|Posted on November 28, 2009 at 11:31 PM|
A calm moment
One thing I can say about baking pies is that I have taken it for granted all my life. My mother was an excellent baker. Her pie crusts were consistently flakey and her apples perfectly sweet. She didn't follow a recipe but measured with her eyes. When she made plans to bake pies, she did most of the work in the middle of the night. A half a dozen pies would be cooling on the pie racks at dawn, filling the house with their sweet aroma. Then there is my sister Fuyuko Kondo who is a French trained pastry chef. Quite an accomplished one if you don't mind my bragging. She was one of the first female chefs to be invited on the Iron Chef show in Japan to challenge the French Master Chef Sakai (no relation to me). Even though I spend an awful lot of time in Tokyo, I have never taken a pie baking lesson from her. I just eat her pies, tarts, cakes, cookies... everything she bakes. Her pastries are all so good. I always put on a couple pounds when I go back to Tokyo. I do have some specialities of my own though- tart tatin, butter cookies and creme caramel. I usually bake a tart tartin for Thanksgiving but this year we were invited to our friends for the festive dinner so I didn't think tart tatin would work as a Thanksgiving dessert.
I found a Rum Raisan Apple Pie recipe on line from Gourmet, so I made it as part of a refreshment course in baking apple pies. The recipe uses three varieties of baking apples of your choice and rum soaked raisans. I was multi-tasking on the day I was making the pie crust, which is a no-no. I forgot to put salt in the dough. Fuyuko tried to help me fix it but it was too late. I had to start all over again. Of the two pies I finally baked, the one I sprinkled granulated sugar on the crust surface, as the recipe instructed, turned out like the surface of the moon. That pie didn't make it to Russ and Kathy's house. The other pie was based with egg yolk and milk. It was baking beautifully but after I stuck it in the oven, I realized that I had forgotten to top the apples with butter. So half way into the baking, I put the butter through the ventilation slits, which made the slits grow larger. The pie in the picture below is the very pie but seen from a good angle. From the other angle, it looks like a howling face. But I didn't let it bother me. I took the little flower cookies from the reject pie and covered the big slits. People said my pie was yummy, and even enjoyed it for breakfast the next day. I have friends with high tolerance levels. The reject by the way, is being consumed by me. I am halfway through it. As for the apple pie recipe, I would cut back a little on the sugar and flour in the apples, and perhaps pre- cook the apples before putting them into the pie crust, as my mother did. The pie crust, I need a lot more practice. I will try again at Christmas time.
Recipe: Gourmet - Rum Raisan Apple Pie (here is the link for the recipe).
Fresh out of the oven.