I know! It was a surprise to me too! I think the last time I baked was chocolate chip cookies from pre-made cookie dough. Or heck, even the "awesome" blueberry muffins I made in high school for band trips...that were made from mix out of a box. Domestic, I am not. My definition of domestic has been largely in the cleaning area (which, I have gotten much better at then when I was in college, truth be told). I know how to cook a maximum of 4-5 dishes that aren't microwaved or made out of a box. And, not all of those are main courses. Granted the dishes I do know taste amazing, but I've mostly relied on friends and my husband for good home-cooked meals.
Then Nathan's birthday came around, and since we're poor I wanted to do something nice for him that wouldn't break the bank. I decided, initially, to make him a Key Lime Pie, since a pie that didn't have chocolate in it would obviously be a pie for him. I ended up telling him, because I can't keep a secret from him for anything. When I informed him of this, he says "Hun, I'm pretty sure Key Lime Pie is supposed to be pretty tough to make. You can pick something else if you want." (doubting my baking abilities, I'm sure) He then informs me that apple would be a perfectly fine substitute. "Crap, I can't bake an apple pie, I don't know how to make pie crust and you have to with apple cause you need one for the top (naive, I know)." "Buying me an apple pie is a perfectly fine birthday present.(again with the doubting)" "Done."
Done, until the actual day of his birthday when he's at work and my mother guilts me into baking him the pie by informing me that I can buy pie crusts that come in packs of two for one on top and claims it's not hard, and I should really just bake the pie. I hurriedly search for a recipe, find one online and dash to the store. At this point I'm completely panicked because I was starting this adventure with no plan and limited time to pull it all together since I was getting a late start due to the whole, just gonna buy it thing. I'm a huge perfectionist. The idea of doing something new like this without a set game plan panics the hell out of me.
Oh, and by the way mom, that whole "not hard" thing, yeah, you are full of it. That freakin thing took me 4 hours, about gave me carpal tunnel from all the peeling, and involved a frantic phone call to mom where the first thing I said to her when she picked up is "I can't believe I let you talk me into this!!!!" It turns out eight apples is too many, and that sent me into a panic about whether or not my portions for the other ingredients were off (I'm an OCD scientist, I freak if equations get messed up. Sue me.) There was another panicking moment when I went to put the top crust on, and it proceeded to completely fall apart on me. BUT it was all worth it to make my baby something special for his birthday. (I'm aware you're all gagging, shush it) Despite the panicking here are the results, which in my and my husbands opinion, tasted DELICIOUS:
|The ingredients before going in the pie. The pan is sitting on top of books because I don't own a wire rack to let things cool.|
|Before putting the top part on. The recipe actually makes too much filling, so there was a moment with the smoke detector when some started bubbling out when baking.|
|The final product. You can't tell, but the edges were burnt, and all I could manage of the top was trying to cut steam vents in with a fork instead of latticing the top, but I was INORDINATELY pleased with myself|
Skip to a couple weeks later, I'm sitting at home again last weekend while Nathan was at work, looking for something to do. His new job means he works most weekends, so I'm finding myself with a lot more free time on my hands. I decided to see if the fact that the apple pie tasted so good was beginners luck. I went with blueberry this time because it was something I knew we both liked and there wouldn't be peeling involved.
Holy crap was this one easier. The prep took me literally, 20 minutes. Again, because of the lack of peeling and slicing, and also because you don't really make the filling before hand. Just throw the ingredients in and the filling cooks as the pie bakes. It was going so quickly, no ingredient photo was taken (a disappointment to all, obviously.)
|Before baking: I decided to try the whole lattice top thing since it was so easy to make. I was quite pleased for the fact that it was my first attempt.|
|Final product. Fun fact: I zoomed in on the pie to disguise the fact that one of the books used for my makeshift cooling rack was a cheesy romance novel. I'm A GIRL! Stop judging. Also, no burnt crust!|