Sunday, November 15, 2009

Easy as Pie! Easy as the Ugliest Pie!

I am ashamed to say that I have never made my own pie crust. I thought it would be too hard, too complicated. But when I saw a recipe for pie crust and really read the directions, I realized that "easy as pie" might actually be a saying that makes total sense. (Not at all like "sleep like a baby" which, in my experience, means "fight sleep with everything you've got and then wake up every half hour or hour").

I used Mark Bittman's simple recipe. It really wasn't hard, and it didn't take long, and it didn't create a huge mess in the kitchen. Very promising! Since I was making a banana cream pit, I baked it first.

Hmm, okay, so it's not the prettiest pie crust ever. That's okay, it's still crusty and can adequately perform the crust function. Let's move on.

I mixed up a banana cream custard part, with a recipe from the Good Home Cookbook, also a pretty easy process, which includes folding in some whipped cream at the end.

Now into the crust it goes! And topped with more whipped cream! Now, that doesn't look particularly good. Or nice. Maybe it will look better once I cut a slice ...

Nooo, it doesn't. Yup, that's one ugly pie.

But who cares about looks? It's a pie! A banana cream pie! It's for eating!

Foodgoat took a bite of my ugly, ugly banana cream pie, and said to me, "Not bad for a first time."

Which I believe translates to, "Oh my god, that pie tastes awful, but please don't stop making pies because I don't know where else to get them."

My bite confirmed it - it was not only an ugly pie, it was a bad-tasting pie. The banana cream part was okay, but the crust?

Too salty, way too salty. Looking back on my ingredient list, I targeted the problem - the recipe called for unsalted butter, and I had used salted butter. I've never really paid attention to whether I was using salted/unsalted butter in recipes before, and never noticed that it made a difference, but brands of salted butter can vary in how much butter they have - anywhere from 1/2 to 3/4 tsp salt per cup of butter. Here, I not only used salted butter, but I added salt as well, as dictated by recipe.

The lesson? Use unsalted (or sweet) butter in your baking to keep the salt levels where they need to be.


  1. Oh no! I've started baking so much I only buy unsalted in stick form anymore and keep a tub of salted spreadable in my fridge for toast, etc.

    This looks more or less like the kind of atrocity I would expect to produce myself! I think the first time I made a cream pie I trimmed the crust away from the edges of the pie pan too much which caused it to shrink. It was a mess. The Bittman recipe is really good, though.

  2. It looks messy but delicious :)


  3. Hi... Have a nice day

    One Drop Perfumes
    Free Movies-2012

  4. Anonymous12:35 PM

    You are absolutely right. Eating is about the taste and that looks delicious. A banana cream pie is all about the taste and it will fall apart anyway when you cut out a slice (unless it is frozen). Great recipes and cooking ideas.

    Peter S.

    Homemade Italian sauce recipe

    Yummy oatmeal cookie recipes for kids