A recurring theme of this blog is my tendency to write about something vaguely ‘relevant’, but to do so with such laboriousness that the relevance has passed by the time the blog is ready to be posted. Yet again this has happened, and national pie week is just a distant, fond memory. But let’s just say it wasn’t. Let’s just say that it only finished yesterday rather than two weeks ago…….
“We’ll make apple pie – with apple spaghetti, vanilla extract and cinnamon and no pastry. It’s delicious.”
Let’s remove the words no pastry from that sentence. So in other words, you’re making apples. Not apple pie.
I don’t think anything further really needs to be said about the above quote except that no, it’s not a joke or part of a weird satirical food commentary, it is a genuine quote from some…. ‘cooks’.
I’ll just let it hang there, irritating all who actually enjoy pies and have no time for such nonsense.
That quote brought me great sadness, to the extent that I was unsure whether I could bring myself to write more about pies this week as national pie week comes to an end (did you enjoy it? Did you know it was happening? Do you even care?). So given it’s also national cheerleading safety month, I considered looking into that. Turns out I don’t especially care about that, so as pie week is now over the pain has subsided enough for me to go back to my original intention of writing about pies.
There are some things that need to be refined. Eliza Doolittle. Prose. These blog posts – if you think they ramble now you should see them before they’re edited, they’re usually twice as long and several times more incoherent.
One thing that I don’t think needs to be refined is the pie. Pies are where my inner cooking laziness really comes to the fore, I am just not that particular when it comes to pies.
NB. This is what I originally wrote. I then read back the blog and realised that it is in fact a flagrant lie. My tendency with pies is undoubtedly to lean towards the lazy, but I am very particular about the form that the laziness must take, and actually, achieving the correct lack of refinement in a pie is perhaps not as easy as it seems.
When I’m having a pie, I’m not actually looking for one that always adheres to my normal requirements of ‘well cooked’ food. I don’t want perfectly cooked pastry. I want a pastry lid that is slightly too thick, and slightly undercooked so that it’s crisp on the top but still stodgy underneath. And as far as fillings go, I’m pretty lazy as well. Beef or chicken for savoury pies (in the form of ox cheeks or chicken thigh meat), some veg, not too much if it’s supposed to be a meat pie. I am also very unconcerned with presentation when it comes to pies. Is there a filling? Is there pastry vaguely covering that filling? Great, it’s close enough then.
However it is perhaps my preferences for sweet pies that truly exemplifies my pie laziness. Cherry pie filling. And not good cherry pie filling. Tinned cherry pie filling. The cheaper the better. Yes it has no discernible cherry flavour and a consistency that is mildly disturbing at best, whilst being probably 90% sugar, but that is quite beside the point.
It’s at this point that I feel most food blogs would now provide you with several pie recipes that, realistically, no one is going to make but which make people feel like they are putting something useful into the world. I will not be doing that. Instead I will simply encourage you to wrap in pastry, or at least cover with pastry, more of what you eat. Because something with pastry is unquestionably better than something without.