Sometimes I think my life would be entirely different if I was the kind of woman who made pies routinely.
I mean, to be fair, I make pies, but I don’t make pie crusts, and I think that’s the real difference.
This is what ingredients for a sour cream apple walnut pie, made with pecans (because I don’t have any walnuts), looks like:
Those are apples.
Also some pens.
Also an apple peeler. I can barely tell you how great apple peelers are, but we’ll get to that.
First of all, if you are a woman who lives in an urban area, don’t you think that your life would be different if you made pies? Does this happen to everyone?
Basically, I think if I made pies on a really, really routine basis – like a daily basis – I would turn into Keri Russell in Waitress. But not in the part where her husband beats her. In the part where she has had an affair with a handsome doctor and has named her daughter Lulu and is winning pie baking contests. When she gets to that place she just seems like she glows.
And I have a really hard time sleeping, so glowing is difficult. I’m a little pasty and there’s a lot of tinted moisturizer involved.
I think to really pull this off, this glowing, pie baking, happy person thing, you have to – emotionally – be able to live in the country. But I think about living in the country, and I think about what Steve Rubell, the owner of Studio 54 said immediately after he got out of prison for money laundering. A reporter said “Steve, what was it like being in jail?” And Steve apparently paused for a moment and said “During the days, it’s not so bad. You eat. You sleep. You exercise. But Jesus. What the hell do you do at night?”
That is how I feel about moving to the country.
I don’t think I can ever be that person. But I like to bake pies and pretend that I could be the glowing, happy Lulu-child-naming person who lives somewhere where I walk through cornfields on the way to work.
So I listen to country music while I make pies.
Country music is incredibly appropriate if you’re in that kind of mood, because country music is the kind of music that is the most fundamentally duplicitous. It’s designed to celebrate simple values in life, and sung by people who have eschewed simple values for great fame.
This is the kind of song that I really like listening to, and one that will bring you to tears (the cancer!), but is also sung by someone who decided to go out and become famous:
I mean, right?
I also listen to The Devil Goes Down To Georgia a lot, but it always makes me sad, because can you imagine how humiliating that would be? To be the Devil and lose to some random guy named Johnny? I mean, losing a fiddling contest as Johnny would be fine. It would be fine, because, whatever. It would be like showing up some place with two black eyes and someone chuckling and saying “I guess you lost to the other guy!” and you would stare at them for a second and say “Yes, the other guy was, literally, the Devil.” It would be fine. But the Devil getting into a contest against Johnny. Jesus. As the Marquise de Merteuil would say, “Humiliating if you fail, and commonplace if you succeed.”
Why did the Devil make such bad choices? Hubris, probably. Why can’t he just be happy? Why can’t he just ride his cool bicycle and be happy?
Also, real talk: I think the Devil is better. A lot better. I think the contest is fixed. Listen to the Devil’s cool little solo here, and then listen to Johnny.
Every time I listen to this, I think, “Maybe this is the time the Devil is going to win.”
He didn’t win the last time, while I was baking this pie. But maybe next time.
So, that is what I do while making pies. I listen to country music and root for the Devil.
I also cook things. Here’s a recipe I found for sour cream and apple walnut pie:
3/4 c. sour cream
1 lg. egg
1/3 c. granulated sugar
1 tbsp. all purpose flour
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
3 lbs. tart apples (Pippins, Granny Smiths or Greenings) peeled, quartered,
cored and cut in 1/4 inch thick slices (10 cups)
1/3 c. all purpose flour
1/3 c. packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 c. cold butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 c. (2 oz.) walnut pieces, chopped coarse
To make filling: Whisk sour cream and egg in a large bowl until blended, whisk in sugar, flour, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg; stir in apples. Spread in pie plate, mounding mixture in center.
To make topping: Mix flour, sugar and cinnamon in a medium-sized bowl. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in walnuts. Sprinkle evenly over filling, then press down lightly. To bake, place oven rack in center of oven; heat to 400 degrees. Bake pie 50 to 60 minutes until topping is dark brown and apples are tender when pierced. (If topping browns too quickly during baking, drape a piece of foil over pie). Cool on wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 8 servings.
There’s also a lot on how to make the crust, but I’m not going to tell you that. You want to know how to make the crust? Go to the grocery store and buy a pre-made pie crust. A lot of people will be snobby about how you should make your own, but you know what? People who make pre-made pie crusts know what they are doing. Those crusts are delicious. You are not Keri Russell in Waitress. Get the pre-made crust. They work perfectly well for your purposes.
I will say, the 3 lbs of apples? That’s 7 apples. They will take 7 years to peel and chop. Not really. But it will take about an hour and a half, if you use an apple peeler. Apple peelers are great. I tried doing this recipe once with a regular knife, and I almost chopped off my finger and it took longer.
Buy an apple peeler. Worth it. Here.
I mean, honestly. I am saying that and I still don’t have a pan. So! An apple peeler! You have one, now, for peeling 7 apples. Here’s what that will look like:
Everything else is pretty straightforward.
Double the crust topping recipe. I don’t know. I’m loath to contradict recipes, but I had to double it to get enough to cover the pie. When I did double it, it worked really well.
And go for 50 minutes, not an hour. I did an hour and it came out just a tiny bit too well done. Like this:
But still. It is a pie. It was good! I am off to go get impregnated so I can name a child Lulu, now. Don’t worry. If he’s a boy, I will name him FiddlePlayingWinnerDevil. Or Johnny. Whichever.