Julie is a certified chocolate freak. I've never seen anything like it. Her house is decorated in chocolate. She is crazy smart, a dedicated mom, fearless wife and trusted cook with a wicked sense of humor. Our love of food and husbands with motorcycles drew us together, but it was her sass that made us friends. I couldn't be happier that she's shared some recipes with me.
Becky Player was the first person to talk to me when I moved to Huntsville. She will always hold a special place in my heart for that... AND the fact that she's a quilter, AND a professional cake decorator, AND likes to go to lunch, AND is a little bit on the ornery side. All good qualities for friendship and, as if she needed to be a better friend, she baked us a pumpkin pie! After hearing of the "pie crust incident", she must have felt bad for Jeff! It wasn't just any "run o' the mill" pumpkin pie, this one was beautiful! Pie crust leaves all around the edge and in the center. The bottom crust was perfect, not soggy in the slightest. The filling was perfect and creamy... I'm gonna have another piece right now!
It's important that I clarify something regarding my poor pie crust skills... It was NOT the recipe, because I just ate some of that recipe, and it's not the recipe. It was just me. Becky has offered to give me a lesson in pie making and I'm going to take her up on it. One day I, too, shall bake a beautiful pie!
I’d like to think that I’m pretty capable in the kitchen. I’d like to think that I can even create delicious dishes that no one else has ever thought of. I’d like to think my kitchen missteps might lead to tasty “mistakes”. I’d like to think that I never mess up. I’d like to think there’s a Fairy God Mother for me out there, I just haven’t needed her yet. But, oh, reality can be a bitter pill. Like every other time my self-esteem has been under attack, I fight back with my go-to positive affirmation, “I have skills in other areas!” I started with a recipe given to me by a trusted baking friend, Becky Player. She rattled it off without even looking it up and talked as though any trained monkey could make a stupid pie crust. I was full of confidence. I get that the butter/shortening has to be cold, and the water has to be cold. I get that you shouldn’t work it too much. I have a pie crust learning disability. I’m not even joking. I think I need an intervention.
I have NEVER had a pie crust turn out like it should. Some are better than others; all have been edible… until last night. I do not understand it. What am I doing wrong?! It was like a bad sitcom! Complete with smoke billowing out of the oven, and a completely inedible result. The crust, sort of, melted/disintegrated and spilled all over the oven. I was storming around the kitchen, throwing pot holders and folding my arms. Jeff was opening all the windows and doors, turning on fans. Having just taken pictures of me making cinnamon rolls, he threatened to pull out the camera and document this adventure. (I know what you’re thinking, but sorry, ladies. He’s all mine.) We tried to eat it. I can’t decide what was worse, the smoky flavor or the chalky effect of cornstarch not cooking long enough. Mmmm, can’t you just taste it?
I had to take some of those cinnamon rolls into work today just for some kitchen validation. I never claimed to be evolved, but I have skills in other areas, and don’t you forget it!
Karma Decker has been in the kitchen since she was old enough to pull a chair up to the counter. A wife and mother of 5 sons, Karma routinely uses baked goods to win the favor of her unruly brood. A professional baker in a former life, she now enjoys baking in smaller batches, ordering desserts at restaurants and calling it “research”, and thinks no gathering is complete without refreshments.