Today, I made pie with my two-year-old. Martha Stewart would probably not approve of the non-exact nature of our baking. We stopped mixing crust because my daughter needed to set a cricket trap by the refrigerator.
I have a love/hate relationship with Martha Stewart. My new favorite guilty pleasure is watching Martha Stewart Bakes on PBS in the evening after the kids are in bed and the dishes are (usually) done. I watch with a little bit of reverence and a little bit of disgust.
The woman truly is undeniably talented, and undeniably pretentious. For me, one of the highlights of watching the show is listening for new pretentious names she uses for common objects and ingredients.
Just last night, she used her “pastry cutter” to cut some dough into a circle. Now, I don’t think Martha would appreciate this, but her so-called pastry cutter looks exactly like what average people refer to as a pizza cutter.
I understand that “pizza cutter” conjures up images of some guy with a beer belly throwing a frozen pizza in the oven and watching a little football. And of course, that association is unacceptable when one is doing serious baking. Wanting to be like Martha, the next time I need to cut up a pizza, I’m going to call out from the kitchen in very crisply pronounced words, “Has anyone seen my pastry cutter?”
When I receive confused looks, I will count that as a success. One step closer to Martha.
And in some ways, Martha has even outdone herself. In years past on her cooking shows, I recall her referring to “confectioners’ sugar.” That name, apparently, has become far too commonplace. I notice that she now uses a product called “10X sugar.” Oh, Martha. We all know it’s just plain old powdered sugar.
I just keep waiting for her to find a new name for eggs.
On the positive side, watching Martha does inspire me to bake. My approach, though, is often decidedly un-Martha Stewart, because I welcome kids, and by extension, chaos into the mix.
With fall in the air, I felt the need to bust out the pumpkin pie again. This is a recipe that’s simple enough that you can employ a two-year-old to do much of the work. In fact, I do.
There are few things more satisfying to a child or a parent than letting someone little take part in a real job. When you eat a pie, and the tiniest person at the table says, “I made it,” there really is no greater pride than that.
For pumpkin pie filling, I use my mom’s time-honored recipe. It’s actually quite famous. You will find my mom’s recipe printed on the back of every single can of pumpkin, so I won’t reprint it here.
The recipe I want to share is for pie crust. Crust is the hard part of pies. It’s the part that usually makes people nervous enough to head to the freezer section and buy something in a box that comes from a little dough boy in a baker’s hat.
Homemade crust, though, tastes so much better. This crust is easy. No rolling pin required.
I originally found this recipe on the internet. When 178 people give this recipe give this a recipe a very good rating, I count it as a pretty safe bet.
No Roll Pie Crust
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup ice water
1/2 cup oil
Directions: Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Place dough in the pie pan, and press it out evenly with your fingers. Fill with favorite pie filling and bake. Makes one pie crust.
Here’s a measurement of the easiness: About two years ago, when my oldest child was five and the youngest was a baby less than a year old, I made this with my kids AND two of my sister-in-law’s children, ages four and two. That’s right, six kids ages five and under helped make a pie for a bedtime snack. Granted, it was a little chaotic, but it was doable. They all helped pat the crust in place.
Today, I made pie with my two-year-old. Martha Stewart would probably not approve of the non-exact nature of our baking.
We stopped mixing crust because my daughter needed to set a cricket trap by the refrigerator, “I need to catch him. I’ll be very nice to him, Mom.”
She also tested the texture of the crust by wrapping some on her arm. I have not yet seen that technique on cooking shows, but I’m not Martha, so I may be mistaken.
I let my daughter shape her own pie in a tiny toy pie pan. She added crumbled popcorn and sugar powder from a pixie stick to the crust. I also noticed she added almonds and cashews to the pumpkin filling while I wasn’t looking. I’ve got a real innovator, one with pumpkin pie filling all over her mouth.
We didn’t bother with trying to emulate Martha’s perfectly fluted crust edges. Neat and orderly also went aside with a flour explosion on the table and little fingers dipped in pie filling.
In the end, imperfect crust still tastes good. Germs will bake away at 350 degrees, and happiness and accomplishment from making a pie is long lasting. That’s why I do my baking with a two-year-old.