Monday, June 18, 2012

A Tale of Two Pies

A couple of weeks ago David and I ran a 10K race with Andrew in Unionville. It totally kicked my butt. I felt horrible the entire way and I wanted desperately to stop with the 5K runners, who were much more plentiful than 10K runners. But somehow I kept going. And somehow David and I finished in record time: 60 minutes (and a few seconds that I'm ignoring, because 60 minutes is our best 10K run time ever and two minutes faster than our last one). We celebrated with Starbucks and then David broke Andrew's Blackberry. Good times. Oh - and the night before, we had pie. Amazing, super-sweet, perfect pecan pie.

When we were down South in May I was tempted by pecan pie for dessert one night. It felt right, pecans being grown in the South and all. It was so good that when we got home I still craved pecan pie. So I made one, using a Cook's Illustrated recipe. Minus the pastry. (I just don't do pastry. It's my new yeast. I'm intimidated by pastry in ways that I don't even understand.) Which was my only problem with this pie. I used a ready-made crust, which I've used in the past and think is a great product. But it wasn't the best for this pie. Which really wasn't all that attractive:

But wow, did it taste good. Now, I'm not a crust person anyway so was happy to focus on the filling. I could have just eaten the filling and been perfectly happy. Still, next time I make this pie I might actually give the Cook's Illustrated pastry a try. We had this pie for dessert at Andrew and Jill's after a delicious cedar-planked salmon main course, served with garlic mashed potatoes! A real treat since my kids won't hear of garlic in mashed potatoes.

The week after I made this pie I found that I had enough ingredients left over for a second pecan pie (hence, the tale of two pies). I decided to try a different recipe to see how the CI pie would measure up. I picked a Martha Stewart pie as my comparator pie. The MS pie was much easier to make. Fewer steps and not nearly as fussy. But as with most things, effort tends to reflect the final result. On any other day, the MS pecan pie would have been just fine. But after having the CI pecan pie, it was rather lacklustre. I don't think we even finished it. I certainly didn't bother with a picture, usually a sign of a kitchen failure.

So now I'm sitting here planning a cottage weekend, thinking about possible dessert options and my mind keeps coming back to pecan pie. And strawberry-rhubarb. And blueberry. I think baking pies is definitely in my future this week...

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