COOKING ADVENTURE # 63: Strawberry Pie
(Thanks to Celena for the title suggestion!)
No, no. Wait. Don’t tell me. Let me guess… You are wondering why the picture above is not of a strawberry pie! Good question. It’s because this Cooking Adventure turned into a disaster; kind of. Had the end result not come out to be something super sweet and incredibly delicious, I would have written the thing off entirely. It is true that the creations above appear to be some sort of strange cr-wierd-ssants… made with pie crust. Had the directions for this recipe been just a tad clearer, it might have come out okay. But they were not and I was left to fill in some blanks myself… which is most of the time just a bad, bad idea. Also, this recipe involved jello which, along with onions and flour, is a particularly nasty foe of mine in the culinary world. Why do you ask? Because I’ve had trouble making it before. Yes. Jello. It’s okay. I can hear you laughing from where I’m sitting. It’s okay, because you’re not technically laughing at me, you are laughing with me. I realize how pathetic it is not to be able to make jello. But I think I’ve learned my lesson this time, the key word of that sentence being “think.”
The recipe for this wasn’t supposed to be particularly difficult. However, I made it more so by trying to do it when I had very little time to see everything was done correctly. Why I do this… there’s a reason. My schedule is almost always insane. Therefore, trying to find time to do these weekly recipes (not to mention buy the groceries for them) can turn into a project and sometimes, it becomes really difficult for me to find time to do them. I really enjoy doing them but I feel as though I have less time than I did last year to really focus on them. But, since I know that you all love them, I really want to make it work. So, if you are all willing to hear a few cooking horror stories, then it’s worth it. Because some of these aren’t going to turn out right at all. Now that that disclaimer is out, I’ll unleash the full spectrum of terror about the strawberry pie.
I had my parents over for dinner last Sunday, St. Patrick’s Day. We had some white wine, ate cornbeef sandwiches, and basically just caught up on things. I had the terrible idea of trying to make that strawberry pie before they got there and subsequently ran out of time to do it before they did. I then figured that I could make the filling before dinner and then construct the rest of the pie afterward. No. Just… no. First rule of hosting anyone for dinner is not to disappear for a lengthy amount of time. I was in the kitchen with a knife, slicing strawberries like some crazy machine and throwing them in a bowl. The recipe calls for two cups of sliced strawberries. I barely had one. But I wasn’t going to let that stand in my way. I really wanted to make a special treat for them. Miraculously not injuring myself, I finished up with the strawberries and turned my attention to the filling part of the mix. Here’s where things turn sour.
The directions tell me to combine the ingredients into a small saucepan. “Saucepan” never registered in my brain. I didn’t think that I’d have to cook anything for this recipe, probably because I was referring to the pin on my pinterest with the very, very limited description written beneath it and not the actual recipe. I thought I was just throwing things in a bowl, mixing them up, and then chilling them in the fridge. So imagine my surprise when the following occurred. I measured out 3 tbsp of corn syrup into my glass measuring bowl along with some sugar. The recipe says to use 1 1/2 cups. That seemed like too much to me so I just used 1 cup. Had I known it was supposed to be melting in a saucepan, I would have felt differently. And lastly, I added water. Now, if I’d added 1 1/2 cups of boiled water, I’d have been just fine, because that’s what you are SUPPOSED to add to jello. However, I just read the directions and like a ninny, I added cold water to the concoction. I knew deep inside that something was wrong with that. But, like I said, I wanted to follow what I thought was the recipe to a tea. Never, EVER again will I just go by what’s written on Pinterest. Ever.
To the water/sugar concoction, I added the powdered jello mix and it bloomed red in an instant. After I’d stirred everything together, I added the strawberries, mixed it some more and then put it in the fridge. I never got around to pulling it back out that night so I made a promise to finish the pie the next day and bring it over to my parent’s for dessert that next night.
The majority of Monday, I spent working on my book and then napping. When it finally rounded on that time when I was supposed to leave in the afternoon, I remembered the pie and nearly slapped myself. Not only was the filling as watery as it had been when I mixed it the day before, I didn’t have a pie crust to put it in even if I had wanted to. I brought the bowl of red goo with me and went to the store in my hometown to pick up a pie crust. Now, I’ll emphasize something here. I live in Maine one of the most northern states of the country. And when we get snow, we GET snow. There was a rather large and imposing snow storm scheduled for Tuesday. When that kind of thing hits the airwaves, people come out in droves to raid the stores of all canned goods and non-perishables. That being said, I found myself at the end of a very, very long line attempting to get pie crust and a package of cookies. A good ten minutes later, I finally got up to the register, paid, and left.
When I got to my parent’s house, I showed my mom the jello disaster. She said that she had some plain gelatin somewhere that we could use to hopefully mix with the red goo in order to hopefully solidify it a little and make it work for the pie. She found this box somewhere in the back of the cupboard in our kitchen. In wonderful black ink, it said it was “best used by 2010.” Thankfully, gelatin doesn’t really expire. So, we opened up a package, dumped it into the red goo and began mixing. It was here that my mom discovered that all the sugar I’d added the day before had just sunk to the bottom of the bowl. After the new/old gelatin was mixed in, bubbles covered the surface. We put it in the fridge, hoping that would do the trick.
Nearly an hour or so later, nothing much had happened. It wasn’t even syrupy. I looked over at the pie crust and tried to find out what we could do so that it wouldn’t waste both ingredients. We came up with a solution; cut the pie crust in triangles, spoon some of the red strawberry goo onto each one, and fold it over like a croissant. Brilliant! We cut up the pie crust, and plopped some strawberries and sauce onto each triangle, then folded. Except some didn’t exactly fold over and the strawberries started coming out the sides. Mom went to get some tin foil for them to go on in the pans, but I had the dim idea that we should use parchment paper. WHY? No, I’m asking myself here. WHY!? WHY ON EARTH DID I THINK THAT WOULD BE A GOOD IDEA!?
The pie crust bakes at 450! Sure, let’s put it on parchment paper! So in the oven they went. We put them on for twenty minutes. And slowly but surely, the paper began to develop a strange brownish hue. The longer it stayed under the heat, the blacker it became until we were down to the last few minutes and were praying that the paper didn’t ignite. They came out without any fiery incidents, thankfully. The edges of the croissants had burnt and the red goo had also burnt to the parchment paper. If that wasn’t sad enough, there also came the task of prying each croissant off with a spatula. And at this point, they all lost the bottom pie crust on them. Not knowing what else to do to make them look edible, I suggested sprinkling some powdered sugar on them. The picture at the top is the best looking set of these things. The other plate? You don’t want to know.
We ate them for dessert while watching Stephen Fry in “Kingdom”. And they were good. Really good! I mean, it’s pretty much just sugar strawberries and pie crust but not put together the way it was supposed to have been. And while things didn’t turn out as I’d expected, I’d really like to take a stab at trying this recipe again in the future when I have time to properly follow the directions.
Next week on Cooking Adventures, I’ll be making a special cake for my brother’s 27th birthday! A classic NES video game themed cake. Got your attention now, haven’t I? Stay tuned for it!