Pie or cake?
When it comes to the choice, I’m definitely more of a cake girl.
Cake has icing.
And, unless I’m making layers (So. Very. Traumatic), I can generally handle the baking of a cake.
Or, even little cakes, like these:
Ooooh, pies are so much more mysterious and complicated.
They are the risotto or souffles of the baking world.
Or, rather, the pastry is. That is to say, finicky, persnikkety, and prone to drama, drama, drama.
Oh wait, maybe that’s me.
Anyway, you have to admit, pastry is one of the mean girls of the dessert world. I think that’s why the pie thing never went as viral as the whole cupcake extravaganza did in the last few years. Making pie pastry seems vintage and quaint and tricky in 2015 (and there’s no icing to use as incentive for generally dough-challenged people like me). That’s why a great many of us resort to finding our pies at church potlucks and community bake sales.
Shhhhh. I won’t tell, if you won’t.
Then, there’s my sister-in-law, Roadrunner. She’s like a female version of Practical Man, with awesome pie-making capabilities. Not only that, but, Roadrunner’s got all the vintage baking/franco-Canadian/northern-Ontarian pie bases covered: Meat pies. Sugar pies. And, the things that are not pies, but are still kind of mean girls anyway because they are made of some of the same stuff–like The Evil Pastry, cinnamon and brown sugar and butter–as pies:
Translation: “Nun’s farts”.
(Feel free to giggle like a 9 year-old, now).
Or, you can call them their boring English name: cinnamon pinwheels (but where’s the fun in that?)
Last weekend, Roadrunner took me under her wing (see what I did there?) to teach me how to make The Evil Pastry and its giggly cousins, Pets de Soeurs.
We each had a bowl, some flour, baking powder, salt, veggie shortening, egg, vinegar and warm water.
Of course, I had a magic wand and a “get out of jail free” card from Monopoly just in case, but, it turns out that I didn’t need either of those things, because with this pastry, there was none of that finicky, persnikkety, mean girl stuff about how the:
- “butter must be extremely cold” or
- “bowls must be extremely cold” or
- “cut in with a pastry cutter until it looks like crumbs” or
- “refrigerate until cold again before rolling out”
or other mean girl malarkey, that I have come to associate with trying to make The Evil Pastry–after which, it always turns out like a brick.
Instead, Roadrunner made it seem straightforward. Like, making The Evil Pastry was something you could do on any old Monday.
Even though it’s not 1953.
Here I am, pretending I know what I’m doing:
Despite the apron, I ended up with flour on my ankles, but let’s not dwell on that.
I’m buttering the dough in stage 1 of making Pets de Soeurs. I’m pretty sure that this qualifies me as practically being a bona-fide church lady who makes pastry, and any number of other mysterious things (butter tarts jump to mind), even on a Monday.
It’s all due to Roadrunner and you needn’t snicker because, tra-la-la!
One short week after my lesson, I made a pie today.
All By Myself.
With only minimal, occasional yelling of “Pets de Soeurs!”
(It kind of sounds like a bad word, if you say it in a pastry-stricken moment, don’t you think?”
What can I say? I was thanking the nuns.
I don’t yet know if it’s an edible pie, because we haven’t tasted it because I plan to give it to my mother as a Mother’s Day gift tomorrow, but it LOOKS like a pie, doesn’t it? I also figured that in case of any taste or constructions mishaps, I’d doctor it up a wee so as to distract my audience from some of the other flaws. Check out my basket-weavy top (no matter that I had to mutter “over and under and over and under” repeatedly to myself as I manoeuvered the possibly too-thick dough) on this–may I say it–masterpiece that ACTUALLY LOOKS LIKE A REAL PIE!
Yep, that’s what counts.
Happy Mother’s Day.