You know how I carried on a few weeks ago about how crazy and practically un-American it was not to like cookies? Well, here's your chance to throw that all back at me because I will confess that I don't like fruit pies. Yes, no fruit pies for me, even though they're as American as you-know-what. When I first got the cookbook, I looked at the number of fruit pies in it, and told myself that it wouldn't be so bad spread out over two years.
Why don't I like fruit pie? Well, first there's the crust. I'll never get the hang of the rolling pin. My dough will never stay in even an approximate circle. When my friend Erika came over to help, she had to spend her first minutes in my kitchen cheering me up. She was very impressed with my new pastry wands, which she liked much better than the stretchy pieces of colored plastic I used for the Ischlers.
Soon she took over the rolling out of the dough. (Hers are the pretty hands without age spots). She said, "Hey, this is fun. I don't know why you're complaining so much." It appears that Erika is a natural at baking. Not that I'm jealous.
It's the fruit in a fruit pie that I object to. It's always a little bit of tasteless fruit in a gloppy, slimy sauce. What a waste of a perfectly good fruit. I'll admit there is plenty of fruit in this pie, so at least it doesn't appear likely that I'll only get three shriveled up little berries in a piece of pie. I used frozen blueberries and blackberries because at this time of the year, I figured frozen fruit would be better than fruit that's been shipped to Minnesota from Chile.
Erika said, "If you're taking pictures, don't you think it would be more photogenic to use your yellow spatula instead of the red one? It would stand out better against the berries." Did Jim sound a little testy when he asked Erika if she wanted to take the pictures?
The truth is, I've never made a double-crust pie before. I usually cry or curse with just the bottom piecrust, and I've always been afraid that I wouldn't come out alive if I tried a full-fledged, double-crust pie. The dough was handling beautifully, though, and we got the pie together without incident. We couldn't visualize how to do the berry decorations, so we settled on the five slashes in the top crust. "Marie," Erika said, "those really aren't evenly spaced."
"Oops," I said. "I forgot that we're now supposed to refrigerate for an hour. Let's just have a cup of coffee and we'll refrigerate it until we're done." "You don't really follow the directions very well, do you?" Erika pointed out. She's very helpful that way.
OK, so they're not perfectly even, but not so uneven that they'd cause you to gasp in horror. That's my beauty standard, and I don't care if it's a little low.
Erika had to leave, and I wanted to give her half the pie, so I cut into it well before the two hours cooling time was up. It was still very juicy, but I could see that each piece of pie was going to have plenty of fruit. The sauce was neither gloppy nor slimey; it just gently covered the fruit. And the crust actually looked ... well, it looked pretty passable.
You've probably already guessed that this pie story has a very happy ending. I loved this pie. After the pie was gone, I longed for another piece. I wished I hadn't given half of it to Erika. The fruit was noticeably fruit and there was plenty of it; sweet, but perked up with the spark of fresh lemon. And the crust! If they gave Nobel prizes for pie crust, Rose would be a sure winner. (And there are worse ideas out there than giving a Nobel prize for pie crust). If I were a poet, I'd write an ode to "Perfect Flaky and Tender Cream Cheese Pie Crust."
Erika called me and said her 17-year-old daughter loved the pie, especially the crust. "I didn't know she even knew there was such a thing as pie crust." Everybody loved the pie but JJ, although he liked the ice cream with berry juice. He wouldn't try the crust. Just as well; then he'd be wanting pie every time he came over here. I'm already looking ahead in the schedule to see when the next fruit pie is. I love fruit pie!