This past weekend I was feeling all domestic and shit, so I told the Tofu Muchacha that I wanted to bake, and I didn't mean that I wanted to smoke some weed. (I have no idea how I know that lingo. I've *cough* never touched the stuff *cough*.
I was feeling the need to explore the sensual art of pastry. Either that, or I just think it's fun to cook and I have a sweet tooth. One of those.
In my head I had this grand idea to make some sort of ornate chocolate layer cake with all kinds of complicated icing and whatnot, but there were level-er heads around (hers) and she brought out her Pillsbury Book of Baking or what I now refer to as "The Book". As in:
Her: What should we have for Dinner tonight?
Me: What does The Book suggest?
Her: What should we do tonight?
Me: Let's consult The Book.
Her: How do we get to Louisville?
Me: Why in the Hell do you want to go to Louisville?
You get the idea.
Anyway, I flipped through The Book for what seemed like an eternity, until I literally was simply too overwhelmed to function anymore. (Seriously I was drooling, and it wasn't because of the pictures.) Finally, I just decided to make her tell me what to make, and she selected a Peach and Blueberry Pie with a Streusel top. Oh yes. You just read that.
So after my run yesterday morning, (don't worry..there's a post about that coming up, to be certain), I went to the store to retrieve the necessary ingredients for the pie. I should mention that I'm not a complete beginner. I've baked a little before. I've cooked even more than that. I'm comfortable with flavors and the equipments and whatnot. I'd never baked a pie before, though, so this was new territory.
I'm a little embarassed to admit that I didn't make the crust. I know.. I know... but the reasoning is that I didn't want to overwhelm myself with a ton of unknowns on my first go-round. Crust can be disastrous, and since I was taking a couple of liberties already (you'll see), I decided to stick with the frozen crust for this time around.
I came back from the store, and here's my Mise en place:
If you're looking closely, you'll notice that there's at least one item there that doesn't always go in a Peach and Blueberry Pie... So that's the first liberty I took. I decided to add raspberries too. Let me tell you.. my gut wasn't wrong. Also, the streusel topping doesn't call for pecans, but I couldn't help myself. They smartly placed them right next to the berries at the store. The fuckers.
So anyway, the first thing I needed to do was to peel those peaches. The recipe calls for 3 cups of peeled peaches, and I'll be the first to admit... I had no fucking clue how many peaches it takes to make 3 cups. As it turns out, 1 cup is equal to 1 peach, give or take. I'd also never peeled peaches before, so I sat, watching Bride and Prejudice (humming the Bollywood songs the whole time.) in the living room with a big silver bowl and a paring knife and I peeled me 6 peaches. Here's what it looked like:
Not bad, right?
So the rest was pretty much following directions, which as any of you who know me can attest is not always my strong suit, but it went pretty well. I mixed the peaches, blueberries, and raspberries in with the cinnamon, confectioner sugar (I'm told this is unusual), and flour. It created a very pretty concoction also known as "the filling":See? I told you it was pretty...
I poured that big mess into the pie crust (now nestled safely inside another pie plate (Tofu Muchacha wisely suggested this, as the filling was copious, and this provided additional space.)
Then I mixed up the streusel topping, which included most of my strays from the recipe (sorry Pillsbury!) It calls for the following:
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1/3 cup of flour
1/2 tsp of cinnamon
1/3 cup of butter
Another 1/4 cup or so of butter
1/2 tsp of salt
1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper. (You're reading that correctly)
1/2 cup of crushed pecans
Sounds effing amazing doesn't it?
So after mixing up that whole bit, I poured it into the pie, which now looked like this:
And into the oven it went for 40 minutes at 375 degrees. I killed this time by playing with my new IPod Touch, and finding free apps to download and amuse me. My favorite of the free ones is called "Sheep.... FREE!" where you launch a sheep into space and keep trying to propel it higher. That's pretty fun. Oh..and Google Earth, which is possibly my all time favorite computer program. I also found "Urban Spoon", which is pretty freaking great.
After the 40 minutes was up, I took this out of the oven: Doesn't she look beautiful?
We let it cool for a little while and watched a really odd French movie called The Bridesmaid I'm still a little unsure why I put it in my Netflix queue to begin with, because there was no nudity at all, and for the life of me, I can't figure out why else I'd get a French movie. I'm not saying I'm against foreign films, in fact I love many of them, but French films specifically are pretty much useless without boobs. (The one shot of the dude's butt doesn't count. In fact, it detracts.). The story wasn't bad though, I guess. For a boobless French movie.
We were finally able to cut and eat about an hour an a half later. This is what it looked like just before we took our first bites:
I grant you that it looks a little sloppy, but take my word for it, 1) that has much to do with it still being a little warm, so not completely set up, and 2) who the fuck cares? That shit was so delicious that I wanted to bathe in it. I wanted to take it to Vermont and get married to it. (thank you 30 Rock). I wanted to perform all kinds of unnatural acts all over it. It's seriously some good fucking pie. The pie's parents are all about me marrying it and making it an honest pie at this point.
To recap some of my innovations, I'd categorize them all as a success, but I'll break them down:
Raspberries: Total thumbs up. Delicious and added a little bit of a tartness that otherwise would have been missing.
Salt: I'm all for it. I may add a tiny bit more the next time, or some Kosher salt instead. I really like playing with the sweet/salty/spicy thing, and it gave it good depth. Could use some more.
Cayenne: See the salt comments, though instead of "maybe" adding more, this goes to "definitely". I had a hard time detecting it at all, and what little I did was so slight that it seemed pointless. I'd almost have to try it without to see if I could tell the difference. Don't get me wrong, I don't want spicy hot desserts, but giving it that flavor profile is interesting to me.
Pecans: Flavor-wise it was a good choice. I would probably give them a more course chop the next time, since it really was only a flavor change, and the added nutty texture could be cool.
My next baking adventure is in a couple of weeks, and I'll be doing cake. Tune in then!