The Rolling Pin Bake & Brew

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230c 2nd. St. * Bandon OR 97411 * 541-252-5244 * therollingpinbb.com

Shaped and size like a rolling pin, you would not BELIEVE the yummies they fit in here.

The Rolling Pin rolled up into downtown Bandon where they appear to be absolutely dominating the cupcake business. SPECIAL GUEST RACHEL and I barged in and noted they have sweet and savory deliciousnesses, including, I just realized, hand apple pies!

However, hand apple pies were not available on our visit, so we dove into their Herculean cupcake menu. If ever there was a cupcake to be had, ‘lo, it is here. This is your chance to escape reality. Besides the usual suspects, check out these flavors (short sample!); Tuxedo, Almond Joy, Kokomo, Lemon Lovers, Earl Gray, Funfetti?!? Each sounds like a magic carpet ride. The only cupcake missing was one shaped like a seagull head, which sounds disgusting and it is but hear me out. Years prior I was with Rachel’s mom’s golden retriever on the beach where he was romping away. I kept wondering why this bouncing bundle of joy was making people scream until he ran up to me and smiled.

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GAH!

Perched on his tongue staring at me was a perfectly preserved seagull HEAD. My turn to shriek. I’d love to see Bandon Bake & Brew create a seagull head cupcake in honor of doggo’s great caper, but for some reason they might not go for it.

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Le Piece de Resistance

SPECIAL GUEST RACHEL and I took some Death By Chocolate/Not Seagull Head cupcakes to her pad, to be devoured under the watchful eye of her fantastical makaw. There are many reasons why Rachel is a special guest, for example, anyone living with a giant wild bird that can live for 80 years and bite your finger off is quite the brave character. Ask how she ended up with this loving commitment. Until then, let it be known Rachel and I met in college and became besties, which means we love each other and can destroy lives with shared knowledge of each others’ shenanigans. I’ll just state the fact that Rachel is a hospice nurse –  a most badass of jobs –  and even more crazy impressive is the fact that a hospice nurse in my parents’ home knew Rachel and absolutely worshipped her. To achieve this level of badassery is incomprehensible to me, so for god’s sake Rachel deserves all the spaghetti I can cook and pie and cupcakes whenever needed. That said,  a hospice nurse choosing Death By Chocolate cupcakes implies subconscious irony only and not of plotting a pleasant way to check out. I swear.

Oh! And those devilish cupcakes? Definitely magic. Even when scarfed under the watchful eye of Rico the Flying Dragon:

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Rico on HIS magic carpet ride

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Surfing and Strolling near Rolling Pin Bake & Brew

SURFING: I didn’t have my gear with me, but it appears if you find a place without giant boulders and no boats to mow you over and no territorial teenagers, you’re in luck. Likewise find days when it is not windy HA!!!

STROLLING: I combo-ed this with a half-arsed surf check. You can get a great lengthy stroll along Bandon beach, complete with tide pools and doggies running around with severed bird heads.

Bandon Baking Company & Deli

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160 2nd. St. SW * Bandon OR 97411 * 541-347-9440 * Bandonbakingco.com

To heck with it, here’s a quote straight from Bandon Baking Co’s website; “… When you NEED a cookie, pastry, dessert, French styled croissant, or a hand crafted loaf of bread – The bakery has been the go to place for locals and travellers alike…”

Yes I DO need! And so does my SPECIAL GUEST pal Rachel. That means a local (her) and traveller (me) did indeed go to the Bandon Baking Co.  and picked up a couple of ‘pie bars.’ These were basically pie slices shaped into slabs which I justified as ‘power bars’ because of the shape. And by inserting ‘Deli’ into their name, this implies the joint is not only a bakery, but serves full meals. Thus Rachel and I had those health bars for breakfast. A more delicious breakfast can not be had, nor more suitably sustaining for scuffling around Bandon beach in the 40 knot winds or whatever loco is on tap that day.

The Baking Company itself is easy to find, though she and I have not always been so navigationally savvy. One day many moons ago we decided to whip up from the San Francisco Bay Area to her hometown of Bandon by way of the scenic coastal route. Mistake. Nothing like driving behind RV’s scraping the side of the road pretending they’re tractors for hours and hours. Then we saw a sign for our next highway, which, relieved to free ourselves from the slow lane,  we foolishly took. Two hours later we find ourselves on the highway we wanted – but 150 miles SOUTH of  where we wanted to pop out. Oops! Could that highway sign have not been more specific? Must we be forced to consult actual maps?

 We arrived in Bandon Oregon in the pitch dark and many hours later with only a smattering of people worried about what the hell happened. I’m positive we ate at Bandon Baking Company on that trip, but too bad we did not eat pie THEN. Now thanks to the knowledge that comes with age, we know that pie is needed for any road trip.

I have no photo of our bakery pit stop, but here is a rendering of a photo we took in college – I’m pretty sure this was right before our incredible journey north:

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Pisces sign or This Explains Everything

 

Thank you for feeding us, Bandon Baking Company!

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SURFING: I didn’t have my gear with me, but if you find a place without giant boulders and no boats to mow you over and no territorial teenagers, you might be in luck. Likewise find days when it is not windy HA!!!

STROLLING: I combo-ed this with a half-arsed surf check. You can get a great lengthy stroll along Bandon beach, complete with tide pools and doggies running around with severed bird heads.

 

Bailey’s Bakery & Cafe

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26910 Sandridge Rd * Nahcotta WA 98637 * 360-665-4449 * Baileysbakerycafe.com

Incognito bakery and baker! Okay, Bailey’s Bakery isn’t incognito, but the baker we talked to wished to remain anonymous, which only adds to this place’s appeal.

Bailey’s is a charming cottage that’s popped up in the semi-out-of-the-way northern part of the Long Beach peninsula. You wouldn’t stumble across it, you have to know it’s THERE. Local knowledge helps, and that’s where my SPECIAL GUEST KIM COOPER comes into play.

 Bailey’s is perfectly situated for an aprés bog hike bite, and that’s exactly what Kim and I did. We swooped in – two damp wee Sasquatches – and stared at the counter display. Pies, Cinnamon rolls, cake, rooooaaaarrrr! Incognito Baker Dude told us that all pies were made with buttermilk, which limited my diary impaired arse but boy can you imagine the FLAVOR of all those desserts?!

I ‘made do’ with chocolate cake which swear to god was like the most scrumptious fudge I’ve ever eaten.  Kim grabbed more pie of course, and both of us went amazeballs over Bailey’s cinnamon rolls. They’re called, ‘ Thunder Buns’; say that out loud and test your maturity level.

In homage to the fabulous Bailey’s, here is a montage of Thunder Buns and other impressions of the Long Beach peninsula. No one but the artist is to blame for this mess:

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Thunder Buns disapprove of over-arty-fartiness

Bailey’s baking prowess and Thunder Buns make me wax philosophical. What if, instead of thunder clouds, we had Thunder Buns? Would the air smell of cinnamon rolls instead of ozone? Would Thor wield a rolling pin instead of a hammer? That’s a god to believe in!

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Surfing and Strolling near Bailey’s Bakery & Cafe

SURFING: This is located on the Long Beach Peninsula. Alas no surf attempts this time ‘round.

STROLLING: Willapa Wildlife Refuge looks intriguing, but we hiked around Cape Disappointment, which was anything but. Later we explored Leadbetter Point, which was a cross between peninsula, forest, beach, and bog hopping. Everything was lovely.

Special Guest! Meet…ASTRID!

A few months ago a friend quipped, “After times like these people often find enlightenment.”

“Hm”, I thought.

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Our Guide

Let me elaborate. ( This is where I lose the reader ) A couple of years back a cavalcade of not nice events started thundering into my immediate vicinity,  their number and variety for once not my own screw ups but resembling a weather pattern known as the Bomb Cyclone. The type that lasts  FAR TOO LONG.

Cliff Notes; Once upon a time a 30 year seasoned social worker walked into one of my situations and said, I quote, ” There’s nothing more you can do here. ”  Well geez. THAT, my friends, is a flavor of only the beginning of a flurry of exciting adventures and mishaps involving all sorts of death and loss and relentless mayhem that has turned my life into an Oprah Winfrey special, or That Sad Sack You Read About on the Internet but Never Thought You’d BE.  By year two, ‘Apocalyptic’ was the term coined by another lifelong grief counselor.  That’s a fair word, but I kinda think of this madness as a black hole – start with one loss…then another… …hoooey there’s more? ….then they start bunching up and getting super dense and sucking in MORE people and situations at a faster and faster rate until THERE IS NOBODY LEFT.

Well **** that. You don’t need the bullet list of details, however at loss #2 I said to heck with fiscal shouldas,  took the dead relative money and turned a dream into reality. Behold the enlightenment!

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* aaaaaaaaa…* ( angels singing )

ASTRID! This gorgeous gal – whose  name means ‘divine strength’ or ‘divine beauty’ – is an Alaskan Camper atop a one ton 4×4 truck with a utility bed conversion. She’s got solar. She’s got a sink. She’s got a stove AND an oven which means – yup, you guessed it – she can bake pie and we can eat pie ANYWHERE.

Instead of fantasizing about punching god in the face, when I’m not curled up in fetal position sobbing we’re  gonna obsess over the fun to be had. There’s a world of baked goods out there and with this rig no pie can hide from us.  Watch out! We. Are. On. Our. Way.

Uh-oh, another checklist!

Are we insane?  YES

Do we have any more flying fucks left to give? NO

Are we behoven to pie nomming, nature glamping, road warrior stuff-of-legends glory? YES

While driving do we sing to Sirius’ ‘ Hair Nation’ at top volume? ABSOLUTELY YES

Committed to excellence,

Madison C & Mr. Hooligan

CHILE PIES BAKING CO.

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601 Baker St. * San Francisco CA  94117 * 415-614-9411 AND 16290 Main St. * Guerneville CA 95446 * 707-666-9411

www.chilepiesbakingco.com

It took several days before I realized that Chile Pie’s logo is NOT a wheel. This is understandable because my SPECIAL GUESTS this time ’round – Robert & William – are my bestest friends in the universe,  I love hanging out with them so much I’m constantly inviting myself to their house. Therefore I’m kind of  a…okay,  I AM The Third Wheel.

 I don’t consider being a Third Wheel an insult, because think about it, three legged structures are pretty stable. Would you want to sit on a two-legged stool!? Exactly.

 Besides, Chile Pie Baking Company has such a huge pie selection, it took a team of three to sample it, and a fourth to complete the eating process.  No kidding! Pies vary by season, and narrowing down the selection in the moment felt like minor torture. Check out their whopping menu HERE. Chocolate pumpkin?! Pear cranberry?! Frito pies?? What is this place?!

Attempting to dent this huge selection, one rainy Friday I hijacked Robert and William to Chile’s San Francisco panhandle location.  (Oh hail, appropriately named address.) Whereupon arrival I finally understood that I had rorschach tested myself on their logo;  ‘Chile’s Wheel’ is a PIE CRUST.  Well then.   Psychoanalyze THAT. Thus enlightened, we snagged a medley of take-out goodies: two chicken chile pot pies, two green chile apple pies, chicken hand pie, chocolate malted pie, and vegan apple chai pie.

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Only one pie here plus the black shadow

  Oh my goodness. These pies are FANTASTIC. We ate in shocked silence which is a rarity for this trio of sarcastic chatterboxes.  My ‘contribution’, the vegan apple chai pie, defies description, and I’m still wondering if it’s the hand of god that chopped the apples so evenly and perfected the chai cinnamon spice. Everything got inhaled, barring a chicken chile and chile apple which I brought home to share with The Pie Eating Heathen.

 Then disaster! The chile apple pie features a cheddar cheese crust, which sounds amazing but I can’t digest dairy. Wait, what?! Who makes a blog about pie but can’t freaking digest dairy products? Yup, that casein is a doozy. Let’s just say I have a ‘system’,  but that said I can never, goshallmighty ever, eat cow’s milk cheese.

 This setback deterred me for .3 seconds until I grabbed a fork and, er, reshaped the interior of the chile apple slice. I warned the  Pie Eating Heathen, but having access to the entire chicken pot pie mellowed any potential protests regarding pie restructuring. His pies disappeared quickly too!

 We vowed to return to Chile’s and eat more pie. And YOU should vow, besides eating more pie, to check out Robert’s cartoon work. He’s an underground legend, and hilarious.

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Unlike me, Robert draws excellent backgrounds

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 SURFING and STROLLING near CHILI PIES BAKING CO. 

[ Pie tastes better when you’re hungry ]

Special Guest! Stacey Marie

Pies of the West Presents: special guest STACEY MARIE !

(Experimental Baking in a Properly Equipped Kitchen)

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Chef Improvisator Extraordinaire

Stacey Marie and I met on a surf/camping trip and instantly recognized each other from the Tribe of Dork; Girly Tomboy Division. She is a wicked improvisatory cook and a massage therapist with a cult following, check out her business * cough plug cough * Pacifica Massage and Wellness.

Why Guest Star this lass? One day at Home Break, Stacey charged into a detonating wave with such panache that her pummeling is seared into memory forever. I was curious how this chutzpah spelled out in the kitchen, so we arranged for an experimental pie-bake. Heed our results:

After hemming  and hawing we decided to flow with a) vegan curry tofu pie, and b) peapple pie. What is peapple pie? Primarily, it’s not PEOPLE pie, as my effing autocorrect insists. Peapple pie is peach and apple, pronounce at your own risk.

Stacey’s kitchen is chock full of spices and ingredients, plus mixers and quality Useful Gadgetry. Polar opposite of cooking in my kitchen – mine’s that puzzle you’re working on with missing pieces, but you don’t know which pieces and you don’t even know what the damn picture is since the puzzle box lid accidentally got recycled. Just as well Stacey’s place is prepared, as we had some challenges. And I’m not talking our music playlist that refused to comply until we put on Kevin Costner. ( You must try this. )

Our first challenge was the crust, and we chose two; vegan xantham-gum free, and polenta. Xantham gum , that which binds all together, is common in vegan dishes but turns my gut into Waterloo. Ok. Nix the xantham.

How does vegan xantham-free dough turn out? Why, like shit.

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Best use for vegan-xantham-free dough; as Rage Missile

We did everything right; mixed it just so, gently mooshed the dough, freezered the dough, coddled that dang dough. Despite our efforts the dough kept breaking off into a zillion crumbs like so many rabbit turds. In the end we pushed bits of the mixture into little pie tins with our thumbs – rest assured this is not a move Stacey pulls on clients. In any case the crusts were U.G.L.Y. But effective. By the time we reached the final dollops of dough, it was warm. And what happened? It stuck together and rolled out! Did we hallucinate, or does vegan xantham-free dough work better when it’s WARM?!?! Arrrrg!

No debate here, the best thing to do with vegan xantham-free dough is to hurl it as a Rage Missile at Kevin Costner while he’s singing. The two are meant to be together. To illustrate, I only had one measly sheet of paper to mess with, so I present zero perspective, Mr. Costner doesn’t look remotely like himself, and his legs are stumps:

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How fitting.

Now it was time for polenta. We simply boiled the polenta, threw in some vegan butter, and after it cooled we – easily, mind you – placed it into the wee tins and pre-baked to harden the crust. Perfection. *Ding ding dingdingdingdingdingding!!* Polenta wins!

Stacey walked me through the ingredients for the curry pie; tofu, celery, mushrooms, squash, onion, ginger, tomato paste, garlic, ginger, coriander, water, coconut oil, some kind of voodoo salt, what other spices am I missing? The curry itself involved this process of caramelizing tomato paste, garlic, ginger, onion, spices, coconut oil, water as needed by cooking the lot in a saucepan until it was scrape-able off the bottom of the pan. Here I discovered the merits of proper wooden spoons for scraping and tasting and ingredient wrangling. Totally better than metal ones from garage sales don’t ask.

Next we mixed and cooked the rest of the ingredients, where Stacey enlightened me that it’s best to cut food into same-sized pieces, so every bit will cook at the same speed. Another one of those slap-head-obvious-but-I’d-never-ever-guess and it’s great tips!

Not obvious was stumbling into an unexpected PERIL – Stacey’s mom called during the chopping process. Public service announcement: if you value your life, do NOT answer certain phone calls while baking. We almost lost it here. Note below how Stacey keeps her cool, though the ingredients suffer from emotive transference.

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Disaster averted, we made way for the peapples. These babies couldn’t have been easier. Chop the peaches and apples into same size bits, plop into wee tins featuring lovely polenta or goddamn vegan xantham-free crusts and BAM! Ready to bake.

In the end we had DELICIOUS vegan curry and peapple pies that tasted fantastic. Every bite vanished within 24 hours. Stacey, you’re a genius! Not even our rabbit-turd vegan dough ruined the filling flavor. Shazaaaaam!

So there you have it. Stacey’s vegan curry recipe is super nommy, peapple pie is ‘new’ and delicious, and I like my first portrait so much I’m including it twice:

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Look, I can do flattering portraits too

Thank you, Stacey Marie!

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BONUS QUIZ!

Xantham gum is:

a) your friend

b) some nasty s***

c) a deity from Scientology

d) everywhere

Polenta is:

a) a type of Italian car

b) a word that almost rhymes with ‘Olestra’, but doesn’t

L)  your new best friend

d) mysterious

Kevin Costner:

a) is also mysterious

b) bakes pie but probably not with xantham-free vegan dough

c) did a great job with ‘The Hatfields and McCoys’

y) has a sense of humor such that he will overlook my mockery and super crap doodle

Peapple Pie is:

a) trademarked by Stacey Marie and Madison

b) unpronounceable

x) perfect for all meals and occasions

d) too yummy to be a Rage Missile

Vegan Tofu Curry Pie is:

a) healthy and delicious

9) great, so long as you avoid the rabbit-turd xantham-free vegan dough

*) a hippie’s dream

V) genius invention of Stacey Marie

VICTORIA’S PIE BAKING LESSON

INTRO & INFO: at Victoria’s Last Resort, pastry chef Victoria will give cooking lessons! In a hubristic fit, I tape recorded our entire session. In other words, I spaced the fact that we would be yakking over banging, clanging, whirring kitchen implements, and that said cacophony would be transcribed by moi – a woman with a bona fide hearing condition. The amount of pies that could have been baked while I slogged through the material are beyond counting. A typical recorded sentence rattling through my ears would sound like; “…get the butter down to little nieces that are about ass dig assa sugar boob, before you add hotter to it Antoine it into a ‘ho. ” Victoria has not only been invaluable in sharing with us her tips for bitchin’ pie, she could easily moonlight as a translator for the deaf. Victoria, you RULE!

SALIENT POINTS

(If your eyes are already burning )

I tried to cut the lesson down to the essentials, but Victoria shared so many hot tips, I had to include everything. If you want to skip my mindless mumbling, the only info you need are these salient points. All jewels here were gleaned from the Bliss Den aka the kitchen at V.L.R.

A) Keep everything COLD! Cold butter, cold ice cubes, preferably cold hands…

B) …and a cold heart will work feasibly, but it’s not recommended. Cold feet are N/A.

C) One basic pie dough will be hunky-dory for both sweet and savory ingredients.

D) Simple, fresh fruits are the bomb. Use minimal sugar to enhance the fruit flavor.

E) Keep some visible whirls of butter in the dough. If you don’t then it’s time to ditch that lame-ass diet.

F) Rest the dough before you roll it out, or things will get interesting.

G) Gluten is a wiley substance and its uses vary from pie dough, to tart dough, to bread dough. For pie you gotta lure the gluten out, and then let it rest until it’s zen enough to make trouble.

H) Victoria is afraid of nothing.

I) There is no limit to what you can put in a pie. No limit!

J) Roll the dough out starting from the middle. Or else you’ll be making a 3D topographical map of Mt. Tamalpais.

K) Madison can inhale more fresh-baked pie than a Hoover vacuum cleaner.

L) Make a vent at the top of a fold over pie, or suffer the consequences.

M) Use a preheated, HOT oven! 375 or 400F, unless you have a thing for MOOSH. Open-faced pies need more baking time than fold-overs. 20 + minutes to start, go from there…

” The main thing in making a pie dough is keeping everything really cold. I measure the flour, chop the butter and put it in the mixing bowl..along with the blade and let it all stay in the freezer for a good 30 minutes. Keeping the butter cold keeps the butter from blending into the flour which allows it to melt when baking, creating a pocket layer of butter which then becomes the flakiness we look for in a pie crust. “

”  Pie dough should have visible marble sized bits of butter and then you add the water. You will see streaks of butter in the finished dough. Only mix long enough to form the dough.”

                                                                               – Victoria, Pastry Poobah-

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VICTORIA’S LAST RESORT PIE MAKING TRANSCRIPTION

VICTORIA: So. We have to start with pie crust, because really, how do you start pie without pie crust? The main trick, that I have learned, for pie crust, is, everything has to be cold.

MADISON: [ muttered under breath with awe ] …Cooooooold…

VICTORIA: …Now I don’t know if you have a mixer like this, but that’s how I do it.

MADISON: I have nothing. [ mutter ]

VIC: Did you have a question? You can do it by hand.

MAD: Um. Just a bad joke.

VIC: Oh. [ laughs mysteriously ]

MAD: Can you make good pie with a cold heart?

VIC: As long as you have cold hands, I think that’s good. That was a problem that I’ve always had because my hands are so hot I’ve had to work really fast. But the idea is, I use four cups of butter, no wait, four cups of flour and a pound of butter, and I cut them into small pieces and everything’s frozen solid for this part…

[ clanking noises ]

…What you’re trying to do when you do a crust like this is get the butter down to little pieces that are about as big as sugar cubes, before you add water to it and turn it into a dough.

[ stuff thrown into blender, loud whirring noises, shouting above it, most of it unintelligible ]

MAD: WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE KINDS OF PIE?!

VIC: I LIKE REALLY SIMPLE, FRESH FRUIT, I DON’T LIKE TO USE A LOT OF SUGAR BECAUSE FOR ME WHEN I TASTE PIES THEY’RE USUALLY TOO SWEET, AND I THINK IT TAKES AWAY FROM THE FLAVOR OF WHAT YOU’RE PUTTING IN IT…

I USE ONE BASIC PIE DOUGH, SO YOU CAN USE IT FOR SAVORY THINGS TOO, AND IT HAS JUST A NICE TEXTURE. IF YOU WANT TO BE SWEETER YOU CAN ADD SUGAR – EITHER A 1/4 CUP AT MOST TO THE DOUGH ITSELF, OR ROLL THE SAVORY DOUGH OUT ON THE SUGAR INSTEAD OF THE FLOUR. 

MAD: [ blonde moment ] SO YOU USE THE SAME DOUGH FOR SWEET AND SAVORY?

VIC: YEAH. I DO. THEN THE DOUGH ITSELF ISN’T INTERFERING WITH YOUR FILLER. PIE DOUGHS ARE A LITTLE DIFFERENT THAN TART DOUGHS BECAUSE YOU WANT BIGGER CHUNKS OF BUTTER IN THEM [ in the pie dough ] …WHICH YOU CAN KIND OF SEE THERE –

[ continued whirring. MAD and VIC peer into the blender. ]

– THE MARBLING OF THE BUTTER.

MAD: [ enlightened! ] Aaaaaa! SO YOU WANT MORE AND MORE BUTTER IN PIE DOUGH. 

VIC: YEAH, YOU WANT TO SEE MORE BUTTER IN THE PIE DOUGH. AND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PIE DOUGH AND TART DOUGH IS, IN A PIE DOUGH, I’LL COMBINE THE BUTTER AND FLOUR AND THEN TAKE A CUP OF ICE WATER TO FINISH IT, TO BRING OUT THE GLUTEN IN THE FLOUR AND GIVE IT MORE OF AN ELASTICITY. AND FOR TART DOUGH, THE BITS OF THE BUTTER GET SMALLER TO PEA SIZE AND NO WATER IS ADDED, THE DOUGH IS FORMED WHEN YOU CAN SQUEEZE IT AN DIT HOLDS THE SHAPE. IT’S KIND OF AMAZING, ALL THE THINGS YOU CAN DO WITH JUST THREE INGREDIENTS, REALLY. 

[ a lot more unintelligible muttering ]

VIC: THEN, OF COURSE, FILLING! I THINK THAT THE CLOSER YOU ARE TO THE ORIGINAL PRODUCT – LIKE, IF YOU GET REALLY RIPE, REALLY GOOD FRUIT –

MAD: [ again feigning knowledge ] MMM HMM

VIC: – YOU DON’T WANT TO ADD A TON OF SUGAR, AND YOU DON’T WANT TO ADD A TON OF FLAVORING, BECAUSE THAT DETRACTS FROM YOUR PRODUCT – THAT’S MY THEORY ANYWAY…

MAD: [ based on whorfing Victoria’s pies and tarts already, hearty agreement ] YEAH! YEAH!

VIC: …AND REALLY YOU CAN PUT ANYTHING YOU WANT IN IT. THERE’S NO LIMIT TO THE FILLING PART OF IT. 

MAD: [ sounds of glee ] 

VIC: WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PART, WHAT DO YOU LIKE THE BEST?

MAD: [ excited speech! ] YOU SEE, THAT’S THE WHOLE PART OF THIS QUEST, IT’S TO TRY THEM ALL, AND THEN…AND..THEN…[ dissolves into excited mumbling ]

VIC: NOW THIS IS PROBABLY JUST ABOUT THERE…

[ the whirring stops! ]

VIC: And if you look, you can see that most of the butter is incorporated, but you can still find chunks of it in there. And they’re not huge, but you still want to have a presence of the chunks of the butter.

So then, the last thing you do- and again you’re ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS working with really COLD ingredients – …And I hardly ever measure…

MAD: Ah HA, you’re one of those ‘ non-measurers! ‘

VIC: I know! When I make a pizza dough I fill the quisinart with flour, and I use this one big glass for the water, and it’s just all eyeball…but I will measure this…

…so I use this chilled cup of water…and sometimes I put ice in it, but I had this one thing happen where the ice wasn’t fully melted and I had these little ice BLOBS in the crust.

MAD AND VIC: …Ha hahaha!

VIC: Ice blobs are NOT good!

 So. Here’s the trick!

[ puts chilled water in the mixer. REALLY loud whirring, with completely unintelligible conversation interspersed. Whirring stops. ]

VIC: You just want to be able to poke it like that and have it hold together…

[ puts dough on table ]

MAD: Does the dish taste better, the bigger mess you make?

VIC: Ummmm…

MAD: It always does for me.

VIC: I got really bad because I worked in a restaurant and they had a big ol’ cleaning crew who would come in after me so I never really thought about it. And my poor boyfriend has to clean up after me and he says, ” Do you HAVE to be so messy?!”

MAD: heh heh heh ha ha…

VIC: I don’t MEAN to be, it just HAPPENS!

 The other thing about pie dough is, once you get it made, flour does this really weird thing when you work with it. It creates a gluten. And if you don’t let the dough rest, in between – like, if I tried to roll this out right now, because I’ve just been beating on it, it is so impossibly STIFF. We’ll even try it, I’ll show you what I’m talking about. It’s kind of wild, it’s like you can’t get it to MOVE, it won’t spread out. And when the dough’s rested, the gluten bonds break, and then it’ll give, and you can actually do something with it.

MAD: [ brilliant observation ] You kind of moosh them…

VIC: Yeah. Moosh. What I do is I form it into little balls, and set it aside so it can rest. You just kind of smooth it together and get all these cracks out of it, so basically you have one smooth PAD of dough like that…

[ sound of exertion ]

VIC: There you go…

 You can see, as long as it’s got some marbling in it, then it’s good. And then I’ll just take it, and plastic wrap it, and I usually just check it over and get the air out of it when it’s wrapped like that.

[ industrious wrapping noises ]

VIC: Make sure all the edges are covered so there’s no air in it…

MAD: [ giggles ]

VIC: Now those will go in the fridge to chilllll…Now about 20 minutes, 30 minutes…to give it just enough time…now in the DOUGH you don’t want a lot of gluten, but in a BREAD you do.

MAD: [ singing ] La lalala la la LAAA…

VIC: And then…we can make PIES.

MAD: Heh heh heh heh!

VIC: Now for the fun part of our afternoon.

MAD: I love dough.

VIC: Dough freezes really well, that’s the beauty of it. If I make a pretty big batch of it, and in the process there’s some leftover, then I’ll have extra dough if I need a pie…because you just never know…

And now we have a hundred options we can do! If you want something sweeter for a filling there’s a caramel sauce I made last night…

MAD: Ooo…

VIC: You name it and we can make a pie out of it! We can do…uhhh…[ rooting around the refrigerator ] … Chocolate…there’s also some pastry cream that I made…which is just really basic. It starts with a couple cups of milk, mixed up with flour and sugar to thicken it, and then it gets egg yolk. And you can bake that in there – this is usually a tart filling, like a fruit tart where you put it on the bottom – and that’s an option too.

MAD: My gooooooosh. [ blissful pondering ] And there’s blueberries, and strawberries, and blackberries, and…why don’t we go with a fruit…a fruit something.

VIC: HEH HEH HEH HEH! You can add a little caramel sauce to it, if you like it a little sweeter – you can always sweeten up the filling, you’re not limited to –

MAD: – Let’s just do the berries.

VIC: So thennn we will wash them and slice them up! When I’ve finished with the prep for berries I sprinkle just a TINY bit of sprinkled sugar on them…

[ berries being prepped ]

MAD: So, what are you most afraid of your students doing? Breaking stuff? Setting things on fire?

VIC: [ stalwart ] I’m not afraid of anything,. I would always get cooking students when I was doing this for a living. [ more berry wrangling ]

[ washing and prep noises ]

MAD: I’m going to make you famous.

VIC: GUFFAW! I’m already infamous, I might as well be famous.

MAD: You can be both…Hey these are the same counter tops that we had growing up in our house.

VIC: You did? I wanted those and they talked me out of it! They said, ” Oh, no no we don’t DO stainless counter tops”, because they were afraid people would complain when they got all scratchy…and I love it…

MAD: These things could withstand nuclear attack!

VIC: I KNOW! It’s so stupid…nothing absorbs into it! There’s a reason they use it for surgical tables.

[ pulling out dough ] 

VIC: Okay, this might be unfrozen enough to work with…So, I usually just do a little pop of flour on the bottom, a little pop on the top, so you’re not sticking to the rolling pin – which is a complete pain in the behind. [ bashing around noises ] I just edited myself from saying, ” Ass”.

MAD: Haha.

VIC: Now the trick with pie dough is, you want to roll it out as even as you can…[ sounds of dough pounding ] you’ll have to do it a little hard core swishing it around for a minute, to get it to relax…let’s take a look at another batch to see what it does when it’s NOT ready…

MAD: Does it kind of flake off, or something?

VIC: No, it usually just doesn’t ROLL. You can hit it all the time –

[ sounds of MAD struggling with dough rolling ]

VIC: Try the trick – you don’t want to go back and forth, you want to push from the center, and push it like you’re going out from the center –

MAD: Mm hm…

VIC: And you’re always trying to keep maintaining some sort of evenness…Exactly. And move it around…mm hm…and come out this side…there you go…you just go, JUST keep going in a circle…and you’ll see it, it’ll sorta start –

MAD: [ unintelligible confused muttering ]

VIC: Just go and get it rolled out and you’ll see what I’m talking about. If you don’t stay with trying to keep it at the same thickness, then you end up with super thin bits, and…plus some muscle in that, Madison!

pie-baking

MAD: [ cracks up ] I’m annngrryyyy

[ sounds of pounding ]

VIC: There you go! Pretend you’re rolling out someone’s face…

More more more…it’s still too thick…And then, if you stop for a second, can sort of fell, it’s a little high on this side –

MAD: – Right here –

VIC: Yeah…You can almost feel it in the pin, too. You want the rolling pin to go even, like, if you put too much pressure on THIS side, then this side is going to be super thin and that’s not going to do it.

MAD: Woot!

VIC: It’s not being totally cooperative, it is kind of shrinking back.

MAD: Yeah, look at that – BOING!

VIC: Yeah, that’s the thing it does when it’s not fully, fully rested. When it’s REALLY not rested, you try to push it, and push it, and push it, and it’s like, “NO!” It is VERY uncooperative.

[ industrious sounds]

MAD: Eventually do you develop a PIE CRUST SENSITIVITY?

VIC: Yes you do.

I’m gonna put..just a…[ clanging pans and muttering]…just a LITTLE bit of some sugar in the filling…it makes the natural sugars in the fruit start juicing up…

[ more clanging industrious sounds ]

…Of course you can do this into a pie shell as well. But that’s not nearly as fun.

Let’s preheat the oven. I usually start it at about 375 or 400, because you want it to be a nice, hot oven, so that everything doesn’t go MUSH.

You want to do a big fold-over pie like that, or do you want it in an open, a regular pie dish pieee…

MAD: Let’s do fold-over! Are the cooking times the same, whether it’s a thin or fold-over crust?

VIC: No, it takes a little longer in a big open pie because you have to wait for the juices to get to a certain point and the crust needs to cook.

Alllriiiight. So. The main trick is, when you’re folding the thing over and you’re doing a pie filling like this, you can pack the pie filling nice and full, but on the edges here we’re going to put a little tiny drip of water, so when we fold it over it will almost glue the crust together, so it’ll seal. Otherwise we’ll have a giant OOZING mess.

MAD: [ clanging pan sound, random exclamation ]

VIC: Another trick, if you’re doing a really wet filling, you can run some egg white – you break it up, and use a paint brush, and that creates a little barrier.

MAD: [ muttering with concentration ] Water…to the…

[ VIC and MAD drip water on 1/2 of pie dough edges, fold it over and press the seams together. Then they press a fork into the seams. ]

VIC: There you go! So. Nooooooo, sometimes I put a little bit of butter and then sugar on top, but I do think the crust needs a tiny bit of sweetness, when you use it in this way. And then, anytime you’re doing this kind of a pie, we’re going to have to do a vent on the top, so that the heat and the steam has a place to go, aside from peeling open your seams.

I usually just put a tiiiny little bit of butter…and then, a tiny bit of sugar…And then we can carve a vent…so we can, make an ‘M’…

MAD: Aww. Or it could be two ‘V’s.

VIC: This is always the tricky part. [ amazingly loud, mysterious noises ] Getting the pie off the table…

MAD: [ whispers ] This is taking all of my concentration…

VIC: THAT’S IT! We made pies!

MAD: Yaaa-haaaay!

VIC: And nooow…

The oven doesn’t work.

Okay. Off we go. I’m going to put it on ‘convention bake’ and timer it four…let’s do 23, and see what happens there.

MAD: Wow!

VIC: That’s that! Not bad.

EPILOGUE: Delicious fold-over pies were devoured by a very happy Madison, Victoria, and Justin.

( Return to Victoria’s Last Resort on P of the W )