Saturday, 13 November 2010

A Pie of Extreme Awesomeness

As any readers of my last post will know, I got a little carried away when I went to the supermarket sans Fiance last week, and ended up bringing home a veritable cow’s worth of beef – some to roast, the rest to accompany the roast leftovers in a pie of significant size.

Wednesday night was pie night, which meant two things. The first was that I would have to face my pastry demons and attempt once more to transform flour and butter into breadcrumbs – a feat I was understandably nervous about after the buttery slop I made last time I tried:

The second was the seemingly impossible task of wrestling the extreme volume of meat into a form suitable for enveloping in pastry. It didn’t help that the dish seemed to be entirely inadequate for the task laid out for it.

Undaunted, I proceeded to start work on the pie filling with gusto (thanks largely to the confidence-boosting lager that I had consumed prior to starting the process). Within half an hour, the uncooked meat had been browned, the carrot and onion had been softened, and all elements had been brought together in an ale gravy responsible for sending delicious aromas wafting through the house.

The next step was pretty easy – cook slowly in the oven and wait for the meat to soften.

So we waited. 

And waited.

And waited.

Eventually I realised that I couldn’t put the moment off forever, and that I was actually going to have to make pastry, or forever be scared of the stuff. All in all, it took me about two hours to muster up the courage to bite the bullet and weigh out the essential ingredients. A seed of confidence began to take root as I noted that the amounts the recipe called for did mean that the Great Apple Fuck Up only happened because I didn’t read the instructions properly, rather than as a result of me developing clumsy fingers that instantly offend all things baked.

The seed grew into a vibrant shoot of confidence as the flour and butter slowly but surely turned into breadcrumbs, and the shoot soon transformed into a giant tree of smugness as water was added and the pastry began to take shape. I placed my ball of triumph tenderly in the fridge to chill, remembering with scorn the lump of stuff I had thrown into the same spot with disgust, merely days earlier.

There was only one flaw in my great pie plan, and that was the timing. We had already waited two hours for me to start thinking about making pastry, so by the time it was ready to roll and bake, it was already 9 o’clock. By the time I stuffed the pie to overflowing with the huge amount of filling and put the whole giant affair in the oven, it was closer to 10.

Much to the disgust of our loudly rumbling stomachs, the pie wasn’t actually ready until 10.30 - a rather disappointingly late time to be sitting down to dinner. But all that was forgotten as I took my first mouthful of pie. It was a resounding success. 

Here is a picture of success:

Look! It even has little pastry leaves for decoration! Although I think, traditionally, leaves are meant to be reserved for apple pies, because apples grow on trees and trees have a lot more leaves than cows do. But still, I was proud of my work and I had some pastry left over, so I decided to show off. As a result, I did briefly consider whether Fiance’s original name for the Great Apple Fuck up would be a suitable moniker for my creation, on the basis that it certainly would be an Apple Surprise.

I guess the moral of the story is that it is much better to just get on with something than it is to procrastinate and put it off. You see, I am proud that I made breadcrumbs, from which I made pastry from which I made a pie of most extreme awesomeness. Once again I am convinced that I am a natural when it comes to baking. I am just a bit gutted that the journey to the pie of extreme awesomeness and the rediscovery of my pastry kick-assness was only achieved after unnecessarily starving Fiance for four hours.

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