Tag Archives: pie

readers ask

18 May

Dear McPolish,

My darling husband will soon be celebrating his first Father’s Day and has a hankering for banana cream pie. He was quite adamant that it be a good, rich, custard-y type pie, not some banana-flavored thing with 6 inches of fake whipped cream on top, a la Denny’s.

Now, when I think “custard,” I think, “Oh shit, I’m going to have sugary scrambled eggs or raw-egg soup.”

I found a recipe by Emeril Lagasse that I think I’ll use, but sure enough, I’m forewarned not to fuck up the custard during the whisking process when the egg yolks hit the stove. He says to whisk frantically for 5 minutes, but I’m then told to go more by consistency than time.

What, exactly, is the consistency I’m looking for?

—Custard, Not Cus-terd.

Dear Custard,

First of all, there is not a chance in hell you will fuck up the custard, because I know you and I have faith in your baking abilities. Secondly, even if you did fuck it up it would still be okay, and your husband will just have to like it because you birthed a human, for Christ’s sake, and what did he do? He got all the fun part.


I don’t have any kids. I’m going to shut my yap now.


Banana Cream Pie!

Oh, how I love pie. PAH!

But to be honest, having only ever made two pahs in my life, I can’t answer this one from personal experience. But being fantastically resourceful, I researched the interwebs and have an answer for you.


It should be thicker than a pudding, but not as firm as a crème brulee.


Does that help?

Probably not.

It makes sense in my head.


I’m sorry.

Why couldn’t you have asked about the many uses of butter? Or how not to frost a cake?

Let us know how the pah! turns out, and if it doesn’t, can I at least locate the nearest Baker’s Square for you?

Other readers, do you have any advice for Custard? Or is this Custard’s last stand with pah-making? Leave your thoughts, opinions, and tips in the comments section!


On a completely other note, a new food magazine (and crafts and such) recently launched, called Sweet Paul. It’s free! It’s completely online! And it’s pretty good! Check it out if you’re into that sort of thing. Fair warning: the photography is practically lickable.



30 Nov

So that was kind of a weird Thanksgiving. Not weird as in aliens landed in Northwest and demanded to be taken to my leader and instead of my leader I took them to see New Moon at the Uptown*, but weird as in I was not with family.

Check that.

It was weird because I was not with My Family. I was, however, with some members of The Family.**  And it was good. Different, but still good. There was much food. And lots of wine. As I had to work the Thanksgiving buffet at the golf club, I missed out on the pre-dinner pomegranate martinis, but that was okay. I’ve been in a gimlet mood lately anyway.

Since I didn’t know what time I’d be able to join the festivities, I offered to bring dessert. And then immediately fell into a tilt-o-whirl of despair over what to make? WHAT TO MAKE?!? Not everyone was keen on the idea of pumpkin pie, apple pie seemed like something I should practice before I sprang (springed? sprung? You’d think I’d know this.)  it on people on Thanksgiving, we’ve all seen my exceptional outcomes regarding cake lately and I was informed that one of the other The Family members was already bringing cupcakes.

So after much back and forth and incessant IMing with my friend Sean who I’m pretty sure would type his responses patiently all the while thinking in bolded caps DEAR GOD WOMAN I DO NOT CARE, and with some help from my friend Anne, I decided on making a pumpkin pie (because if you do not have pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, it’s like the Pilgrims and Indians may as well have gathered at McDonald’s) and a chocolate pie (because who doesn’t like chocolate pie? I’m not even a huge chocolate person and even I think it sounded delicious. And there was fresh whipped cream involved, which I’m a sucker for. And by sucker I mean if you put your hand between me and fresh whipped cream expect to get it back with three less fingers than you started with, and by the way I’m also keeping whatever jewelry comes with said fingers. Biters keepers, my bitches!)



I should mention that the only pie I’ve made has been of the chicken pot variety. I do not own a pie plate, so scratch the idea of making my own pie crust from the get-go. Which, really, is fine by me seeing as how I don’t really care for pie crust anyway. The only part of the crust I ever really like is the bottom, which is usually soaked with whatever juicy or custardy goodness makes up the pie.

[At this point I should clarify that when I say I made pie, I mean I made pah! My sisters and I have taken saying it (re: shouting) it as such, sounding like an enthusiastic and genteel southern soul, even though we are neither genteel nor southern. We are enthusiastic, though, and that’s the most important part.]

But the pah! So Anne had emailed me her mom’s recipe for chocolate pah, which I was very excited about because her mom is a tremendous baker and I would trust her with my pah life in a heartbeat. I read over the directions, noting that the chocolate pah didn’t need to be baked, just let to set in the fridge. I texted Anne asking how long it needed to set. An hour or so, she replied. Which of course translates to, “Yes, have another glass of wine tonight and make the pahs in the morning.”

So bright and early on Thanksgiving morning I rolled out of bed and gave thanks for waking up to see another day, thanks for a roof over my head, thanks for my people, thanks for my health, and thanks for leftover chili and the sweet, sweet nectar that is Diet Pepsi.


Turns out, pumpkin pah? So easy. So, so easy. Thank you, Libby’s, for your super awesome and traditional recipe, even though I didn’t use all of the filling because that would have made the pah overflow and cause a mess in my oven and let me tell you I would so not be thankful for that. And also, all those crazy news reports that there was a shortage of canned pumpkin? Where? WHERE? Uganda? Because my Safeway was stocked to the point of madness.


The chocolate pah, however.

Oh dear.

It wasn’t too hard to make, to be honest. Since I don’t own a double boiler, I improvised with a bowl from 1976 and a small sauce pan which worked out terrifically. I prebaked the pah crust as instructed. I did everything I was told, and I covered the pah, put it in the fridge and trotted off to work.



Six hours later, I came home and put on my expandable pants, grabbed two bottles of wine and the pahs, and headed out the door. Noting as I walked that the chocolate pah seemed awfully jiggly and sloshy. (And no, I had not been drinking.

When I got to the party, I peeled off the press’n’seal, only to have a thin film of the pie filling cling to it mightily. And what was underneath was nothing more than thickish chocolate soup.

Delicious, of course.

But not very pah-like.

Look at me! I will never set!  Ever!

And of course I don’t have any pictures of the finished pahs, because well, I was too busy mourning over the unset chocolate pah, and I was much, much to busy snarfling down the pumkin pah to stop and take a picture. I’m sorry. Don’t worry, I’ll be making these again – and will take pictures then – because I lurv pumpkin pah and for the love of all that is holy and decent I am determined to make that chocolate pah and make it right. I’ll let you know how it goes.

In the meantime, it’s a few days after Thanksgiving, obviously, but I will tell you that I am still thankful for my health, my people, the roof over my head, living another day. But most of all, for the chili and the Diet Pepsi, both of which are still in my fridge.

*Which is not weird, that would have been AWESOME.

**The Family – those persons who are my people here in DC. Though they are not of blood relation to me, they are like members of my family in that we are all up in each others’ business. Bunch a Nosey Parker Bitches, we are. But, that’s what makes us fun. And not a little scary.