Pumpkin Pie

Tuesday was, as many of you likely know, the first day of autumn! Some call this day Mabon, others know it as the Autumnal Equinox, this year most people called it Tuesday—it also happened to be the New Moon. At any rate, I wanted to celebrate the change of the season with Jake in a low key but intimate way so I decided to bake some pies and make whipped cream for us, and to share with our friends after our weekly wolf socialization practice that evening. Pumpkin pie seemed appropriate for a few reasons, not the least of which is that it’s one of my favourite pies, but mostly because pumpkin has become the “flavour of the season.” So I set out to gather all the ingredients and bits that I’d need for baking.

nicole-3After the fifth trip to the nearest grocery store I finally had everything I needed for pumpkin pie and was ready to get started, I was also pretty frustrated with myself and my tendency to forget list items when I’m excited about something. I set to chopping and grinding fresh cinnamon, cloves, and coriander—because that’s how you get good pie, you cut and grind whole ingredients. Okay, except the coriander, that I used pre-ground. I had everything mixed together and added in the eggs—which were fresh from the chicken and given to me by a friend who keeps her own hens—to my mixing bowl when my arm pressed the throttle on my KitchenAid® mixer and flung pumpkin mash and egg all over the place. Granted it wasn’t much and I shut it off almost instantly so it wasn’t really a big deal, but it definitely added one more bar to the frustration meter.

Once the pie filling was ready and I had the oven preheated, I opened up the graham cracker crusts and set to transferring them to my pie plates. When I buy premade graham cracker crusts I don’t like to bake them in the aluminium pans they come in because I find that they tend to burn and so I transfer them to my ceramic or glass pie plates. I’ve been doing this for years so please don’t suggest that it’s impossible or stupid to transfer the graham cracker to a ceramic pie plate, or that baking in the aluminium pans is better. Unfortunately for me the first crust shattered. I don’t mean it broke a little, I mean that it shattered and could not be used. (For those of you unfamiliar with baking pies, pumpkin pie filling is a liquid and it will go through and large cracks in your crust and then burn on the plate making the whole pie taste burnt.) Frustrated further, I said to myself “no worries, I’ve got a second crust. I’ll get that started and then go get a replacement.” And so I opened the second and set to moving it to the pie plate. It, too, shattered and was unusable, but only after it appeared that it transferred successfully and got my spirits up.

xrayThis it the point where I was feeling so defeated and frustrated that I wanted to cry a little bit—or hit something. Depending on how well you know me, you may have figured out that I am a hopeless romantic. And although I try very hard to be relaxed and go with the flow, I’m also pretty “Type A.” I had just spent an hour and a half preparing pies—a process that should have only taken 15 to 20 minutes—and now it appeared that it had all been a waste of effort. The whole process had been one frustrating mistake after another and all I was trying to do was to do something nice for my boyfriend. So I sorta lost it for a second and punched the shattered graham cracker crust in the pie plate, on the counter. Don’t judge me too harshly here, folks, we’ve all done stupid things when we’re frustrated and feeling defeated and I will be the first to admit the whole situation is pretty hilarious. Anyway, long story short, what I though was a dislocation turned out to be a pretty serious fracture.

And that’s how it happened. I punched a pie crust. While I was at the urgent care waiting for x-rays I had the nursing staff in tears laughing: “Yes, I got in a fight with a pie crust. Yes, it broke my had. But I kicked that crust’s ass!” There was the suggestion that I had lost the fight, but let me point out that only one of us walked away…

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