My childhood had a storybook grandmother. She loved me to pieces, and always had a way of making me feel that her world revolved around me. Which to this day, I like to believe that it did. After all, I am her baby’s baby.
Not only was she kind, and fun like a storybook grandmother, she enjoyed to cook, and bake from scratch. You could walk into her kitchen and find a homemade pie on her table on any given day. On a rare occasion that no one was around to cook for, she was known to cook a nice dinner for herself and her dog. Making him the best fed German shepherd on the block.
Years later, her daughter, my aunt, is also very talented in the kitchen. Like her mother pies are a major specialty. Our family tends to count on her to bring homemade delicious pies to every holiday gathering. I can’t deny that I look forward to seeing her walk through my door, pie in-hand on my birthday each year. Always my favorite, peach.
Knowing that my aunt is not getting any younger, I recently felt the responsibility to become next inline for the pie making. Only one problem – I’ve never done it! But, I had sat next to my grandma’s table and watched her whip-up a pie from scratch a gazillion times over the years. How hard can it be? So, the day before Easter, I decided to give a homemade banana cream pie a shot, and this is how it went.
First I’ll start by sharing the fact that Crisco.com has nothing on my Aunt Florence! I followed their so-called perfect pie crust recipe, and ended up with a big hard ball of dry dough. I tried to roll it, but it kept falling apart. I tried wetting my fingers in water, as I remember seeing my grandma do, but had no luck. I scraped it, and tried again, thinking I had to have done something wrong. Not that there was much to go wrong! To no surprise, the same thing happened. By this time, I had been in the kitchen for two hours, was starting to yell at the dough, and everything was covered in flour, including me. This was not how I had pictured this going! Strangely, I don’t have one memory of my grandmother ever yelling at the dough. So, I scarped the second pile of hard dough, and made the smartest move of the day, I gave the family pie expert a quick phone call. Thankfully, my aunt was home to give me a quick run down of how she throws together a pie crust. Of-course, I had to calculate measurements like a “pinch” and a “sprinkle” but, some how I it all made sense.
The third batch of dough rolled out beautifully. I knew I should have just made that call from start! I did have to peace together a lot of the dough to completely cover the pie pan. Making my first pie crust far from perfect, But, at this point I was starting to get a real sense of accomplishment. After all, I’m suppose to be able to do this.
I then made the pudding, and cut the bananas. Pulled out the real heavy whipping cream and started whipping. Even using a hand mixer, I felt as if my shoulder was going to fall off before the whip turned to the consistency fit for a pie. Good thing I had whipped whipping cream before, or I would have given up it took so long.
After an entire afternoon in the kitchen, and that’s not counting the clean-up, I ended up with this. My first completely homemade pie.
Was it worth all of that work? Yes! It was delicious. And, just as important it was from scratch, made with love, just as the two generations before me had made. I thought of my grandmother with every bite, and wished she was still with us. She would have been proud. Just as my aunt was, when she called the next day to ask me how my pie turned out.
Carrying on this family tradition might be a little harder than it looked, and take some practice, but I think I’m ready for it. After all, it can only get easier from here. Next up, apple!