I am a cook for the most part. I say that because I like it. I especially like it when I have a lot on my mind and want to get it off. This past week proved to be a cooking-therapy week, so I decided to try something I’d seen my grandfather do: bake a pie with no recipe. This is huge for me because anyone who knows me knows I always use a recipe; even if it’s something I’ve cooked a million times I feel naked if I don’t follow the directions — maybe that’s the project manager coming out — anyway this time I felt emboldened to fly by the seat of my pants, so I grabbed the six leftover apples my husband had neglected to eat since I bought them two weeks ago (yes, they were still good) and I commenced slicing them up.
Then I tried to remember, ‘what did grandpa put in those apples?’ I figured it was sugar and cinnamon — at least that sounded good — so these were thrown into the bowl of sliced apples. Hmm, what else? Well I think he dabbed some butter on top, then I recalled that some white stuff was also showing before he put on the top crust, so I assumed that was flour and began sprinkling some in with the rest of the stuff. At this point my husband walks in and as part of his usual routine, he dips his grubby fingers into the bowl and pulls out a sample. Just so you know, my husband cannot hide anything, so I waited for ‘a sign,’ but none came and he went off to his manspace seemingly unaware of this experiment. So far so good.
Next I placed the bottom of a two-crust package of pie dough in the aluminum pan and was about to pour the filling when it occurred to me that it might need vanilla. I mean, just about every dessert I make needs vanilla, so why not? In goes a teaspoon of that. At this point I can’t think of anything else to dress up this new concoction so on goes the top crust, a little egg wash (water, whites and a little sugar), a few poked holes for good measure and it’s into the oven.
Not knowing what temperature to set, I take a wild guess and choose 350. Then something tells me to find another pie in one of my cookbooks. It says the temperature should be 400. Ok so I turn it up and throw — ur — put the pie in. After about 20 minutes I notice it is starting to brown on the edges kind of fast (must be the egg wash). So I put one of those crust protectors I bought on a whim, over the pie. After another 15 minutes or so, the rest is beginning to brown and it kind of looks yummy.
Once it appears that this may be all she wrote, I pull the thing out and let it cool. The real test will be my husband. Will he approve? Well guess what? He doesn’t want any; he’s watching his weight. Right. Me too, but I ate some anyway and darn if that pie wasn’t delish! Just goes to show that ‘pantsing’ is not a bad idea.