Pie Vision

I don't like to throw around words like "I have psychic abilities," but the whole time I was putting together my pumpkin pie tonight for tomorrow's potluck, over and over, I kept seeing my eggs... Well, let's not jump ahead of the story. Not that there's much of a story. But suffice it to say, I love pumpkin pie, it's been a year since I last had some, and I badly wanted mine to come out well, which for me means a light and custardy texture--so, naturally, I did a search for a Cook's Illustrated version, and then I followed it, word for stinking word.

For once, I had my mise en place going on, and as my crust was blind-baking in the oven, I was even gently warming up the eggs a little in a water bath, because the recipe calls for the hot pumpkin mixture to be mixed with the eggs, and I didn't want my eggs to scramble from the shock of the heat--the point is to get the filling firming up before it's poured into the shell, to ensure a crisp crust. Timing is rather crucial in this recipe because you want to quickly mix up the warm filling, pull the baking crust out of the oven, pour in the filling, and quickly put the pie back in the oven.

In keeping with the Cook's Illustrated mood, I was being downright militant about the prep work, and weighed everything possible, even the eggs--the recipe calls for 4 large eggs (224g), but I only had mediums. Unfortunately, all the while I was moving about the kitchen, in my mind, I kept seeing my carefully weighed bowl of eggs go flying through the air. But, I pushed the dread aside and soldiered on. What could I do?

So... my crust was about ready to come out, my pumpkin mixture was gently bubbling on the stove, and my eggs were warmed and ready. And then, of course, my 224g of eggs went flying, straight into me (I didn't envision that part). I allowed myself a few seconds to stare miserably at the big warm orange puddle at my feet, which Edward was hovering over with the stiff and ready stance of a guard dog watching an intruder approach. Thank god Edward is such a good boy. I'm sure I wouldn't have been able to stop any other dog from pouncing, and then I'd have to put my pie on further hold while I cleared up the muck, because, really, how much egg should one little dog consume?

After a brief, frozen moment, I broke into action. Unfortunately, there was no time to re-weigh 224g of egg, so I just grabbed four from the fridge, pulled my crust out of the oven, and did my best to combine hot pumpkin with cold eggs, very slooowly and with lots of crazy whisking, all the while dodging around the egg puddle and trying not to trip over Edward, who was tentatively helping to clean up some of the egg soaking through my jeans and socks.

I finally got the pie in the oven, cleaned myself up, cleaned up the mess, cleaned up Edward (who somehow managed to get a little eggy), checked on my pie five minutes before it was supposed to come out, and discovered with a sinking heart that the filling was weirdly ballooned and overcooked--the recipe says that the center is supposed to be quivery, like gelatin. I admit it: I looked at my pie and wailed. The surface looks and feels exactly like a soft, smooth...

...firm leather car seat. I couldn't wait the prescribed one hour--I cut out a little square and much to my disappointment, the filling is dry and a bit grainy, sort of like mashed potatoes, nowhere near a custardy quiver. I don't know what happened. I guess I should have checked on it earlier. Perhaps it was because I didn't use enough egg. Also, I used frozen pumpkin (which is very common in Japan, and surprisingly good), and there was very little water in this variety--this might have contributed to the filling cooking more quickly.

The pie wasn't that difficult to make (if one overlooks the egg mishap), so I guess I shouldn't be making such a fuss. I can do this again, damn it. I mean, I'm not North American, why do I have to wait until whenever Thanksgiving is to have pumpkin pie?(Okay, admittedly, the anticipation of a once-a-year treat kind of hypes up the enjoyment, for me.)

But then, I should have known from my vision with the flying eggs that this pie was doomed. I was just watching X-Files yesterday and there was this guy who could forsee a person's death but felt he was helpless to actually prevent the death from occurring--I know just how he feels. Sigh.

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I shouldnt have laughed. I know it's a tragedy when a pie clunks, and I shouldnt have laughed, but it's your fault! You write funny! :)

11/27/2005 08:51:00 PM  

Hi Shammi,

If it hadn't been me getting slimed by warm eggs, and trying not to freak out over my precious pie, I know I would have found it funny as well.  

from Rachel

11/28/2005 02:37:00 AM  

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