Picture of my peach pie finishing off in the ovenI’m baking a peach pie and it got me into a reflective mood. My friend Dr. Mark Groshek posted this week about the fun he had with his nephews while they re-created the Titanic’s menu. I always have fun in the kitchen with my 9-year-old daughter, but this time I was going solo. Which meant I could pay attention to what I was doing.

I’ve been using Julia Child’s recipe for pie dough for a couple of years now, but I have yet to get it just right. The end results are fabulous, but up to now it has been a struggle to roll out a disk that would hold together as I lay it into the dish. While people complimented me on my pies, they didn’t know that at the bottom was a stitched-together FrankenCrust.

I took bold moves today. I used the stand-up mixer for only the second time in my pie-making career. I mixed the dough a lot longer, incorporated the butter slowly and the shortening quickly, and added a lot more ice water than usual. The dough was much more batter-y than biscuit-y. I had my doubts, but after a few hours in the fridge it rolled out well (though soft) and held together as I folded it into the dish. The top covered perfectly and is puffing nicely in the oven.

I worry that it might be too soft — maybe soggy. But if so, I already know what I’ll do next time to correct it. Which got me to thinking grandpa-like thoughts. Pie-making is something I have been trying to master for 40 years. While I know I’ll never completely master it, I will be able to pass the technique on to my grandkids.

I smiled as I thought I heard a little voice say, “let’s ask Grandpa Steve to bake a pie!”

Then I thought: Is that what they’re going to call me?

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