“I’m scared of pie,” the founder of the bakery where I work once admitted when I asked her why we didn’t make it. And legend has it that the second thing I said to my new employer when she took over said bakery, after “Hi, I’m Gretchen,” was, “Can we make pie now?”
So what I’m saying is–I’m not scared of pie. In fact, I’m cocky enough to have blogged about my “pie secrets.” But still surprises me how many people do feel the pastry fear. Then I a couple of weeks ago, I decided to get fancy and DECORATE my pie for a community harvest potluck, and I took a walk in the shoes of pastry fear.
Here’s the thing. I’m not scared of pie because I started making it when I was about twelve. Add forty-five years of pie making, and…ten thousand hours? Probably not hyperbole in this case.
But decorating? Never. Closest I ever got was to fashion a few generic leaves, maybe some berries, or stars for July 4. Easy-peasy blackberry piesy.
wise smart old enough to stay off Instagram, but nonetheless, images of gorgeous pies have made their way to my brain via Facebook, and friends who know me as a Pie Woman. So I finally got ambitious stupid curious. How hard could this decorating thing be?
But as soon as I rolled out that top crust, my stomach clenched with anxiety. Should I stop here and go watch a video? Should I be rolling this onto wax paper? Why did I decide to diverge from my happy, thoughtless pie path?
Leaves. Okay. I got this. But not without help. And since the visual arts are not my strength, I decided to look up images of maple and oak leaves and then copy them onto cardboard as templates.
So far so…well, let’s go with “okay.” But it needs a little something more. Braids! Who can’t do braids? At least I didn’t have to google images for that.
Better. But let’s add a few o’ those trademark generic leaves, eh?
OK. This is as good as it’s gonna get. Let’s bake this puppy!
a) Do use templates. Just cut them a little smaller next time. Or buy cutters in cute shapes. (But I’m too cheap for that.)
b) Do use wax paper to avoid mushing your cutouts. Chill or freeze them before applying.
c) Chill, but don’t freeze your braid strands. (Ever tried braiding frozen dough?)
d) Stay humble. In baking, as in life, there is always something to fear…and learn from.
Will I keep decorating pies? Probably, though only on occasion. I’m a happy imperfectionist, and pie is, in my opinion, meant to look rustic, so I don’t NEED to decorate. But I think it’s good for me to brush up against that fear now and then. And the compliments are nice too.