I’ve been afraid of something for years. It’s an irrational fear, I know that. Yet, my fear had me frozen and convinced I could not do this. What is it, you ask? What is this thing that’s held me back from fulfilling my destiny?
Or more specifically, making a pie crust from scratch has been my fear.
As 2012 wound to a close, I was determined to conquer this fear, so I made my mother-in-law’s chocolate meringue pie. Barry loves this pie, but the only time he gets it is when she makes it. So I decided to take a crack at it and see how it would turn out.
You know what?
It turned out fine. Well, it’s not the most beautiful pie crust ever, but it’s not a bad first effort!
My fear was all for nothing. I’m not sure what I was afraid of. That I wouldn’t be able to do it? That it would turn out horribly? That it would be way to difficult and take too much time? None of those things came true. So, I guess that statement that what we fear is usually worse in our minds than in reality is true. It was just a pie crust and I conquered it!
I finished making the whole pie, which involved cooking the chocolate filling from scratch, too, and it also turned out fine. It wouldn’t win any awards in a competition, but it was edible and I’m fine with that. I wasn’t going for perfection here! :)
Here’s the recipe:
Chocolate Meringue Pie
Pie Crust (adapted from Williams-Sonoma’s Basic Pie Dough)
- 1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 Tbs sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 8 Tbs (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
- 3 Tbs very cold water
Using a stand mixer, fit the mixer with the flat beater, and stir together the flour, sugar and salt in the mixer bowl. Add the butter and toss with a fork to coat with the four mixture. Mix on medium-low speed until the texture resembles course cornmeal, with the butter pieces no larger than small peas. Add the water and mix on low speed just until the dough pulls together.
Transfer the dough to a work surface, pat into a ball and flatten into a disk. (Although many dough recipes call for chilling the dough at this point, this dough should be rolled out immediately for the best results.) Lightly flour the work surface, then flatten the disk with 6 to 8 gentle taps of the rolling pin. Lift the dough and give it a quarter turn. Lightly dust the top of the dough or the rolling pin with flour as needed, then roll out into a round at least 12 inches in diameter and about 1/8 inch thick. Makes enough dough for one 9-inch single-crust pie or one 10-inch galette.
Place the dough in a pie pan and press gently into the pan. Trim the edges and use your fingers to make a nice little border. I attempted this and ended up with some kind of abstract design that didn’t resemble a lovely pie crust – but, hey, it still tasted fine.
Bake in a 450° oven for 13-15 minutes, watching to make sure the edges do not burn. The crust should be nice and golden brown when done.
Chocolate Filling and Meringue Topping(from Pat Turner)
- 1 cup sugar
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- Dash of salt
- 2 cups milk
- 3 eggs, separated
- 3 tablespoons cocoa
- 1 tablespoon butter or margarine
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 baked 9-inch pastry shell
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
Combine 1 cup sugar, flour, cocoa, and salt in a heavy saucepan; mix well. Combine milk and egg yolks; beat with a wire whisk 1 to 2 minutes or until mixed well. Gradually stir into sugar mixture, mixing well. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat; add butter and vanilla, stirring well. Pour into pastry shell; set aside.
Beat egg whites and cream of tartar at high speed of an electric mixer 1 minute. Gradually add 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form and sugar dissolves (2 to 4 minutes). Spread meringue over hot filling, sealing to edge of pastry. Bake at 350° for 10 to 12 minutes or until meringue is golden brown.
And the finished product!
This is a very silly example of something I refused to attempt for years for fear I couldn’t do it. Is there something you are afraid of that you could conquer today or this week? Why not just go for it! It’s a new year and it might just be THE year for you to overcome a big or little fear that is standing in your way.