Tag Archives: pie

such a tart

3 May

You should know—and perhaps you’ve already noticed—that my photography skills—the little that I had—went to pot fast here on McPolish. I’d like to blame camera phones, Instagram, dirty politicians, and cheap gin, but really it’s because I’m too lazy to pull out my big, fancy camera and do a proper photo with good lighting, photo editing, etc, etc.

And because of this, I realize in my quest to achieve Pie Greatness this year, I’m not giving you very appetizing shots of the pies I’ve made.

Well, Interwebs….

Prepare to be disappointed again, friends!

But what April’s featured pie lacks in photogenic-ness (?) (it’s a word now), it makes up for in taste. And know that I at least attempted to get you some better photos this month, friends. I may not have succeeded, but it’s the thought that counts.

I should also prepare you to be twice disappointed because technically I made a tart, which is not exactly a pie, but it’s not not a pie. As I mentioned on The Instagram when I made this brown butter raspberry tart from epicurious, tarts are similar to pies in that there is crust and there is filling, so it counts. And, and, when I looked up just now whether it should be tart or tarte, The Wikipedia says this “tarte” is a French word that can mean either pie or tart, “as both are mainly the same with the exception of a pie usually covering the filling in pastry, while flans and tarts leave it open.”


The uncooked tart, which is similar to pie.

The key word here is usually, people. When have I ever done anything “usually”? Do you see pastry lids on any of the three previous pies I’ve made this year? No. No you do not.

Ergo, this tart counts toward my Year of Pie goal.

It also counts because I say it does.

Anyhooters, once I nailed the browned butter part of this recipe (my first batch of browned butter burned, and I learned something then: There is nothing sadder than burned butter) (I learned, too, that it’s easier to brown butter in a pot with a light colored bottom, because you can actually tell when it starts to brown) (tell your friends), the rest of it came together beautifully. And instead of listening to the directions, I only cooked it for about 30 minutes, rather than 40, but it seemed done, so I pulled it out of the oven. But then about an hour later I was second guessing my decision, and was worried I’d have yet another fall-apart dessert on my hands when slicing it up that night for our guests (because yes, I all the goddamn time buck the adage that you should never make new recipes when you’ve got guests coming for dinner, because what if it all goes to shit) (answer: order pizza) so I threw it back into the oven for another ten minutes or so just to be sure.

Let the record show that Swede gave me A Look when I did this and then put a voice to my doubt over this choice. And let the record show that he also agreed with me when I said, “I may have fucked up the tart.”

And also let the record show we were both wrong.


The finished tart, which is still similar to pie.

Next time I’ll probably just bake it for 40 minutes straightaway, rather than 30 minutes and then another 10 random minutes later in the day. But it obviously didn’t affect the taste, because the four of us—me, Swede, and our old next-door neighbors who came for dinner—killed that tart in one fell swoop. There was not a crumb in sight.

And tart makes FOUR.













year of the pie–i’m telling you i didn’t forget!

5 Apr

I know you think I’ve let pie fall by the wayside, because it’s April and there’s yet to be a mention of pie since my successful(ish) January bake. But there was pie in February, Interwebers. And there was one in March, too, thankyouverymuchandhaveaniceday. But we’re not talking about March’s pie right now. We’re talking about February, because it’s April, and I am nothing if not timely.

February’s pie was delicious. I made a creamy lemon pie, with the recipe courtesy of Sally’s Baking Addiction because that Sally knows her shit. (If you’re on the hunt for some delicious baked goods, I highly recommend checking out her site. It’s reputable.* Granted, I haven’t had success with EVERY recipe I’ve tried from her, but let’s be frank—that’s most likely due to user error rather than the recipe she’s touting.)

I made the pie for Swede’s birthday, and it took some trial and error getting to the decision to make the creamy lemon pie, because when I asked Swede what kind of dessert he wanted for his birthday, he listed five different options. One of which was a lemon meringue pie, which I immediately jumped on because I actually know how to make a lemon meringue pie, and I know how to make a really delicious lemon meringue pie, but then I realized that couldn’t count toward my Year of the Pie Goal, so I decided what Swede really wanted was a creamy lemon pie, which would be also delicious and would, in fact, count toward my Year of the Pie Goal.


The name of this pie says it all: It’s creamy and it’s lemon. And the whipped cream on top is delightful (and yes, I did that piping myself). I liked the crust, too, because A) Not a pastry crust! I still haven’t found my rolling pin! and 2) The almonds in the graham cracker crust add a nice flavor. Overall, this is a stupidly easy pie to bring together, though I was a little nervous that it wouldn’t set and the filling would come blubbering out once I sliced into it, because I’m nervous about this with any pie, really. But it didn’t! It held together beautifully. Everyone seemed to enjoy it, even Swede, even if it’s not really the pie he chose, but whatever.


*After pinning thousands of pins on Pinterest, and actually making some, I’ve come to the stark realization that you can’t always believe what is on the Interwebs. (!!!) And frequently, the recipes I tried turned out like crap. So over the past year or so, I’ve largely been sticking to food sites that I know have been around since the dawn of blogs and have a good reputation.


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.