Friday, July 27, 2012
Why Is this Pie Different from All Other Pies?
As any halfway awake person has noticed and can confirm from personal experience, the weather and related environmental events have been . . . troublingly weird. Record-high temperatures. Drought here. Floods there. Violent storms, some with names we never heard before. Forest fires. Electrical outages. Trees falling. In Illinois, where I live (and nearby, Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana), we've had the record drought and heat. Farmers are suffering, and at our local farmers market, farmers report that they lost high percentages of their peach and cherry and corn crops. As I heard and read about all this, I started to fear for the blueberry crops. I started to fear the idea of going to the farmers market at all because I feared I would see empty booths and tables that in past summers had been laden. But I forced myself to go, because it was the time of year for making the muse-inspiring blueberry pie, and to my delight and amazement, I found a wealth of blueberries.
With all other pies, while being baked, the crust shrinks down a little bit from the sides. Why with this pie did the crust shrink down way more and the bottom-center of the crust balloon way up?
Now I realize that I should have taken a photo to show the described phenomenon. But I was so nervous about it (would the filling even fit into the shell with all that distortion?), I didn't think to take a picture of that phase. I did take a picture of an earlier phase--which may in part explain the crust behavior.
With all other pies, the crust is visible along the sides of the pie pan above the filling. Why with this pie is the crust completely submerged?
See answer to previous question and photo at the top.
With all other pies, I have been basically by myself in the kitchen while I was baking. Why with this pie did I have company?
My daughter is home visiting, and she was in the kitchen while I worked, and she stirred the blueberries on the stove top for me--a step that has troubled me in the past, as some readers might remember, because the mixture looks so impossibly dry. Having her there was a very nice addition to the routine, as she reminded me with great practicality that everything would be fine because the berries have juice, and they would eventually release it into the dry ingredients on the stove top.
The point, I believe, is that every homemade pie is different from every other pie, as is every night. And to work back to the literary spirit that is at the heart of this pie baking, so is every writer and every writing session and every book and anxious moment and every joyous moment, and every literary rejection and every literary success. The crust sides may shrink and the crust bottom may balloon, and the result may be unconventional and unexpected in multiple ways, but it may still end up to be quite delicious, as my pie did this time.