Pie is the best.
Or the worst.
Like so many things, a good pie is GREAT, and a bad pie is terrible. When something has so much potential, sub-par renditions are made execrable by comparison.
I hear so many people say they don’t know how to make pie, and I think that’s too bad. There are even shops that make and sell only pie, as if it were a specialty item only the truly intrepid would attempt, on a good day.
Pie is easy. Hence the aphorism.
So here are my rules of good pie for those of you who hesitate to dive in to the pie pool, to guide you to heights of pie perfection.
- Make your own pie crust. It’s easy, and even raggedy, aesthetically-challenged versions will taste better than those pre-made atrocities. Here’s my easy version.
Make more than one. Two or more pies are nearly as simple to make as one, and one pie is ridiculous. Even if you live alone, unless you are on that proverbial desert island, make another pie to give to someone or put in the freezer.
Make plenty of filling. I’m disappointed by recipes that only call for enough filling ingredients to barely coat the bottom of the crust. Three-quarters of an inch of filling isn’t a pie, it’s a tease. Increase the amount of filling until you’ve got a respectable slice. Even if you use canned food for filling, don’t stop at one jar. Two cans of cherries. Two cans of pumpkin. And meringue or whipped cream don’t count when measuring filling depth.
On the subject of filling, as for the crust, don’t use pre-made versions. It’s awful. It’s tiny bits of fruit suspended in a viscous sugar gel. Make your own and cram it full of real fruit and real taste.
Don’t overdo the sugar. Most recipes can easily reduce the amount of sugar, within reason. You want to taste the fruit or whatever kind of flavor your pie is, not be overwhelmed with sweetness.
And finally, a serving note: If your pie is warm-from-the-oven goodness, you must eat two pieces. In our house we call it the Two Piece Rule, and it is inviolable.