Anyway, I didn't want to touch the dead beetles, so I asked Bill to investigate. He knelt and picked one up without hesitation. "Looks like an ember from the Great Pumpkin Fire of '10," he said.
Ethan, who was dutifully setting the table, paused for a moment. "The what??"
"Oh, didn't I tell you about that? I'll tell you over dinner."...
The week before last, I roasted one of the three sugar pie pumpkins I've bought so far this season. While the puree was draining into a bowl, I whirled up my very first pie crust in the food processor. It was easy!.. Until I rolled it out.
Bill, who was doing the dinner dishes while I worked on dirtying the kitchen again, had to listen to a lot of whining at that point.
"Why is it all cracked around the edges?"
"It'll be fine."
"But I can't make the cracks roll together."
"Don't worry, Sarah. It's all good. But hey, it doesn't look like you used enough flour. It's going to stick."
"No, I read that too much flour makes the dough tough."
Even though Bill was the only one who had successfully made a pie crust at that point, he didn't argue with me. He coached me as I wrapped one side of the dough around the rolling pin, and then the other.
As I maneuvered it over the pan, he said, "Now center it over the pan and-"
I plopped the dough down haphazardly.
"...or you could just drop it in any old which way," Bill muttered wryly.
Again, he bit his tongue as I struggled to smooth out the dough and conform it to the shape of the pan. Of course, half of it tore apart. All I said was, "DARN it!", but it could have been much worse.
Now Allyson decided it was time to put in her two cents. "Why didn't it work, Mommy?"
"Because I'm not Daddy. I can't just make a pie crust on the first try without any trouble at all."
"Now, now. No need to get testy," Bill said. "Just roll it out again. It'll be fine."
"Listen to Daddy," Allyson admonished. "He knows how to make pies."
I was sorely tempted to say, "Why don't you do it, Bill? You're better at it." Instead, I squared my shoulders, added a bit more flour, and rolled it out again. This time I almost managed to get it into the pan all in one piece, and I was able to pat the dough back together on the marred edge.
Following some instructions I found online, I brushed the dough with an egg wash, lined the empty shell with parchment paper, and added some dried beans and rice to weigh the paper down. Then I slid it into the preheated top oven, a small one just the right size for pizzas and cookie sheets. Just as I began to worry about the possibility of the parchment paper brushing against the heating element, one side of it burst into flames!
"Oh no, Mommy! It's on fire," Allyson informed me. "This is horrible!"
I started to jerk the pan back out, but I was afraid to dislodge the beans and rice and burn the dough. I carefully slid it out halfway, cascading some rice onto the bottom of the oven, and started blowing on the flame, which flared even higher. I expelled all my air, as if I were trying to blow out 40 birthday candles. The flame flickered. I blew again, so hard that I saw stars, and it finally went out.
"Well, maybe a little. But I was really more worried about saving the pie."
"You mean you were more worried about a PIE than our house?"
"Yes. I worked really hard on that crust!"
"It was horrible," Allyson interjected. "I ran out to tell Daddy about the horrible accident."
"It was already out by the time he came in from the yard," I reminded her.
In the end, all was well. I replaced the parchment paper with foil and prebaked the crust for about 10 minutes. Afterward, I agonized over whether I could still use the rice and beans and finally threw them out. At last I poured in the filling and baked it.
|Couldn't Stop to Take a Picture Until AFTER We Tried It|
Update 10/24/10 12:05 AM: You'll never guess what I found at the foot of the stove right after I published this entry! Yes, it was a black beetle. I kid you not; I can't make this stuff up. It was on its back on my impeccably clean floor (truly--I mopped today), flailing its legs frantically. Bizarre.