Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Need my Grandma's Arms Wrapped Around Me Pie

I've been having one of those days but for the entire week-end.  It's been very stressful and has knocked me off balance a bit.  I had my hopes pinned to something that just disappeared before my eyes.  I wish I could say I expected it to not happen but I didn't.  I had hoped that this time was different but unfortunately it wasn't.  This whole situation is like when you were younger and kept going back to that boyfriend that you knew wasn't good for you but you got lulled into thinking he was the one and it was meant to be so you looked beyond everything your instinct was telling you and you let your heart lead you.  And inevitably your heart was broken . Eventually after many broken hearts , you listened to your instinct and moved on.  This didn't involve a person but it did involve something that was really important to me.  And this last rejection, if you want to call it that, just broke my heart and made me question why I thought I wanted it in the first place. And now I'm in that melancholy black hole questioning my decision making and life choices.  It's not the end of the world-never is,  but sometimes it feels like it.  If I had to do it all over again I would probably do exactly the same thing because I am a firm believer in trying-in my mind failure is not trying.  And honestly I would rather have my heart broken and deal with disappointment than wake up someday and wonder what might have been.  What about you ? Do you let your heart or your head lead with choices you make?
To conquer my heartbreak and get my balance back I'm doing pie today.  Remember the movie Waitress

I loved how she had a name for every pie she made:
I Hate My Husband Pie... You take bittersweet chocolate and don't sweeten it. You make it into a pudding and drown it in caramel .
Earl Murders Me Because I'm Having An Affair Pie... You smash blackberries and raspberries into a chocolate crust .
 I Can't Have No Affair Because It's Wrong And I Don't Want Earl To Kill Me Pie... Vanilla custard with banana. Hold the banana.
Pregnant Miserable Self Pitying Loser Pie... Lumpy oatmeal with fruitcake mashed in. Flambé of course.

Today I'm making the I Need My Grandma's  Arms Wrapped Around Me Pie.  Sweet Coconut cream in a vinegar crust.  The creamy center and pretty meringue topping tug at my heart with memories of her kitchen while the vinegar crust reminds me of how practical she was.  There I go leading with my heart more than my head-but it's okay, I can live with that .....

Mrs. Rowe’s original coconut cream pie

Makes one 9-inch pie

One  vinegar pie crust, prebaked in a 9-inch pie pan-recipe below
3 egg yolks (you can reserve the whites for the meringue)
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 to 1/2 cup water
3 cups milk
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 recipe for Mrs. Rowe’s meringue (below)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
2. Stir together the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch and just enough of the water to make a smooth paste. Heat the milk in a double boiler set over simmering water. When the milk begins to steam, gradually whisk in the egg mixture. Cook, stirring occasionally, until very thick, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in 3/4 cup of the coconut, the butter and the vanilla.
3. Pour the filling into the crust and top with the meringue, sealing the edges well. Sprinkle the remaining coconut over the meringue.

4. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the meringue is golden brown and firm to the careful touch (it’s easy to poke a hole in it). Cool on a wire rack for 2 hours before slicing. Serve the pie at room temperature

Mrs. Rowe’s meringue

4 egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
3 Tbsp. sugar

Combine egg whites and cream of tartar in a chilled bowl and beat with an electric mixer on slow to medium speed until soft peaks form. Add the sugar, one tablespoon at a time, and continue beating on slow to medium speed until the whites form stiff peaks but are not dry. The meringue is now ready to pile lightly over a pie.

Vinegar Pie Crust
For the crust (makes 2, 9 inch crusts)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup plus 1/2 Tb shortening, cold & diced
1/2 cup plus 1/2 Tb unsalted butter, cold & diced
1 1/2 tsps white vinegar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
4-6 Tbs ice water

1. In the bowl of a food processor, sift together the flour and salt. Pulse lightly to combine. Add the shortening and butter and pulse until it is the size of peas. Add the vinegar, egg and just enough ice water to moisten. Pulse until the dough just comes together.

2. Divide the dough into two equal balls, flatten into discs, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to chill. Dough will keep for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/8 inch thickness and place in your pie dish. Crimp edges, line with parchment and fill with dried beans, rice or pie weights. Bake for 10 minutes, remove beans and return to the oven for another 8 minutes or until lightly golden.

Do you wonder why the vinegar ?  Here is the answer from Diane's Tips for Pastries:
When flour is mixed with water, gluten is formed--these are the protein strands that are necessary in yeast bread making, etc. When making quick breads the mixture is only mixed until blended--never over mixed--so that too much gluten is not formed. The vinegar is used in your pie crust recipe because the acid (along with the shortening) keeps the gluten strands from getting too long--thus resulting in a tender, flaky product.


The recipes for the crust, meringue and coconut cream pie all came from Mrs Rowe's Little Book of Southern Pies.  It's a wonderful treasure of pies and it's definitely a keeper.  Good old fashioned pies so delicious you'll be transported back to your favorite kitchen along side that special person who baked the best pies in the world.  If it's not in your cookbook collection it should be. 


mollie bryan said...

What a wonderful post. I hope things go better for you soon. Glad to know you like the book and the pie turned out well.

Jane said...

I hope your disappointment soon fades away. Sounds like you are trying your very best to be flexible and philosophical about it, though. Good for you! And what a lovely pie you made from the whole experience--a truly sweet silver lining. Really beautiful!

Anonymous said...

so as I read your post, I want to wrap my arms around you like the old days when we always made each other feel better..love you ya ya.
Then, I say to myself...why vinegar? I will have to email Sandy. And there is my answer at the end of your post. Did you know i was going to wonder? :) CM

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

Although the weekend was tempered with disappointment this pie and support from friends would wrap you in a warm and fuzzy blanket!!

Roadtrek Girl said...

My dear friends and my fellow bloggers thank you for your lovely comments and warm thoughts...and CM I miss those old days...and miss you