“You know what would be good,” I said. “Pecan pie. See if they have any pecan pie.”
Jay walked around the Safeway bakery, cell phone to his ear. “Nope. No pecan pie. Carrot cake? White cake? Boston cream pie?” He listed another dozen options. “Any of those sound good?”
Hmmm. Really wanted pecan pie. I could make a pie. But not a pecan pie. Oh no, I know I’d screw that up! Chess pie! I had a great recipe from my mom for chocolate chess pie, and it should be easy. “No, but hang on.” I went upstairs and dug out the recipe. “I need a small can of Pet milk, some cocoa, and a pie crust.”
“We have cocoa.”
“No, we don’t. We have Nestle’s Quik. Not the same thing.”
“No, under there where the cereals are. There’s some cocoa thing.”
I dug it out. Ghiardelli Hot Cocoa Mix. “Nope. Still not right.”
“Okay, so what kind do you need?”
“Okay. Sweetened or unsweetened?”
“I have no idea. Hersheys. In the brown container.”
“Same question — sweetened or unsweetened?”
I sighed. “I’ll call my mom and then call you back.” I hung up and speed dialed my mother. “Do I need sweetened or unsweetened cocoa for a chess pie?”
She tried not to laugh. “Unsweetened.” She expounded for 30 seconds, during which Jay buzzed in twice. I ignored him, thanked her, and called him back.
“Unsweetened,” I said.
“Great, but now we need to know what kind of pie crust.”
“What are the choices?”
“Graham and Oreo Cokie Graham.”
“Neither.” I thought for a minute. “Frozen! Check the frozen aisle.”
He walked over and searched. “Marie Callander’s Deep Dish Pie Crust,” he announced.
“That’s it? I don’t think I need deep dish. Just regular.”
“That’s it… Oh, wait. Here are some others, but they’re deep dish too. Some are less deep than others.”
“Get one of those then.”
“Okay. Now Pet Milk. That seems to be a brand, and they don’t carry it. What is it?”
“Evaporated milk. Canned.”
“No, evaporated. Not Eagle Brand Condensed,” I said smugly. (At least I knew something!)
The next morning, I gathered together my ingredients. Hmmm. That can of condensed milk looked awfully big. 12 oz. Is that a big can or a small can? Maybe a big can was 24 oz. or something. Better ask… I toddled downstairs and e-mailed my mother. 5 oz, she confirmed. Pet Milk is evaporated milk, and a small can is 5 oz.
Okey dokey, then! I was finally ready to make my pie. Ugh, I’ll need the mixer. Why are these KitchenAid mixers so bloody heavy?
Hmmm. It calls for margarine. Do I even have margarine? Is there a reason I need margarine? Can I use butter instead of margarine? Off to e-mail Mother again. No immediate reply, so I called her. Uh oh, not home.
Several hours later she replied that butter would be fine. Cool, I’ll use butter… tomorrow. Working now, no time for pie.
Today was pie day! I got all my ingredients out and lined them up. Got the mixer and the measuring cups. Preheated the oven. I was set, and this was going to rock.
Hmmm. Is evaporated milk supposed to be chunky like that? Well, it says “shake well” on the can, so probably so. I put everything together, and mixed it. Still kind of chunky, so I turned the mixer up really high. There, that’s better. Poured it into my pie crust. Easy, peasy. Pie for lunch!
Bake for about 30 minutes at 350. Hmmm. Is it supposed to be that jiggly when it’s done? Does the wooden toothpick trick apply to pies or just cakes? I e-mailed mom. No response. (I expect she’s given up by now.) So I asked a coworker. “Oh no,” she said. “That means the eggs haven’t set. Put it back in for 8 minutes or so, and then check it.”
I put it in for 10. Still jiggly.
Another 10. Still jiggly.
I took it out, but it was REALLY jiggly, so I figured I’d better put it back in again. Opened the over door and realized I hadn’t slid the tray out. Oh crap… the pie plate is collapsing…
With nothing solid in the middle to support it, the pie plate just kind of folded. Pie went EVERYWHERE. Oh, did I say pie? I mean completely liquid chocolate, because it hadn’t set AT ALL.
Chocolate in the oven, on the door, running into the drawer under the oven, big puddles on the floor including under the stove.
20 minutes later, the pie, the liquid chocolate, and a roll of paper towels are in the trash. My shoes are still sticking to the floor when I walk, but I think that’s because there’s chocolate on them, not chocolate on the floor. I don’t really care either way.
I suppose the exercise was good for my waistline, because not only will I not be eating that pie, I won’t be making another. Trying to teach me new tricks is utterly futile. Maybe someday Jay will make a pecan pie for me. Until then, NO MORE PIE.