I was in the mood for pie, thanks in part to the pie book I was reading. I wasn’t really sure what kind of pie I wanted — I just knew I wanted pie.
So I got up early today and spent four hours making pie from scratch. I had two large cans of fruit that had been taking up real estate in my pantry, so I decided to use those. FIFO, you know? (First in, first out).
My first pie was supposed to be a canned fruit cocktail pie. When I opened the can, I was dismayed at how much pineapple there was in relation to the other fruits. Fruit cocktail, my ass. So I threw in three renegade pears that were close to expiring in my fridge.
Now, pears in Manila are a sorry lot. I think they come from China or Korea, and they are nothing like how pears should be. They’re watery, gritty, possess a texture like sayote (chayote) and worst of all, they don’t soften during baking. I only discovered that last tidbit during this baking session. The few times that I’ve seen imported Anjou pears in the market, I swoop them all up and eat them secretly in my room, sharing them with no one. Now there’s a pear.
I mistakenly used my deep-dish plate for my faux fruit cocktail-pear pie, leaving me with more plate than fruit. During baking, the canned fruit sort of shriveled up like they were afraid of the heat and then curled up, permanently petrified. The pears, on the other hand, remained as solid and as stubborn as the second they’d been sliced.
All told, it wasn’t that bad a pie. My crust was extra flaky, the filling was just a bit insipid. And I will never bake with local pears again.
My other disaster today is what I call my pseudo peach pudding pie. It was supposed to be a pie with a “cake” crust, a custard filling, and a peach topping. Because peaches are difficult, if not downright impossible to find in Manila, I used canned peaches.
The recipe calls for the cake crust to be spread onto the pie plate, for the custard filling to be poured carefully over that, and then baked for 30 minutes. The recipe gives no indication as to what the pie should look like or what its consistency should be after the specified baking time. What I got was a mixture that was firm around the perimeter but a somewhat wobbly center. Hmm, I thought, this looks like a cheesecake. Perhaps it’ll firm up later on.
I then proceeded with the rest of the recipe which called for arranging the sliced peaches around the pie and then carefully pouring over the sour cream-brown sugar-sauce before baking for the last five minutes. That went well and so I let the pie sit after it came out of the oven.
About 20 minutes later, I come back ready to try the pie, when what do I see but a jiggling mass in the center of the pie. Warning bells go off in my head, which only rang louder once I dug a spoon into the pie. While the cake crust had solidified, the cheesecake-like custard was soft. Paired with the sour-cream sauce, it was a literal puddle of peach on a plate.
But it was delectable, I must say. Sure, it was a runny mess, but every spoonful carried some soft cake crust, molten custard, and a sour cream sauce whose piquancy balanced the tartness of the peaches quite well.
One gratifying thing about baking I say, is that my mistakes are always edible. Not always pretty, but always edible.