Saturday Morning at Shady Acres. Eldest Son slept in, then came downstairs to wonder about whether or not his car was coming home from the body shop soon. It was supposed to come today. By lunch time. He wanted to go to the bank. Finally, he gave up and took the family mini-van to the bank. And came home again to wonder aloud many times if his car was going to come home.
After much fussing around, in the early afternoon, he and his Dad took a ride down there and were able to come in on the final washing of his newly repainted and repaired car. He was quite elated. But he still had several hours before he needed to be anywhere, and he was bored.
“Mom,” he said suddenly. “I think I would like to make some peanut butter pie.” I must have looked at him askance because he hurried on, “I want to make it myself. The time might come when I would be hungry for it and you might not be around, so I think I would like to learn to make it. Everything. Even the crust.”
This was not exactly what I had planned for this afternoon. There was bookwork calling me, and other Saturday jobs, but I was rather pleased at this initiative, so I agreed that this would be a great time for him to learn to make peanut butter pie. “Besides,” he added plaintively, “I am really hungry for peanut butter pie right now. It has been a long time since we had it.” I’ve been doing some pondering on that one, and I know we’ve had it since Thanksgiving. But he didn’t get any at Christmas, so I suppose that has been a long time.
So we started with the crust. I told him the ingredients and how much of everything, and he actually showed a good hand at this measuring and combining part of it. “This is good,” I thought. “I wonder if he will stick by it till the end.” After cutting in the crisco and mixing the “wet stuff” together and then sprinkling the dough with it, he sat down to form his first ball of dough for rolling out:
Here he is shaping the dough carefully in preparation for rolling it out.
Here he spreads the plastic wrap carefully on the table.
Rolling it out takes careful concentration, but with the help of a form and the help of motherly instructions, he actually did very well with the pie dough business.
Put it into the pan, smooth it down carefully.
Then trim off the edges carefully with the knife.
I was sure I had a picture of his big fingers gingerly going around the pie crust, making almost perfect crimps, but I can’t find it. One of the later pictures will show the crimps, though, and he did a great job! After they were all crimped and pierced with a fork, he put the crusts into the oven and baked them. They were gorgeous looking pie shells.
The next order of business was to make the peanut butter crumbs. This was another step I neglected to catch on film. Let’s just say that he made crumbs with vim and vigor! Lots of them. You see, my crust recipe makes crust for three to four pies. He stretched it to four, and then decided that all four of them would be peanut butter. This would take lots of custard and lots of crumbs. So he got the crumbs made, and spread a layer in the bottom of each of his baked pie shells.
Then it was time to make the custard. This was where I figured he would wear down. It takes time and patience to make a perfect custard. But he measured the flour and salt and cornstarch and sugar, he separated a dozen eggs and mixed the yolks and a cup of milk with the dry ingredients while the milk came to a boil on the stove. Then he mixed the hot milk into his egg mixture and then poured it all back into the sauce pan till it came to a nice boil.
He stirred it carefully and patiently and was soon rewarded with a beautiful, thick smooth custard.
He turned off the heat and measured and added the vanilla and butter. It looked wonderful and smelled even better.
When everything was fully mixed, he poured it into the waiting pie shells.
Youngest Daughter, in Wal-Mart with her friends was able to procure some cool whip for the tops. She and her friends came home to hang around and giggle and be impressed. Eldest Son finally said that anyone who laughted at him couldn’t have any. This caused even more merriment, but did not deter the chef.. Finally, when the pies had cooled sufficiently, the cool whip was applied:
And after that,
(I know, it looks like he’s putting on Cool Whip, but it really is the crumbs!)
And then the pies were done. They were far better looking peanut butter pies than I had ever made, and that is the honest truth. I think Eldest Son was quite satisfied with his efforts.
What do you think? Aren’t they beautiful pies?
And doesn’t he look pleased with his accomplishment?
The only drawback is that now he thinks he is the boss of those pies.
So if you want a piece, you will have to ask him.
(And you can’t have any if you laugh at him!)
I heard him saying something about being able to eat them all himself, even if it took a couple of weeks.
(I think he has some things to learn about the quality of old pie.)
Way to go, Raph! I really am so proud of you!