This evening we’re attending a “Friendsgiving.” A precursor to the main event with the family next week, this one with friends. See, though my majority of my posts are just about the husband and I, we do have friends. We just choose to live a relatively hermit-esque life.
Amongst friends and family I am known for my desserts. Not a bad thing to be known for. For Friendsgiving I chose a dessert that I have actually been craving for a number of weeks, but couldn’t justify making solely for the husband and I. The Pioneer Woman’s Chocolate Pie.
Now, the fact that I am making chocolate pie tells you that this isn’t just any chocolate pie. You see, I’m not much of a chocolate person. Did your world just stop? Dark spots mar your vision? It’s not that I don’t like chocolate. It’s just that, when left to my own devices, I’m much more likely to choose a fruit-based dessert than chocolate. I do make cheesecake, but even that…I may have one sliver and I’m done. However, present me with a fruit pie or a fruit crisp or a fruit cobbler and stand back.
That being said, I’m not even sure what compelled me to make this pie in the first place (which I did about a year ago). I think I was craving chocolate pudding and this rich, creamy recipe spoke to me. And why just have pudding if you can serve that pudding in a crust?
I’m not going to reiterate the recipe when you can find it here. I love when recipes are called unassuming, simple names like “Chocolate Pie.” When it should be called, “Slap You In the Ass and Make You Beg For More” chocolate pie. Maybe that’s not quite the vision we’re going for…but you get the idea.
Since I’m not going to post Ree’s recipe I might as well tell you some pie stories.
Oh, but first, I should mention the crust. I did make my own crust. Standard recipe, which I shared here. As you can see, the crust came out rather homely. Do I care? No. I am simply not a fancy crust person. I do a standard finger-pinch edge. I don’t brush it with egg wash to achieve an attractive brown color. I don’t have pie weights, which is why the crust kind of slumped down in the pan. Because, here’s what I figure: if you take a homely looking pie to a Friendsgiving and are known for your baking skills are any of your friends going to say, “That’s a homely looking pie. I don’t want any.”? No. And, if they do that’s chocolate pie that I get to bring home. And eat sitting on the floor in front of the refrigerator straight out of the pan. Which I’ve never done, but I’ve dreamed of doing.
I come from a family of pie makers and pie eaters. My relationship with pie has been long…and not particularly complex. Pie is, has been, and always will be, a family staple. Mom’s pumpkin. Grandma’s apple (when I was a kid it was Great-Grandma’s apple). Anyone’s blackberry. Sometimes, in the summer, peach. Though not blueberry. Not sure why. I suspect that it has more to do with the fact that Grandpa & Grandma had an abundance of apple trees and blackberry bushes than anyone being adverse to blueberry pie.
There did not have to be a special occasion for pie. I can remember being in…probably my early teens…and my cousins and I walking back to their house from an old mill pond where we had been swimming. We picked berries along the way. A mish-mash of whatever we found that was ripe. Because I had told them I would make us a pie. A casual thing. Tossed out. Because pie was not viewed as complex. Beloved…but not complex.
Maybe that’s why I don’t care what my crust looks like.
Though there was one time I cared.
A few years ago I decided to enter a blackberry pie into the local county fair. Because I make good pie. But, it turned out to be a struggle. First, a recipe had to accompany the pie. Not an issue for the crust. But, the filling for fruit pies, in my family, is done by taste. Impacted by a myriad of things: ripeness of fruit, tongue of the baker, etc. Second, remember the part about not using egg wash on the crust? When I took my homely blackberry pie to the fair to drop it off I was humbled (get it…humble pie?) by the competition. Fancy trim, deep, evenly brown crust. My pale pie did not stack up.
I didn’t win. I’ve not entered another pie since and I probably never will. Pie is supposed to bring me joy…not angst.
When I was a kid we had “freezer pie.” Now, that was a thing of beauty. In the summer, when all of those blackberries were ripe, and in the fall, when all those apples were falling from the trees, Mom would make freezer pies. Which simply means that she made and froze raw pies. Do you know what a treat it was to pull a pie out of the freezer in the middle of winter, bake it and enjoy fresh fruit pie when it’s raining sideways?
I’ve never met a pie I didn’t like.
I stand corrected. There is one kind of pie that is…well…wrong (sorry, Mom, you knew it was coming). Mince meat. Which will likely make an appearance at the Thanksgiving dessert table, yet again. Sigh. Sweetened meat should not be encased in pie crust and presented as…pie. It’s just wrong.
But, this evening there will be no icky pie (that’s waiting for next week. However, next week there will also be apple and pumpkin and pecan with bourban whipped cream and a pecan cheesecake. Because we wouldn’t want to skimp on dessert at Thanksgiving). This evening I will eat chocolate pie. With whipped cream. At Friendsgiving. In my stretchy pants.