Monday, October 18, 2010

Baking Is For Chemists...And Math People

I for one am neither a chemist or a math person, so baking is one of my biggest challenges. For some reason if I have a recipe, I must tweak it in some way and experiment with other possibilities. That's just the way my weird head works I guess. I must substitute ingredients, baking methods, proportions, whatever, I just can't bring myself to follow a recipe exactly (This is why I always sucked at Chemistry and Math!). No matter how many times I've tried and failed at the evil art of baking, I still find a corner to cut somewhere. As a result, baking gods do not like when I stray from their recipes and tend to sabotage my efforts at least 75% at a time. You would think I would learn my lesson...but no.

So I try not to bake unless it's from a box, but in the spirit of this blog I've decided it's time I give it another shot. I've been stalking this abandoned house for weeks because I noticed a gorgeous apple tree that nobody was claiming. A neighbor had been watering the tree, so the apples were gorgeous and green. I wasn't sure what kind of apples they were but I tried one and I'm pretty sure it is, or closely resembles a Granny Smith...the perfect baking apple. I began to question the neighbor, and to my delight he didn't want the apples because they were too tart. So I brought home a grocery bag full of them and thought about all the stuff I could burn make.:)

I went to the Food Network site because they tend to have great, consumer tested, recipes. Then I found a few of Paula Deen's recipes and figured, if there was ever an old lady to get inspiration from, it would be her! So I found a recipe for fried apple pies, but it called for biscuit dough, and I wasn't going to buy some biscuit dough from the store that had a bunch of crap in it. So I cruised the site some more and found her pie crust recipe. Well, why couldn't I just make fried pies with real pie crust? What's so special about biscuit dough? Well...let me tell you what's so important about biscuit doesn't soak up the fryer oil. Nothing ruins your appetite faster than a mouth full of warm canola oil. Bleh! Thankfully I only fried two, one to test, and two just to make sure I didn't screw up the first one. So I threw the rest  of the raw pies in the oven.

Those didn't turn out too bad, but they definitely needed a glaze on top, Ice cream, or something. I still had some dough and sugar/cinnamon apples left over so I decided to try something different rather than making mediocre, pocket pies. I found a recipe for crumb topping, so I assembled my pie crust into the assorted tart dishes and souffle cups I have (even though I've never made a tart or souffle in my life...must have been wedding gifts :D), piled in the apple filling, and threw some crumb topping on top and baked them. Those were yummy. So I guess one out of three attempts isn't too horrible...:/

So I think next time my goal will be to stick to the damn recipe! Maybe I'll take a page from my husbands book, or at least make him stand over my shoulder. I tend to look at the small adjoining steps, while he focuses on the big picture. I really need to take a lesson from him...or at least figure out a way to miniaturize him and stick him in my brain, because three hours and three different variations of Paula's recipes later, I had a counter full of pies. The whole time I was focusing on improving my creations that I didn't realize how many freakin' pies I had made. So thanks to him, I took a step back and realized it was time to call it a day. I cleaned up my mess, and took some pies over to my mother-in-law's.

Fabulous---> Paula's Pie Crust Recipe


  1. I HATE to bake, I hate it with a passion. Baking is not for innovative people...

  2. I agree! I love the end result of baking, but the measurements always have to be so exact:( It can be discouraging. What's your favorite recipe?

    Abientot xx