Well it’s midnight and I just shoved two pies into the oven, which isn’t too bad considering I started this disaster of a baking session 2.5 short hours ago. I mean I guess we could start at waking up this morning, being slightly hungover and looking like total ass, and also somehow my zipper pull on my jeans being on backward. I’d ask why, but at this point…knowing the answer doesn’t even help. So going to the bathroom was fun today, let’s just say that. Also at work, my boss’ boss, who is someone To Impress, came up to my desk and tried to relate to me about the ONE thing we have in common, saying “Hey, you’ll appreciate this…” And instead of appreciating it and then adding in some meaningful way to the conversation, I just guffawed (literally) and turned red and then got really silent. Well played, member of humanity! You aced that interaction!!!
But let’s fast forward and talk about all the things that went WRONG SO HORRIBLY WRONG in the kitchen. Starting with the fact that my oven broke. Straight up doesn’t work. Hey, you know what you need to bake a pie? A fucking oven.
So I procured oven space at my old apt. Luckily I was going to dinner with my old roommate tonight so we just decided we’d end up back at her place afterward for the pie baking. But then she got held up at the nail salon for an hour because apparently everyone in San Francisco decided all at once that they desperately needed their nails did at this particular nail salon in the Richmond.
So it was late when I entered the kitchen, only to discover/remember my old apt does not have…pie tins or a rolling pin! I’m not going to do that fake rhetorical question about items that are essential to pie baking, but, well. These items are some of them!
So I ran to Safeway (literally) and got some tins and a pin and also $8 worth of sour strawberry rope candy which I proceeded to stress-inhale on the run back to the apt. Ah, and I have not started BAKING yet.
Then I’m trying out our new crust and it just fails for me. Like, I questioned my existence. That’s how bad I failed. It was getting stuck, the texture was all wrong, it was breaking, and it was fucking crumbly as shit. Then I calmed the fuck down and took a step back and made some adjustments to the dough and to my shitty attitude and mucked my way through shelling 2 tins. But they did not Look Good.
Obviously no kitchenaid at my disposal, so I tried to (very quietly) beat some egg whites by hand to soft peaks. At that point it was 11:30 and my roommate had gone to bed and of course I’m using one of those BALL whisks, so every stroke literally sounds like me breaking the rack in a pool game. So I walk outside and I beat the egg whites while standing on the sidewalk. Some nighttime hipster bike riders rode by and asked me what I was doing and I said “whipping egg whites!!” and…..well, just take a moment to absorb that scene.
Other than that I apparently completely forgot that lemons have pits so I spent a good 5 minutes fishing some out of the custard, awesome work there, slam dunk. And I spilled an entire bag of rice onto the stove, because if it was on the floor I could’ve just swept it up, but on the STOVE my friends, you have to pick rice pieces out of the burners for, oh, 25 minutes.
In conclusion, no it hasn’t been the culinary ballet I envisioned it to be. But I guess here I am with 2 lemon buttermilk pies, and also the rapture is this Saturday, so fuck it, right?
But then I just had the most lovely taxi ride home with a driver named Kevin, who is studying to become a vet. And also my dinner was joyous. And a present I sent was received and loved. And I got a thank you card in the mail. It’s strange how you can exist in your own personal tornado, and people will, without knowing it, reach in and pull you out. It’s strange and it’s wonderful and it’s 1:17am, which is why this thought feels particularly weighty. Like, AM I RIGHT? People are pretty amazing. Relatedly, this pie.
Lemon Buttermilk Pie
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs, separated, at room temperature
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
the juice and zest of 1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
generous pinch salt
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1 9-inch pre-baked pie shell
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a bowl, mix butter and sugar until smooth and well blended. Add egg yolks and continue to mix. Mix in flour, lemon juice and zest, nutmeg, and salt. Add buttermilk in a thin stream until just blended. Set aside.
3. In another bowl, whisk egg whites until they form soft peaks (when you pull the whisk up through the whites, they should hold some of their shape).
4. Gently fold egg white mixture into buttermilk mixture, by hand, until just combined. Mixture will be somewhat lumpy.
5. Pour filling into pie shell. Bake in middle of oven until pie is the palest shade of brown and the filling is mostly firm, except for a bit of jiggle in the center, 45 to 50 minutes. If edge of crust browns too quickly, cover with foil.
6. Cool on a rack. Serve warm or chilled, with fresh berries.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings.