Saturday, December 10, 2016

In search of perfection

I'm not usually considered a perfectionist.  I've never "done my very best" at anything I've attempted.  I just sort of flow like a stream, rolling around the rocks and bumps and sometimes rushing over the banks and out of the regular channel.  On many of the report cards I received throughout my school years after fifth grade, teachers penned these words:  "Donna is capable of much better work" or "Donna isn't putting forth her full effort".

I don't recall either of my parents being upset over my grades, either.  I have continued living my sub-par life right up to this very day, pretty happy about things in general and letting others put whatever "grade" on my life they think is accurate.  

Some of my longtime readers might recall how I decided my baking powder biscuits, which people had always loved, weren't as good as the buttermilk biscuits made by ladies from the south.  I was like one possessed, each time I made biscuits making some slight addition or change, until finally they were perfect.  Biscuit Nirvana!

Now, moving on:  We had a lovely Thanksgiving day with the grandson, our daughter's family, and some of the grandson's wife's relatives.  There was food aplenty, so much that some of the desserts were hardly touched.  We chatted and laughed throughout the huge meal.  Then I went over to examine the desserts and spied the loveliest pumpkin pie I have ever seen.  There was something special about how that crust looked, and out of all those desserts in front of me, I chose pumpkin pie made by Heather's grandma... even though there was one I had made earlier on my own kitchen table.  

The crust on Sandy's pumpkin pie was the lightest, airiest I have ever experienced.  Wow!  I can't make pies often because Cliff and I put on weight like prize hogs, given the chance.  But I wanted, just once, to make a pie crust like that one.  It's sort of like my biscuit story:  I thought I really made a great pie crust all these years, but now I realized I could do better.  

Sandy doesn't share recipes, though.  For several days after the big dinner, I joked with Cliff, Heather, and Arick:  "Thanksgiving," I told them, "was one of the worst days of my life.  That's the day I found out my piecrust sucks."

It doesn't, of course, except in comparison to Sandy's version.  I use the standard recipe found in Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, making sure not to handle it more than necessary and following all the rules.  But if I was able to discover biscuit Nirvana, is it possible I could find pie crust Nirvana before I shuffle off this mortal coil?  

I've been craving a Buck Buchanan sweet potato pie and decided to make one today, just for us.  As I was preparing to make the crust, I thought about Sandy's pie crust recipe.

I stopped what I was doing and came to the computer, where I typed in "light flaky pie crust".  The first recipe on the page used the same amount of flour I planned to use, but instead of 1/3 cup of Crisco it called for 1/2 cup of butter.  And after it was mixed up, it was to be wrapped in plastic wrap and placed in the refrigerator for four hours (or overnight).  

I remember my mom making pie crust and putting it in the refrigerator until later, but I hate any recipe that makes me wait four hours or longer to finish it.  This morning, though, I decided to try it and see if there was a difference.  We'll find out soon.  If you notice me and Cliff putting on weight in the near future, it may be because I'm doing a scientific study on pie crust.  

Wish us luck.    

This is just an image from the Internet, but it looks right.


I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

I had one of those light and flaky crusts on a pumpkin pie this year for Thanksgiving too. One of my DIL's grandmother made it and they brought two of these to share at our family get together. I haven't asked her for her crust recipe, but I should. It'll be interesting to see how your's turns out.

Celeste Sanders Holloway said...

sent me searching recipes

Rita said...

My daughter and I love to cook and bake! We have some great family recipes! You like it? Here is the recipe. One of our family recipes has won awards!

My daughter was dating a young man whose mother made a couple of things that my daughter wanted the recipe for. The woman started crying! She did not share recipes!

Where in the world did this tradition or idea that you can't share recipes get started? I think it is nuts!

Jean said...

Your pie crust looks so good. I just use the ones from the grocery store, but now you have me wanting to try making one. Looking forward to hearing how good it was. Jean

Paula said...

Some of the things you write remind me so much of myself. I never put myself out for grades either. I really had other fish I would have rather been frying, so to speak. As for recipes I once ask a lady for one for a very good pie she took to a lunch. She gave it to me and after the first time I realized she was leaving the sugar out because she really didn't want to give out the recipe. I was pretty proud of myself that I figured that out and improvised and it came out as good as hers. At least I thought so.


Good luck experimenting. And taste testing.

krueth said...

I think its crazy people not wanting to share a recipe. I take it as a compliment if someone wants one of my recipes. Nothing like a good pie crust though Mmm! Wendy