Years ago, I found myself at a dinner party. Everyone was complimenting me on the pies I’d made. “Did you make the crust from scratch?” I was asked.
Making piecrust terrified me. I’d never tried to make it, but I was convinced it was way too hard to attempt. You see, I believed what I’d heard, probably from people who’d never tried. So I found an alternative: Oronoque deep dish pie crust, available at my local grocery store.
Since it’s very good, I used it for years, always telling people, when asked, that it was store-bought. Until, that is, a friend took me aside and told me a story about his friend Geneviève.
Geneviève invited a group of people over for dessert. It was impromptu so she rushed home, stopping at the corner store and picking up a chocolate cream pie, a pre-made custard, and assorted cookies.
Once home, she emptied all the ingredients into a large bowl and discarded all the containers. She stirred this odd combination until she created something new.
She placed 1930s champagne coupes on a tray and skillfully spooned this concoction into each glass and refrigerated them next to the bottle of champagne.
When the doorbell rang, she opened the door to her last-minute party. Enthusiastic raves peppered the evening and when asked about this luscious dish, without hesitation, she credited her grandmother’s cook for this recipe. She continued, “I had a yearning, and decided to make it yesterday.”
At the end of the evening my friend was helping to clean up when he opened the garbage and saw the evidence. She confessed and ardently professed that it tasted so much better when everyone believed it was an old family recipe.
“Never ever admit you didn’t make it yourself. My friend told me. “If you are clever enough to discover something that’s good, why shouldn’t you take credit for it?”
From that point forward my answer became, “Oh, thank you.”
For my mother’s 80th birthday bash, my family gathered to create hors d’oeuvres. We started with a pile of frozen piecrusts that we rolled out to make mini quiches and other tasty bites.
After endlessly pushing and pinching the rolled dough and trying to piece the bits together to achieve the desired results, my sister-in-law leaned over and asked in her French accent, “Wouldn’t it be a lot easier to make the dough from scratch?”
I replied a little horrified, “Oh no, this is much easier.”
“But it’s so easy to make. Have you ever tried it?”
“No,” I confessed.
At the dinner party, I was asked if I’d made the crust myself. I replied as I’d become accustomed to, “Yes, I’m glad you like it.”
“Would it be possible to get the recipe from you?” someone asked me.
Cornered, I replied, “Oh, it’s an old family recipe.”
“That’s wonderful.” She smiled.
Fumbling, I added, “It’s a secret old family recipe; I can’t share it.” There was no recipe; I’d been caught in a fib and didn’t know how else to answer.
It got worse. She and her friends sat on the other side of the room and loudly discussed how nasty I was.
No more pretense! At that moment I decided to learn how to make home-made piecrust—
And to my total bafflement and delight, I discovered that making homemade pie dough is simple!
If you want to learn how easy it is to make your own piecrust, you’re in luck. I’ll teach you my secrets on Sunday, December 4th on a live online Zoom class. Once you’ve made the piecrust, I’ll show you how to turn it into a delicious salted caramel apple pie.
Online Cooking Class: Rustic Salted Caramel Apple Pie
Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022
4 pm ET LIVE on Zoom
Class is 1½ to 2 hours
$10.00 per household L