Monday morning, I stepped into my new office kitchen with the overwhelming desire to make a gorgeous pie. Truthfully, I think all pies are inherently pretty, particularly the teeny pies which are sometimes so adorable it hurts. I also think that over the past three years I’ve done a pretty admirable job of blending bulk baking with beauty, all the while maintaining a fierce dedication to seasonal and local ingredients. Hand-rolling and hand-crimping each and every pie crust is an unbelievable amount of work, but in the end it means each and every Teeny Pie is as beautiful as it is delicious and that is something I am very proud of.
But, during our busy months when we make upwards of three hundred pies a week, crust crimping and crumble crumbling was just about as far as I can go toward the making of pretty pies. Any other fancy business was cast aside for being too time consuming or too difficult within the confines of our dreadfully warm communal kitchen. Sometimes I would be seized by a moment of inspiration during a slow afternoon and end up with a delightfully wacky Halloween mummy pie or a few delicately latticed fruit pies, but overall I contented myself with simple and sweet looking pies.
Don’t get me wrong, I was contented but insanely jealous of those pie bakers working in the world who were only making a select few pies a week and able to spend their time and energy on making stunning pies. Those magnificent bakers who were able to use pastry as their canvas and from their fingers created magical, whimsical, frame-worthy pies. Like I said, INSANELY jealous.
Which is why, when I was finally thunderstruck with the realization that I have both the time and energy to try my hand at making gorgeous pies, I wondered what had taken me so long. So, it was with great excitement and determination that I stepped into my kitchen Monday morning and set out to make my very own frame-worthy pie. I decided to keep the first attempt simple and settled on hearts after surveying my current “small cookie cutter” stash. After rolling out my bottom crust, heaping it with luscious, local rhubarb and putting on the top crust I put everything back in the fridge to cool while I rolled out leftover dough and stamped out a bunch of tiny crust hearts. I stuck my hearts on with a bit of egg wash and then realizing I didn’t have a pastry brush of any kind, I went to work spreading an even layer of egg goo over the top of my pie with the tips of my fingers.
Once all of the tiny cracks and crevices were awash with egg I put the pie into a hot oven and waited anxiously for it to bake to a golden brown. When I pulled it out it was perfect. Not necessarily frame-worthy yet, but I’ve got six months to work on it. I have a feeling I’m going to need to stock up on my tiny, adorably shaped cookie cutters and should probably invest in a pastry brush but I would say I’m well on my way to making gorgeous pies just because I can.