Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Nice Try. We Never Had Any Cookiejars in My Home Because My Mother Never Baked Cookies 'Cause She Never Felt We Deserved Any Cookies so Obviously it has Nothing to do With My Childhood

I love to cook, but I'm not all that good at baking. Yes, I did work in a bakery for over a year, but I didn't really pick up on any baking tips.

When I cook, I rarely fail. I'd say my success rate is around ninety nine percent.

When I bake, I'd say my success rate is around sixty percent. I just don't understand why things don't rise sometimes. I still can't make a perfect loaf of bread. Now, some of this might have to do with the fact that I still don't have a working oven, but even before that I had problems.

And then there is pie crust. Pie crust is my nemesis. I cannot make pie crusts. I've tried tips and secrets, I've tried different recipes and ingredients, but I still struggle with pie crust. I'd put my success rate at around four percent.

And yet, today I decided to make empanadas, which is basically a hundred tiny little pie crusts. Why I thought I could do that, I do not know. I was supposed to make dinner for a women who just had a baby, and I thought empanadas would be a good dessert, and didn't think through the fact that I hate making pie crusts.

Oh, it was a fantastic failure. I struggled throughout the whole process, I wasted two thirds of the dough when I tried to roll it our or press it together, and what few empanadas did make it into the oven were filled with holes and cracks. I made it even worse when I tried to get them off the cookie sheet and they crumbled into one big mess of apple, cinnamon, sugar, and crust.

It's to the point where I am willing to admit defeat: I don't care if you have a perfect pie crust recipe, I am done trying. I will, from henceforth, buy pie crusts.

On the bright side, dinner turned out perfect, so there.


  1. I love baking and have a pretty high success rate but pie crust success eludes me as well.

  2. Some pie crusts are made with lard, which makes them tender and flaky but watch for that on the labels. I like the pillsbury refrigerated crusts, but now I can't eat pie crust at all unless I find a gluten free kind.

  3. Find someone who makes awesome crusts and have them teach you step by step how to do it. It can be done! But recipes are only half the equation. You need to understand the feel of the dough and how to handle it. Keep trying.

  4. I understand this completely. Cook on a stove? I got this. Put it in an oven? Pass. It's only going to end in tears.

    And yet, after reading this post, Empanadas sound delicious and I find myself wanting to try making them.

  5. We can make pie crusts some time. It could be fun. You'll have to trust me - although to be honest, there's a couple of tools I'm missing right now that I've used in the past that make it ridiculously easy.

    For empanadas, though, I would think that refrigerated dough would totally be the trick. I saw a recipe for those one time with bananas and black beans that sounded fantastic.

  6. I'm the opposite. I can't make an edible dinner to save my life, but baking makes sense. I think it's because baking is like science, and if you follow the recipe faithfully you're golden. Cooking dinner requires more creativity and apparently I lack that.

    Anyway, hopefully soon we'll move out west, and then I'd love to show you how I make pie crust. It's super easy and it works for me every time. And if I walk you through it and it still doesn't work for you, well, then, at least we've made one pie and then we can eat it!

  7. Kay, Lady, you simply can not go through life eating refrigerated pie crust. Yuck. Let me know when you are free this week and I'll show you a failproof recipe and we'll make lady fingers together. Mmmmm...with melted coconut oil on top and xylitol cinnamon sugar!


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