Sunday, January 19, 2014

Happy National Popcorn Day! Now, Can We Talk About Pie?

Are you confused? So was I when I heard out of the corner of my ear, via the television, that Sunday, today would be/is National Popcorn Day! It isn't as if I didn't know it, I mean after all, I do have quite the "food" calendar under by belt. Fact is, today I wanted to talk pie. As a matter of fact, I've been "dying" to share this post with you ever since I discovered a new/old way for making the perfect custard pie! It's called, are you ready, drum roll please...Slipped Custard Pie! That's right, you heard me loud and clear, Slipped Custard Pie. Now, get your head out of the refrigerator, this is no pie-in-your-face kind of joke. It's been tested and approved:)

Don't get me wrong. I have nothing against popcorn. Nothing at all. In fact, I've been known to pop a bit of corn in my day, especially in October when we celebrate Popcorn Poppin' Month! Tis the season for popcorn, I suppose, with the big "game" just around the corner. But hey, I covered that with the wing post I did the other day. But, just in case you're visiting today in search of Popcorn, I did manage to "confiscate" a Coconut-Popcorn Crunch Pie from the nice folks at The National Popcorn Board. The pie is baked on a pizza pan. You really should go check it out for the kiddies:)

As for me, I'm looking to the future, this Thursday, January 23rd, happens to be National Pie Day! And since I already have plans for Wordless Wednesday, what other day would I have to share my new found secret? What? You've heard of Slipped Custard Pie? Oh well, that's crummy but I have some other pie considerations for you. A pie in the face perhaps, lol...

According to the Guinness World Records website, the custard pie is the traditional pie of choice for throwing at actors:) Admittedly, I was rather surprised to discover that the first person to hurl said custard pies was silent screen star, Mabel Normand.

The first ballistic custard pie was discharged by Mabel Normand in the direction of Fatty Arbuckle in A Noise from the Deep (USA 1913). In subsequent pictures Mabel was generally the recipient of Arbuckles pies. He had an unerring aim and an extraordinary physical dexterity that enabled him to hurl two pies at once in opposite directions!

At first the pies used in slapstick comedies were the real thing, but it was soon found that they had a distressing tendency to disintegrates in the air. A patisserie called Greenberg's in Glendale, California, came up with a solution to the problem - a special ballistic custard pie with a double thickness of pastry and a filling of flour, water and whipped cream. The filling came in two flavours; blackberry if the recipient was a blonde, lemon meringue for a brunette, to show up better on black and white film. The custard pie weathered the end of the silent era, finding use in 1930s films by Laurel Hardy and the Three Stooges, and later, in such films as Beach Party (US63) and The Great Race (US65). Pie-Throwing In Comedy: A Brief History

It took Charlie Chaplin to bring it to the next level. He staged an actual pie fight which ended up being the first "proper" pie fight on film:

Granted, I've been around for a while but I don't remember anyone except Soupy Sales throwing pies. This next video is a long one:)

You might be wondering why I chose to share Slipped Custard Pie as my pie of choice to celebrate National Pie Day. Simple really, I despise soggy pie crust. The cool thing about Slipped Custard Pie is that you bake the pie crust without the filling! That's right. The crust is baked by itself and the custard is baked by itself and then the custard is slipped into the crust. No more gummy crust! Here's a better explanation from America's Best Lost Recipes from the editors of Cook's Country Magazine, also the source for today's custard recipe.

Now don't laugh at my pie, or the crust for that matter. I had some kitchen issues that Marion just wasn't able to help with:) We had a mix up with pie plates and sizes:) It seems we baked a couple of pies for the women's shelter over the holidays and we both forgot to retrieve the pie plates. Anyway, we made do. And, don't let the looks deceive you, this custard pie was dee...li...cious, silky melt in your mouth smooth with just the kind of crust I was looking for.

I admit, I did buy a frozen pie crust as a back up. Making pie crust is not my forte. Although, some of those pies we made for the shelter did have homemade pie crust. Marjie, the Modern Day "Harriet" was kind enough to give me a "foolproof" recipe that came to our rescue. For this recipe though, I wanted a crust that was hovering on being cookie like. I finally chose a recipe from Ken Haedrich's Pie book which you can see here on google books. The recipe was exactly what I wanted but, I just didn't have the right size pie pan to do it justice. You see, the thing with making a "slipped" pie is that one pie plate has to be smaller than the other, the pie pan with the custard filling should be the smaller one. The pie plate I had for the custard was indeed smaller but the pie plate for the crust was way to big!

Here's the recipe for the custard. With the exception of adding a tablespoon of lemon curd to the milk mixture, and using vanilla sugar (you can see the vanilla specks in the custard if you look real close) it is the same recipe as the one found in Cook's. Oh, I only used 1 teaspoon of vanilla because I used the vanilla sugar and I strained the custard in a mesh strainer before putting it in to its pie plate.

Slipped Custard Pie
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
3 large eggs
2/3 cup sugar
3 Tbsps. cornstarch
2 tsps. vanilla extract
¼ tsp. fresh grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp. salt
1 prebaked 9-inch pie shell

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Heat milk and cream in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat until steaming — about 6 minutes.
2. Whisk together the eggs, sugar, cornstarch, vanilla, nutmeg and salt in a medium bowl.
3. Heat your prebaked pie shell in the oven until hot for 5 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, whisk steaming milk and cream into the egg and cornstarch mixture in a slow steady stream. Return egg and milk mixture to saucepan and cook on medium low, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the custard begins to thicken and forms a ridge on tip of the spoon when bottom of pan is scraped and spoon is lifted.
5. Leaving the pie plate on the oven rack, pour the custard into the hot pie shell. Bake until custard has set around edges, but jiggles slightly in the center when shaken. (12-15 minutes) Cool to room temperature before serving.

Would I make this pie again? Absolutely! There are so many possiblitlites and to tell you the truth, the only problem I didn't have was the "slipping." I was careful, followed directions and it worked like a charm. I'd love to try "technique" again as a Chocolate Custard pie or perhaps a Crème Brûlée:)

Thank you all so much for your kind words on the "Love Story" post as Nee liked to call it. The next Valentine's Day cards and story will be up on Friday. Enjoy Popcorn Day and don't forget Pie Day on Thursday! I'm off to breakfast now but I'll be back to visit you all ASAP! (it's a blizzard out there:) Louise