The Holy Trinity

You were warned. After Shuna’s awesome pie-making class a couple of weeks ago, you knew, or should have known, that pies were coming. And come they did.

As we had an event to attend the Friday after Thanksgiving, we offered to make pies so we could flex our newfound muscles. Gotta put that training into action. Use it or lose it, right?

We’re talking pie here, and we’re talking Thanksgiving. There are three and only three flavors that resonate with holiday: Pumpkin (sorry, punkin), apple and pecan. The Holy Trinity. Could we have tried something more adventurous? Probably. Will we branch out and try new and exotic flavor combinations in the future? You better believe it. But we’re aiming to please the masses here, so no curried sweet potato chiffon this time, even if that does sound rather good.

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Easy as pie

I’ve always felt that anything worth doing is worth doing well. Pie crust certainly fits well within the category of things worth doing. I’ve never been much of a baker — DPaul is the breadmaster in the house — and not having the mastery of a good, simple pie dough has always felt like a gaping hole in my culinary repertory. So in order to learn how to do it well, DPaul and I both undertook tutelage from a bona fide pastry chef, in fact arguably the best of the bunch, the always fabulous Shuna Lydon.

If you are not yet a loyal and regular reader of her blog, eggbeater, you should be. Her stellar CV aside (she’s worked with luminary chefs in some of the most esteemed kitchens in the Bay Area, such as French Laundry, Aziza and Citizen Cake), she is a fabulous writer, whimsical, intuitive and poetic. She takes gorgeous photographs. And she’s just a plain old sweetheart.

Jumbled into the diminutive kitchen at Poulet in Berkeley, a dozen of us of varying degrees of bakeitude focused our five senses on the task at hand, producing a delectable all-butter pie crust. Shuna showed us the ropes on mixing our frozen butter and frozen flour in a frozen bowl, stopping along the way to allow us to touch the mixture and train our sensory memory to know when to stop. This is the stuff you cannot learn in a book, on TV or even (gasp!) the Internet.

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