be creative and experimental and it at least gives you a chance to redeem yourself if you screw up. Baking never forgives and certainly never forgets.

Let's start from the beginning.



Since I no longer work Thursday mornings, they've become our dedicated "Market" days. Sometimes the farmer's market, but more often than not we head to Herrle's Market in St. Agatha, which is a local produce haven at the edge of our busy city. The food speaks for itself (honestly, you need to taste the corn on the cob) and the place itself is so welcoming and staff so friendly, they will keep you coming back. A quick sidetrack to tell you about how great they are at Herrle's - a couple weeks ago I bought a couple portobello mushrooms from another store with the intention of making burgers that night. When I got home and went to fire up the grill I realized that the cashier forgot to put them in my bag! I pouted a bit over it on Twitter and the owner of Herrle's offered to drive over to my HOUSE and bring me a couple, so that I could still get the BBQ I wanted, even though it wasn't even them that forgot the portobellos in the first place! You can bet your buttons you won't receive that kind of considerate service at any big box store!

Anyway - back to the Tragedy of the Burnt Blueberry Pie.

We went to Herrle's last Thursday and while we were cleaning them out (seriously, I have to bring two big crates everytime I go in there) I saw these baskets of what I assume are the last of the summer Ontario blueberries. While it's tough to pick a favourite fruit, if I was forced to at gunpoint I'm pretty sure it would be the blueberry. To the point where mid-summer I start to take on a creepy blue hue from eating them so much.

That being said, I knew that even I couldn't eat all those blueberries before they went bad, so visions of desserts started going through my head.

Now, I'm not really a pie person. I always bake cobblers because they are way less labour-intensive and the margin of error is so much less. Case and point: the pie pictured above.

Because I've blogged cobblers in the past (strawberry rhubarb and peach, respectively), like an idiot I convinced myself that I was competent enough to make a blueberry pie with homemade crust this past Sunday. I don't know what would make me think that, because I really and truly suck at baking and I always have. Not to mention the fact that I'd never actually eaten blueberry pie in my life, let alone baked one.

Either way I gave myself a pep talk and I was amped to make the best pie ever. Starting with a homemade pie crust. Which is where everything went downhill.



I used the pie crust and blueberry pie recipes found in The Joy of Vegan Baking, except I don't actually have that book, so I used this website and (completely, horribly, tragically) misread the baking temperatures required. By like, a lot. So much so that if The Internet took this blog away from me in light of this disaster, I couldn't even be mad.

I thought it was a bit strange to bake such a delicate dessert at 450F for close to an hour, but apparently not enough to go and read the recipe again and realize that I'm a moron and was supposed to decrease the oven to 425F after the pre-bake and then AGAIN to the much more normal temp of 350F for the last half of baking.

Do you know when I realized that that's what I did wrong?

About ten minutes ago when I went to write this blog entry and re-googled the recipe.



Whatever.

You know what's kind of funny, though? The pie wasn't actually that horrible, even though the ends were a bit, erm, well done. Especially topped with the macadamia creme from Vegan with a Vengeance that I've blogged about before, in conjunction with Valentine's Day strawberry shortcakes.

So, in summary, go ahead and make this pie, as long as you do everything completely opposite of what I did.

This is what I've learned:

1) I'm not only a terrible baker, but I'm also not so great at critical thinking/problem solving. Or reading, for that matter.

2) The only pie that should be baked at 450F is a pizza pie.

3) Finally, and least embarrassingly, the dough was overworked and rolled way too thin, especially around the edges where it should have been its puffiest. It wouldn't have saved this pie from an hour in the hotter-than-Hades oven, but maybe pies in the future.

Mark my words, I will make another pie and I will right these wrongs.



It obviously wasn't bad enough to not eat, though.

6 comments:

Kimmy said...

Haha oh Mary that made me laugh.
I'm glad the pie was at least still edible. I felt like I was reading exactly how I feel about baking.
Cooking is much more flexible.
I would have still eaten it no problem!

Songcatcher Siren said...

I actually like my crust a little on the 'well done' side! Maybe not quite THAT well done though! ;)

Do you know if Herrle's sells organic/unsprayed treated produce now? I stopped going there a couple of years ago because they sprayed...but perhaps that has changed which would be great! I have to drive out to Pfennings, where there isn't such a big selection, but at least I am certain they use no chemicals.

I'm going to try a pie as well - going blueberry picking out in eastern ontario this weekend! I'll give the macadamia creme a shot - sounds delicious!!

Mary said...

Kimmy - Cooking is SO much more flexible! Baking makes me feel like an old school teacher is going to come by and hit me with a ruler if I mess up.

Songcatcher - it's strange it didn't even taste THAT burnt. Luckily I came into the kitchen in time, another 5 minutes and it would have been game over, I think.

Mary said...

Songcatcher - just realized I missed your comment about Herrle's. I'm not sure what there is organic. Typically in the summer I end up choosing local over organic, for convenience purposes. I didn't know about Pfennings though, I will have to check it out sometime!

Songcatcher Siren said...

I will have to inquire with them again as it sounds like you had a wonderful customer service experience with them! I must try to stick to organic wherever possible with my fertility challenges. Whatever I can do to help my body!
Pfennings is very nice. Perhaps a bit pricey for some items, but at least I can be sure of no chemicals with their produce. In season, most of their produce is right from their farm (avocado, mango, etc are exceptions of course). I do encourage you to check them out!

Bliss Doubt said...

"1) I not only a terrible baker, but I'm also not so great at critical thinking/problem solving. Or reading, for that matter. "

Mary, you're too hard on yourself. At least you try, and as you said, it tasted good in the end.

I'll never cook with blueberries again myself, after an incident of kitchen trauma when I thought I'd have to paint my kitchen.

Your successes are inspiring, but your kitchen misfires are hilarious.

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