I am testing pies this week. (Yes, I know, poor me. Taking one for the team again.) Today was key lime tart and strawberry-rhubarb crumble pie.
All day I made dough and fillings. The tart dough and filling for the key lime came together in an instant, with enough leftovers to make a second small tart–luckily, as it turned out.
The strawberry-rhubarb pie, on the other hand, was a multi-hour affair. First the pie dough. Then the fruit filling. Then the crumble. Then the lattice. In the end, I used a pound of butter, 4 and 1/2 cups of flour, and more sugar than I care to recall. All this in a 9″ pie pan. When I slid the heavy, elaborate confection into the oven, I breathed a huge sigh of relief. ”That’s the hard part done,” I thought. ”Smooth sailing from here!”
50 minutes later, things were looking golden-brown and luscious. It was time to remove the pie to the cooling rack. To pick up the pie pan I grabbed a spatula in one hand and a dish cloth in the other. Couldn’t find the long spatula, so I took the short one. I’ve done it a million times, and the cooling rack was two feet away. No problem!
“Wouldn’t it be horrible,” I thought with amusement, “if the pie fell while traveling those two feet? But honestly, what are the odds…?”
Slowly I turned, the pie balanced between the dish cloth and the spatula. I lowered it toward the rack. The spatula wobbled. ”If the pie fell,” I observed, “it would start just like that. Not that it will!”
I steadied the spatula. I thought I did, anyway. In slow motion, the pie balanced, and overbalanced. Balanced, and overbalanced. Paralyzed, I watched as it slid off the far end of the spatula. I had time to think, “Maybe it will land pan side down…”
It did not.
Pie-mageddon!. . . pie-pocalypse!! I shrieked once and stood there, frozen above an 8-foot zone of strawberry-rhubarb pectinaceous destruction. A long moment passed, and then Husby came to my rescue with the bench scraper and the compost bin. 10 minutes later, the 4-hour, 4-pound pie was food for crows. Even the Titanic did not founder more decisively than this.
Later that evening, we ate the key lime tarts with our friends, and they were very fine indeed. Afterwards, we played a couple rounds of Jenga. On my last turn, I gently eased a block out and placed it on top of the tower. ”It’s wobbly,” I thought, “but no biggie, it’ll hold…”
I think you know the rest of the story.