The Case for Baking More Less-Than-Perfect Pies

As you may know from previous posts, I’m in the thick of creating all of the content for a comprehensive course I’m putting together on making pie pastry. In addition to lots of video and text, I’ll include some still shots as well. Today I took a few photos to illustrate how various glazes affect the look of your top crust. Can you guess what glaze I used for this pie? (The answer appears below – no peeking!)

When I take a good photo of a pie it is nearly always by accident. I think these are a couple of my better recent accidents.

I like these shots not only because you can see the flakiness of the crust in sharp detail, practically taste it. But I mainly like that the pie doesn’t look perfect. It’s a little too dark around the edges. I didn’t make any pretty ruffles on the edge. And the steam vents are randomly placed and bordering on an afterthought.

It looks like a pie somebody made on the fly, which is precisely what it is.

I think more people would make pies from scratch if they gave up the notion of a perfect/perfect looking pie and just focused on enjoying the process. Sure, follow the recipe…use good ingredients and the best technique you currently possess – and then forget about it and enjoy the results among friends. They’ll think you’re a hero no matter how it comes out – trust me on that.

Besides, I’ve always believed that the best and most interesting pies are the ones – just like humans – who have a couple of wrinkles and a few flaws they’re not afraid to show. Baking a less-than-perfect pie and serving it without apology displays a measure of confidence everyone admires.

Let the food stylists of the world worry about making perfect pies. You go ahead and bake less-than-perfect pies. The world needs them, so the pressure is off.

(Answer: I used heavy cream only. No sugar or anything else. Incidentally, the pie itself is an apple-pear one, which I adore. The recipe to appear here shortly!)