This entry is dedicated to my friend Charlotte, with whom I have shared so many pumpkin pie experiences. Where the heck were you tonight, when I needed you??
I was GOING to write about our lovely afternoon with Brianna and Lacie, about half an hour playing "find me under the blanket" and Bri's impression of Jacob Marley (left). I ended up reading her "Mickey's Christmas Carol," with Goofy playing Jacob Marley. I thought the story might be too advanced for her, and maybe in spots it was, but she was glued to it and, as you can see, makes a very scary Jacob Marley herself.
Lacie was very cute and this video is one that I took of her trying to say "ho ho ho." It seems so difficult go get SMILING pictures of her, which is too bad because she has such a great smile and she smiles all the time, as you can see in this video.
But the afternoon's activities had to take a back seat to my evening, as far as this journal entry is concerned.
Alice Nan and Joe had been invited to a couple of parties and invited the rest of us to go along. Well, I'm not a party person under the best of circumstances and the idea of going to two parties with people I don't know was not at all appealing to me, so I sent everyone off, and I would stay home and make the pies for Christmas dinner.
I had brought all my "tools" for making the crust, my specialty. I had my special rolling pin and my Cuisinart, which makes it SO much easier, though I can (and have) make the dough without it. But I knew it would be easier with it. I also brought the plastic thing I have been rolling dough in. I have been making pie crust most of my life and up until about 5 years ago, I had perfect crusts. Then suddenly for some reason I simply could NOT roll out the crust. It was so frustrating. Something I had done all my life and now I could not do it.
My friend Mary told me about this thing that you put your dough in, zip it up, and roll the dough inside the enclosure to the proper shape. It was great. My crusts were once again perfect.
Then two years ago, suddenly that didn't work any more either. I don't know why. This time I decided I'd refrigerate the dough (they way you are supposed to) and had high hopes for a perfect crust again. The first crust wasn't perfect, but it was decent. Something wild and crazy exploded in my brain and I decided that it had worked so well, I could toss aside my plastic helping bag and go back to the way I used to roll out pie crusts, on the kitchen counter.
Bad idea. Terrible idea. I gathered up the bits and pieces of the dough and tried to rescue it by rolling inside the plastic, but that didn't work either and I ended up taking bits and pieces of dough and pressing them into the side of the pie dish.
This looks better than it actually is, and the dough may be extra salty because of the tears I cried getting it to look this good.
I figured I was home free because the hard part had been done. Ahhh...I was so naive!
First step in making the filling was opening the canned pumpkin. An impossible task. I struggled and struggled and struggled and struggle with the damn electric can opener and it simply would NOT open the can. I searched for a hand held and couldn't find one. The can opener was only tearing up the label on the pumpkin can, so I (wisely) cut it off the can so as not to use the printed recipe, which has always been Char's and my bible.
Frantic, I realized I had to find something else, so I thought I would use a church key (why do they call it a church key?) which started to work, but I was afraid it was going to bend out of shape. I was getting nowhere and making a huge mess and the air was blue with my "expletives deleted."
At this point, the more I tried to use the church key, the more the lid just pressed down into the pumpkin, but wasn't open enough to get any pumpkin out and I couldn't get another cut from the church key.
I finally decided to try the shears (pictured there on the left) and I was able to cut through enough of the can that I could fold it back and scrape pumpkin out of it.
When I finally had enough pumpkin out of the can (couldn't get it all with tearing my hands), I went to add spices. A year or so ago, I couldn't find cinnamon here and Jeri ground whole cinnamon to use. It turned out that year Joe and Alice were having ant problems and found cinnamon was a good deterrent so they had this huge container of cinnamon in their bathroom and it never occurred to me to look there.
But because of that, I knew there was cinnamon here. But could I find it? Of course not! I ranted and raved and tore things apart, but no cinnamon. I saw it in Joe's hands this morning, for crying out loud. Walt put it on his cereal this morning. I finally called Walt at the party they were attending and he told me it was in on the second to the bottom shelf of the cupboard next to the stove in the back.
(see the arrow?) These are the spices in front of the frequently used cinnamon:
One of those is turmeric. TURMERIC? Turmeric in front and cinnamon in back? Not only that, but this is what the cinnamon looked like.
Well. I did find it. I did use it. The filling got made the the pies got baked and I didn't drop either one of them. They actually don't even look bad.
I even cleaned the kitchen up because it was a bloody disaster. With two nicely baked pies and a clean kitchen, I was able to sit and relax and get over my panic of the evening before the partiers got home (10 p.m.). But there were points during the evening that I almost wished I had gone to the parties instead of staying home to bake pies. It was that bad.