No More Mr. Nice Pie

No More Mr. Nice Pie
Drawing by Retsu Takahashi

Friday, December 5, 2014

December Pie-atus, Shakin' Things Up

'Tis the month of December
We're still in the kitchen,
But now ‘stead of 40s
To carols we listen.
Eight hours non-stop of Bing, Nat and Burl
After a while, it wears on a girl.

Last week was Thanksgiving,
We're still a bit achy
Personally speaking, I'm still not awake-y.
I'll cease with the whining-
It's time now for cookies
In case you are wondr'ing
Come take a look, see?

There's gingerbread dolls and gingerbread guys
And snow globes and Santas but wait, a surprise!
We've added menorahs because luck would have it
Hanukkah falls on the 16th, dag nabbit.

Tray upon tray of the cookies need icing
My carpal and tunnel I'll be sacrificing
Until someone orders a pie, then I'll pause
And turn my attention elsewhere, Santa Claus.

This week, canned pumpkin is about as popular as a box of   conversation hearts on February 15th.  Blissfully, folks have enjoyed more than their share of Thanksgiving eats, pie included. I welcome this temporary pie-atus, because last week’s blur of towering pie shells and blistering ovens still haunts my dreams. As a post-mortem to Thanksgiving, we gathered around Friday night’s dinner table to consume a savory pie featuring a buttermilk biscuit crust. Then we played a rousing game of Scrabble. While I struggled with six vowels and the letter “X,” I kept thinking about that biscuit crust. The original recipe is from the Slice of Heaven days and worth every calorie.

At work, December turns our attention to literally thousands of cookies. Between sanding sugar, edible pearls and gold dragées, there is enough sweet going on in the kitchen to set your teeth on edge and your dentist on high alert. With a tidal wave of royal icing nipping at my heels, citrus is my desperately needed life preserver.

We are in the thick of rolling out the jolly which naturally leads me down the opposite path. Sugar cookies may be my vocation, but they are not really my carb of choice. This is a sad state of affairs for Mr. Sweet As Pie. Undoubtedly, he will be forced to smuggle in a box of holiday cookies from Trader Joe’s which he will hide behind the packages of whole wheat linguini. To me this is blasphemous, and yet I understand. The absence of cookies in the house forces people to do the unspeakable.  I suppose that makes me an enabler.

As we waded through the poinsettas and paper whites, my co-hort headed for a container of milk (by way of the cookie aisle). Strolling over to produce, I was amazed to see Meyer lemons lounging next to mesh bags of oranges. Not-so-gently nudging the woman in front of me while she pondered organic vs. non, I plucked three bags from the display. Their fragrance was infinitely better than anything holiday permeating the store.

The Meyer lemons called out for Shaker Lemon Pie. I paused for just a moment to embrace the Shaker Lemon but bypass the typical pie crust. What I really wanted was something lemony I could smuggle into work and nibble on with a few cups of joe. I quickly found a partner in crime. I returned to the biscuit.

I know what you're thinking. Biscuits are to be handled with the utmost tenderness, and I agree. But that hasn't stopped me from carefully rolling out biscuit dough to a thinness appropriate to pigs in blankets or thin enough to embrace galette fillings. One recipe of buttermilk biscuits lends itself as the ideal crust for Shaker Meyer lemon. This is dash-out-of-the-house breakfast pie, a biscuit filled with jam. 

This is probably not what Santa has in mind when he tumbles down the chimney on the 24th. It will be a far more bracing choice, and teamed with espresso, ideal for a man on a mission. The flavor states in one bite, bright.

Fine; because ‘tis the season, I’ll toss in merry.

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