08 January 2011

Pie Conundrums...

Have you ever tried to bake a pie which accommodated for the tastes, dietary needs, preferences, etc. of fourteen people? It's not easy, not easy at all. As I contemplated my pie options for this weekend these are just some of the things I attempted to take into consideration: Coffee makes one sister nauseous, another dislikes coconut, a third can't have peanut products, and a brother recently was placed on a diet which forbids nuts, fruit, or whole grains (such as... Oatmeal!). Another brother has a strange abhorrence to raisins, and my father is currently off of sugar (an aspect I'm not trying to work around, per se, but I am trying to avoid making any of his favourite pies in an attempt to not be too terribly cruel). Additionally, my parents have recently placed stricter limits on our budget, meaning that ideally I needed to make this pie from ingredients already in the house rather than purchasing any additional supplies. As I looked through my cookbook trying to take all of these things into account, I struggled. What to do? How to create something lovely and tasty (but, for Daddy's sake, not too lovely and tasty) out of the supplies already in the pantry which my brother could still eat on his new (rather restrictive) diet... I had purchased a half-gallon of buttermilk a week or so ago for another pie I baked (A Blueberry-Maple Pie with Cornmeal Crust. There was buttermilk in the crust.), so I thought I would simply use what was left of that and make a simple buttermilk pie.

However, apparently various younger siblings of mine have been using my buttermilk without first reading the label for such things as coffee creamer or a condiment on cereal and oatmeal. This, as might be supposed, has resulted in both some rather unhappy siblings (buttermilk and milk don't exactly have the same flavour. One sister informed me that the nasty stuff I had in the fridge had curdled her tea!) and a shortage of buttermilk needed to make a pie. After flipping through my recipes a couple more times and wracking my brain for ideas, however, I decided that it would be worth it to measure the remainder of the buttermilk. Maybe, just maybe, there would be enough. So, measure I did, and, lo and behold there was exactly one cup of buttermilk, just enough to make one of the buttermilk pie recipes in my book. Therefore, I determined to create that pie.

The result was not the best of the pies I've made so far, but it was quite tasty and decently pretty. Crafted with lemon juice and a touch of nutmeg it had a spongy, souffle-type top layer slightly golden brown in color with a little extra nutmeg sprinkled on top for garnish, and the flavour resembled a slightly spicy lemon custard. While it doesn't appear to have won any awards for "Favourite Pie," it was gobbled up pretty quickly by my various testers (which I figure is always a good sign!) and got a thumbs up from tonight's special guest, an old friend who I haven't seen in several months and whose conversation on life, school, student ministry, and the work God has been doing in Norman all added even greater enjoyment to the evening's pie consumption.

In other words, I declare my solution to the pie conundrum not a smashing success, but certainly satisfactory. :)

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