Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Online Cooking Group Week Five... A Pie

my pie before baking -- friends it was divine...

We had so much going on this past weekend that I didn't really have an opportunity to try and make a new full-blown meal (I do most of my big cooking on the weekends), so I opted to make a "quick" dessert for my weekly recipe.

Before I get to the pie though, I have to pause to wax a bit about my lovely cousin Erin's quick quiche from our Sunday brunch. Watching her throw this bad boy together from memory made me seriously reconsider how I agonize and pour over recipes. I think all my attempts at precision might be getting in the way of the spontaneity and fun (for me) in cooking. I've seriously struggled with the last few things I've cooked obsessively from a recipe (i.e. my eternally raw quiche from a few weeks ago.) Surely there's a happy medium.

When I grilled Erin on the exact measurements + ingredients in the quiche, here's what she said:

  • "seven wait eight, Audrey made me let her crack another one."
  • "A splash of milk" (me, "how much is a splash?") Erin: "I don't know, like this" (mimics pouring a splash)
  • "Some cheese -- you know, like a nice handful"

And friends there you pretty much have it. There was no recipe, no precision, no real measurements. She first put some asparagus (I roasted it earlier and cut it into one inch pieces) and a bit of sliced ham into a pre-made pie crust. Then she poured in the mixture of 8 eggs, the "splash" of milk and "some" cheese (shredded mozzarella , a little herbed goat cheese and some parm and asiago...we were cleaning out the fridge.) The whole lovely, haphazard thing went into the oven at 350 for about 40 minutes and voila...perfection.

So channeling this vibe, I used the second pre-made pie crust and made an apple pie.

I started by peeking at a recipe I'd seen and wanted to try (this one to be exact) and then I set it aside and sort of went for it. I omitted the cranberries (both dried and frozen) as I really wanted the girlies to like it and I thought this would help my chances (it didn't), added a little more orange juice (the juice of 2 small oranges instead of one) but omitted the zest and used less sugar in the filling.

The pie was killer, and I felt sort of like a rock star throwing it all together so confidently, barely glancing at that recipe.

It felt good. Maybe I'm onto something.


  1. It looks divine! I too struggle with measuring and remeasuring and meals in minutes taking an hour. I do think you're onto something! :)

  2. I'm with you on this 'discovery' - when I follow my 'hungry heart', the dish is always much better!

  3. I, too, am trying to let go of my ocd method of measurements. It is much more fun when you throw things together like you mention. Mark Bittman's Kitchen Express cookbook has allowed me to really enjoy cooking stress-free because the recipes are easy and a bit like Erin's take. Your pie looks divine!


  4. There is nothing better than pie. What I love about pie is that it always tastes good and every single pie is different! perfect! Glad you took the chance and went with your inspiration! fun.


  5. I can sympathize. I think the great thing about cooking is that the more you do it, the more confident you become. I would highly recommend 2 books by Nigel Slater called "The Kitchen Diaries" and "Appetite." He writes about food and eating in such a warm, comforting way. He believes in eating seasonally, with fewer, but better ingredients. Pick up either book, flip to any page, and you'll quickly be drawn in. It's like having a highly knowledgable, completely down to earth friend right by your side, offering gentle encouragement.

  6. I'm the same way about the recipes. My husband can walk in to a kitchen and make something with no prep time. I'd need hours of internet research and more of prep time.
    Never posted this week but glad to see my kids aren't the only ones who don't eat SWEETENED FRUIT. I made applesauce this week and it was excellent and both kids cried when they tried it. Ugh.