Monday, September 29, 2008

The Holy Trinity

...of pie apples.
Yes, I've returned from over a week of silence immediately referring to a Biblically problematic fruit as thrice divine... although I can't take credit for the phrase myself. No, though that would make this a shorter post.

A good place to start is the beginning- I did say pie and in my house pie tends to mean one thing: company. And not just any company...very tall company of mutable facial hair that laughs loudly, loves hats and has an epic sweet tooth. My kind of company.

The winding roads are back to rolling out from one horizon to the next and tour season is once again delivering Jaimeson to my door. But he has his own keys this time and for as much that has changed, all of the best has stayed the same. We've folded ourselves into the seasons in ways that make me smile to myself on the street.
So yes, pie. The first pie I made for Jaimeson, if you'll recall, was Strawberry Rhubarb from Smitten very first time to make pie dough from scratch and the whole thing went over tasting like June thunderstorms but sweeter. A tradition was born.
The second pie was less a pie and more a peach crisp or claufouti but it was high summer and the sticky sweet glory of naked fruit, French butter and brown sugar lends itself to lazy, hazy categorizing.

The third pie was a failure. FAIL FAIL FAIL. I never told you because I simply couldn't bear it and the smelled my fear. The third pie was actually plural. Capitalizing on the success of the first two, my transition pieces, my travel buddies to bring by basket to my seersucker stache and kindred, were bourbon peach hand-pies. The dough was too sticky. The filling too savory. The cuts too small to fill. It was a mess. I about cried at 4am before I left for the Cape.

Three weeks into my new job, an undisclosed number of months into another very good thing and on my way to my favorite place to be among favorite people... and I threw nothing short of a tantrum in my kitchen because there were overripe whiskey-peaches falling out of ugly mutant half moons that would never see the oven. Fail. Of course I got to the airport and there he was in summer stripes and there was Brother waiting in the car and Mom had a key lime pie in the kitchen as soon as we pulled up. TKTC- she gets it from her Mama.

That group loves me with or without hand-pies, for which I am both ecstatic and grateful.

So now I am attempting to rechristen my third time to be charmed. And I'm feelin' it. I'm feelin' it with "Bad Moon Rising'" on my speakers and my favorite materials on hand. This particular pie evolved diplomatically between the pie's person and myself. I had seen an Apple Cranberry Pie in the recent Cook's Illustrated and some beautiful apples appearing in various markets in recent weeks. But classic apple pie was what caught J's attention. No pretension, no prideful little berries with a tendency toward tart for him.

Goodnight, don't I just respect the pants off a man who appreciates a well-done, easy livin' classic? Well, well-done remains to be seen but you understand my meaning.

Once I had my direction, I visited two of my best resources- Smitten Kitchen and the city office of Rustic Kitchen (Janine). Smitten uses the America's Test Kitchen pie crust recipe that won so many points in June and Rustic Kitchen happens to live down the street from Seedling Farm on the weekends. That's where the "Holy Trinity" stepped in as I was sent directly to Seedling's booth at the weekend farmer's market. What I brought home? Two Red Idas, two Wolf Rivers and three Cortlands. The Wolf Rivers actually came from a neighboring tent because I'd heard rumor of them and I grew up next to the Wolf River in Memphis...a good omen. I may have also bought a few good sized Honeycrisps for munching ("The Office" of apples...just because everyone loves it doesn't mean it's not amazing).

The last farmer's market pick-up? 8 year aged cheddar. Sharp and built in such a way that when sliced, it breaks apart and must be pushed off the knife. (insert sounds of a harp and babbling brook)

So now it's tonight. My apartment is clean and rearranged. There are fresh flowers on the table, clean clothes in drawers and on hangers and the apartment smells like orange peel/cloves/cinnamon from boiling those items together as I cleaned yesterday. I made my crust with Grey Goose and I diced up some of that cheddar extra fine and folded it right into my dough. In the morning I will roll it out and I will compile Fall Pie #1/ Jaimeson Pie #3. I'm excited to see exactly how it comes out...Fall Pie #2 for the HCT in November has already been requested to be Sweet Potato Pie. Don't you just love something to look forward to?

Oh my... it's today already and I have a hilariously unholy guest coming this afternoon! Heaven help us:)


Your Ill-fitting Overcoat said...

You are one of my favorite writers. You can write about the most boring topics (I'm not terribly enamored with apples or pies) and I'm eating it all up AND licking the spoon.

SeeLeigh said...

Hi, I think I'm going to steal your life. Thanks! :P

nicoleantoinette said...

I love you and I love pie and this is all so scrumptiously lovely.

Any Little Reason said...

I never thought reading about apples would bring me to tears - well played!

Susie said...

I'm going to have to check out the America's Test Kitchen pie crust recipe since the last crust I made was a miserable failure and I do believe Chris Kimball is a god!

Yayyy for Jamieson's visit :) :)

And this post got me even more exciting for tomorrow's season premiere of Pushing Daisies. The main character is a pie baker and always bakes gruyere into his crusts. Love it!!

Alexa said...

sunday night i watched the national pie competition recap on the food network i was craving a piece of pie then and now after reading this post it is officially a necessity.

shanti said...

i love pie, especially apple pie. lucky jamieson! oh, i also love how in love you sound. too many uses of the word love in a comment? maybe, but oh well... :)

joner said...

So glad to see updates coming! I haven't even finished Monday's post but I had to comment :) I was fortunate enough to spend today (GORGEOUS weather here)in an apple orchard with 3 munchkins under the age of 1 - it was fabulous! And we went with the purpose of finding the perfect apples to make PIE!! Yum - if you want a recipe to add to your collection, I have a fabulous family recipe (basic but dee-lish!) Miss you much - must continue reading now :)
ps: Hopefully making a visit before Christmas and would need to see you. xo

Rachel said...

That is what I was smelling!!! Oh my gosh... deelish!

Cheryl said...

Wow...You shame me again me friend. Maybe I should learn how to bake a pie. You should give lessons, I'll take them.

Maris said...

These sound totally fantastic - even the FAIL pie sounds good in theory!

I've never made my own pie crust from scratch - that's definitely on my to-do list for fall. Can't wait to see the recipe for sweet potato pie (I think I have one for sweet potato pumpkin somewhere. That might have to happen sooner rather than later!)

lbs said...

Are you for real? Making pies, working full time, reading New Moon series!?!? you're impressive. Can't wait to start my third book...let's recap together when you finish #2!! Come by and we can chat!

RebeccaC said...

The cheddar and vodka crust sound utterly intriguing. Please share intel, as JiT will likely demand to try this soon.

Caroline said...

Well, I have cried many a tears over treats gone bad. Thanks for sharing your culinary failures WITH your successes.

Anonymous said...

TKTC! How I have missed you!
As you know, I folded up my food blog a few months back - but I wanted to let you know I am still writing! I just started writing for a local blog here in D.C. (I don't quite understand the name...believe me, it has me scratching my head, too.)
Anyway. It's very new, just starting out, but it makes me WRITE and there's nothing I adore more than a good deadline. (Keep the deadlines coming fast and furious, please.)
I'm about to go through and do some serious reading here on TKTC and find out what you've been up to. But first, I wanted to say that I missed your writing and will be a more regular reader from now on! I'm BACK!
Recovering Food Blogger ("I'll Never Go Hungry Again.")