|Pie Hard - Sorry I couldn't help it|
Welp, it’s that time of year again. If you get anxiety just from hearing the word “holiday” before October, I’d recommend you turn back from reading this blog post.
:: Courtesy Pie Break::
In preparation for Thanksgiving, I’ve jump started the Great Pie Experiment before it’s even officially autumn (in less than two weeks guys, that’s tragic). The rules of the experiment are simple - make/bake at least one pie each weekend until Thanksgiving. The winners during this time period will make it onto the Thanksgiving menu where the final judging occurs.
If you’re new to my blog, you’ll think starting this early and practicing pie recipes is insanity (and you will even if you aren’t new here). However, in the past (here, here, and here) I’ve had problems with still-raw pie crusts, ugly as sin pies, sweeter than sin pies, etc. Thanksgiving pies at our house are heavily critiqued, with gravity typically reserved for County Fair Pie Competitions.
Over the last two weekends, I’ve baked a No-Bake French Silk Pie from A Cup of Jo and Lemon-Lime Icebox Pie from Homesick Texan. “Bake” is a term used rather loosely here because, as the name indicates, the no-bake French silk pie saw zero oven time while the lemon-lime pie only needed the crust to bake. Per Lauren’s request, here are a few of my pie observations:
Pro: During the hot summer months, the no-bake pies take little to no oven time and thusly don’t heat up the furnace that your home is already bound to be (maybe that’s just us in Texas). During Thanksgiving, they wouldn’t take up precious space in your already chaotic oven coordination schedule and could be made a day in advance. They do require some time in the refrigerator but then they come out nice and chilly, perfect for a hot day.
Pro: No need for fancy equipment. No stand mixers, no food processors, no pastry cutters. For both recipes, I crushed up the crust ingredients (both prepackaged cookies and pretzels) using a ziploc bag and an unopened wine bottle. So I didn’t get perfect uniform bits of pretzel & cookie dust. So some of the pieces were still a bit chunky. I was lazy and the bag developed a hole, so I didn’t crumb it up as many times as I could have. I don’t actually have a microplane at my apartment either so the lemon-lime pie only got juiced and not zested. No big deal in either case.
Con: Lack of flaky buttery crust. This may be a deal breaker for some of you, especially if you are like me and the pie crust is your favourite part of the entire pie. You don’t have to go through the hassle/headache of creating a buttery pie crust but you don’t get to enjoy it either. Trust me, there will be plenty of time for that later as There Will Be More Pies. Also, don't worry because you will still use the requisite amount of butter that a respectable pie would demand, just in other areas.
Con: May need to widen the apartment doorways by Thanksgiving. The critical part of the Great Pie Experiment is having a willing taste-testing audience. As much as you think you can, you shouldn’t sample all of the pies by yourself. Straight out of the tin with a fork. Sitting in front of the TV. Find a crowd of people with appropriate dietary concerns and watch them taste and become your best friends.
Result: Both pies were tasty and were gobbled (zing) up within a few days although I’ll have to give the edge to the No-Bake French Silk Pie because (a) it was no bake and (b) was super easy and quick to make. I love cream cheese, so I thought I’d really enjoy the lemon-lime pie but it didn't hit the spot like a classic cheesecake would. Also, for that particular pie, I would exclude the cocoa powder for the cookie crust, it doesn’t need that hint of chocolate.
As there are still 10 weekends until Thanksgiving, I have a few more pies to try out. I’ve already earmarked this peanut butter ice cream one (thanks Lauren) and this banana salted caramel one to try next. Any recommendations of your favourite pie recipes or maybe just one that you want to see me make?