Thursday, November 12, 2015

Pie, Glorious Pie!

"Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it."

Bible scholars and I all agree:  This verse is about pie.

Well, maybe faith, too.  But mostly PIE.

Pie prep is underway in the House of Crisler.  I have large amounts of butter and parchment paper, because pie crust demands both, particularly if you want to complete the process with no nicks in the surface of your sanity.  After all, it's almost the holidays!  Time to make everything smooth, smooth, smooth for those Christmas cards you're sending out to 250 of your closest friends you don't even talk to anymore!

*clears throat*

Pie.  We were speaking of pie.

Here's what I'm looking at this year so far:

The New

Caramel-Pecan Pumpkin Pie
First and most importantly:  How do you pronounce the word "caramel"?  I say "CAR-mull," even though when I'm looking at it my eyes tell my brain that it should be "CARE-uh-mell."  This dichotomy causes great suffering to the word- and grammar-lover in me, but even so, I will fight to the death in insisting that it's "CAR-mull."  I just will.
I'm a very lukewarm pumpkin ingester; I mean, if you stick a piece of pumpkin pie in front of me you won't exactly have to force-feed it to my face, especially if it's loaded down with appropriate amounts of whipped cream, but if I have to choose between pumpkin pie and almost any other kind I will always choose almost any other kind.  Still, this is Thanksgiving we're talking about, and pumpkin pie feels kind of necessary, doesn't it?
So when I came across this recipe- complete with tempting photo- for Caramel-Pecan Pumpkin Pie in my trusty, beloved Better Homes and Gardens cookbook and it had the little "Best Loved" heart next to it, I knew it had to go on the menu.  The topping alone on the pie in the picture looks like something I'll have to keep myself from "sampling" until there's none left for the actual pie, and this pie counts as the traditional Thanksgiving dish, at least in my rosy little world.

The Trusted Favorite

French Silk Pie
This is a major favorite around our house.  It is rich, it is dense (insert inappropriate trophy wife/husband joke here), and if there's any way you can make it in the presence of those you will be feeding, DO THAT.  Something about the the step that instructs, "Place the saucepan [of boiling mixture] in a bowl of ice water, stirring occasionally, until the mixture stiffens and becomes hard to stir," seems to impress people, even if in practice it's just not that hard.  If you can boil chocolate and you can dump ice in a bowl, you can make this pie.  Just channel all those inspirational posters featuring mountains and sunsets and "BELIEVE IN YOURSELF," although what the harsh nature of the wilderness has to do with self-esteem, I do not know.  What I do know is that your guests/Eaters of Pie will be grateful if you serve this up.  
One thing I will say about this pie:  It does not need the whipped cream that BHG suggests you top it with, and I do not advise that lightly, because when it comes to my Sacred Whipped Cream Beliefs, I am normally quite firmly in the "More is More" camp.  I've dished this French Silk Pie up to a number of people over the years now, and the unanimous opinion is this:  It does not need whipped cream.  This is a pie best left unadorned and unspoiled, which is the opposite of how I feel about the interior of our house during the holidays, meaning Christmas is about to EXPLODE all over this house and I couldn't be happier about it.

The Undecided

Lemon Meringue Pie
While I love Lemon Meringue Pie, the honest reason I want to make this is that I've struggled to achieve that pretty meringue that isn't either weeping or beading, and this makes me cantankerous and obstinate, because meringue is not the boss of me, I am the boss of meringue.  This may not be the right attitude to model for our children, however, especially Adelaide, who is eager to get in the kitchen and get to pie-making.

Berry Fruit Pie
This one is attractive because last year Adelaide mastered the Art of the Pecan Pie, so I'm trying to find a pie recipe that will 1) Be simple enough for her to execute for the most part on her own, 2) Won't be so simple she'll be offended and just sure that I'm infantilizing her, but 3) Still tasty.  This recipe has only four ingredients, aside from the crust, and the directions seem well within her abilities.  

Sour Cream Raisin Pie
I am both attracted and repelled by the name of this pie.  I think the attraction stems from the delightfully old-fashioned feeling I get from it, the revulsion from the suspicion that this pie could be legitimately disgusting.  Or delicious!  

For Consumption Before Thanksgiving Because Sharing is Hard

Apple Pie 
I'm more or less being forced to make this pie because I still have a big pile of apples from a friend sitting on my kitchen counter, and I don't want to be wasteful, do I?  

I've shown you this picture at least half a dozen times, already, but I don't care:  It has Adelaide and it has pie- a pie that Adelaide made, in fact- and she is cute as a button.  Don't tell her I said that.

Obviously we won't be eating six pies throughout the remainder of November; these are just the front-runners, from which I'll choose... probably three.  Trying to hold myself to three.  Well, three plus the apple pie.  That one doesn't count.  Because... apples are healthy?


  1. Send a slice of apple pie to me through Derek! But tell me first. So Derek can't eat it and deny knowledge of it.

  2. i agree with you: that Bible verse is about pie, and how every child needs to be trained how to make pie crust and pie fillings of divers and sundry flavors.

    Sour cream raisin pie - hmmm. My husband would probably like it. Two days ago I made one Thanksgiving pie - apple raisin pie, in honor of my husband, who is the only one who prefers his apple pie with raisins in it. I only have room for one more pie in the freezer. I think it's going to have to be blueberry pie.

    I am in awe of you making lemon meringue pie. I swore off making meringue anything about 15 years ago, because meringue is too much like a toddler, and I was already dealing with my own toddlers and couldn't stand to deal with one more.

    I am also in awe of you making pecan pie because I have also not been successful at that. My brother makes a stupendous pecan pie and I always hope and pray that he will bring one to our house for Thanksgiving.

  3. I think you should do all 6.....and so you don't feel guilty I'll go ahead and take 3


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