Learning from the expert

One of the problems with Christmas is trying to figure out how to spend time with all of your family. You can't make everyone happy, so usually some middle balance is sought, where everyone is reasonably satisfied.

This last weekend was like that for my little family of four here. We went up for a very short trip to visit 2/3rds of my family, while my sister made the same trip from her portion of Ontario.

As a result, I got to spend some one on one time with my grandmother, making pies for my mother's pre-birthday party. (Insert big happy face here.)

Two banana cream pies were a joint effort. I copied out her recipe for the cream filling, which I then made, and she rolled out the crust for them. My grandmother makes this pie at least once a year, on my grandfather's birthday. When he used to work shift work, he would sometimes be scheduled to work on his birthday. On those days, the boys on the job were a lucky group - she used to send in a pie with him to have for his lunch!

Pastry cream, which basically what the filling is, is not very hard to make, it just requires alot of patience, standing over the stove stirring constantly. In this case, using unfamiliar equipment, I accidentally reversed the order of the pots for the double boiler, so I did not have the most stable of base to be stirring.

I'd never made pastry cream from scratch before, but had nothing to worry about. Apparently I know enough about cooking to successfully make one on the first try. My cream was just the right consistency in thickness, sweet and smooth. And just right for putting down over top of a layer of bananas and hand made pie crust.

Most banana cream pies are topped with cream, but not my grandmothers. The meringue topping probably came about out of economy. The pastry cream requires 3 egg yolks, so why not use the remaining whites to make a topping for the pie with?

So after a lovely morning baking with my grandmother, something I haven't done since I was a child, we were able to present to my mother two beautiful pies to end her birthday dinner with. (Which was also made by the joint effort of my grandmother, grandfather and I. We made her Hawaiian spare ribs, with the sauce I have posted about before.)

The only downside to this pie making expedition didn't come from the pies itself, but from my little boy. He was so sick this weekend that he was not able to enjoy a piece, though he was offered some and declined in favor of plain banana. Instead he has asked me to please make one for him another time, which I have promised to do. That other time is Friday, for a little gathering with friends, where I will see if I can still make a good pie without the assistance of the expert pie maker, my grandmother. And I plan to have my little assistant helping me.

1 comment:

Brilynn said...

It's great to be able to spend time in the kitchen with loved ones. Your pies turned out wonderfully!