I decided to bake my way through the Great British Baking Show (GBBS for short) and write about it. Don’t know much about GBBS? No worries. Check out my first blog in this series to learn more about the show and about why I decided to do this, for better or for worse (so far, mostly worse).
So this week I was supposed to make a tower of pies that was at least three tiers and included three different types of pie.
And, I did. Technically. Kind of.
But not really.
I did make three different kinds of pies and I made one of those kinds of pie into a four-tiered tower.
My tower was just significantly smaller than the towers made by the GBBS contestants. And, also, I took about three weeks to make all of my pies, when they made all of theirs in one afternoon.
I did this for a few reasons. Number one, because, time-wise I just didn’t have a whole day to devote to pie-making this month.
Yeah, I know, it shouldn’t take me all day to make three pies. But, in case it wasn’t clear by now, I have no idea what I’m doing so it very well may have taken me a whole day.
Number two, three pies are just too many pies for me to have around the house at once. That’s a lot of pie for two people to eat.
And, yeah, okay, I could share. But sometimes you’re leery of sharing something you baked when you have absolutely no idea if you got it right.
Like “Hey everyone, come over here and eat this stuff I made. It may be awful, but just eat it anyways and don’t be a jerk about it.”
But, of course, I did make people eat them anyway and they were very generous about them even though the pies didn’t warrant it.
(It pays to be friends with nice people who lie to you sometimes when you need it.)
Okay, anyway, on to the pies.
This time, I took a break from the British and went very American with my pies. I used three pie recipes from Ree Drummond, a.k.a. the Pioneer Woman. They were from two Pioneer Woman cookbooks I already owned – The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays and The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Dinnertime.
From Holidays I used her Pecan Pie recipe and her Caramel Apple Pie recipe. Both of these recipes use her Perfect Pie Crust recipe from the same cookbook.
From her Dinnertime cookbook, I made her Individual Chicken Pot Pies. (I then, very briefly, made these individual chicken pot pies into a pie tower. More on that later.)
Let’s start with the pecan pie. I’ve never made a pecan pie in my life. I’ve also never eaten a pecan pie. So I had no idea what I was doing with this one.
In a way, this was a relief, because I knew whatever I made, it would be the single greatest pecan pie I’d ever made in my life.
(It would, by this logic, also be the worst, but I decided not to focus on that.)
Anyhoo, here’s some pics of the pie in progress.
As you can see, I didn’t make any huge mistakes here. It was a baking breakthrough!
And naturally, I did a dance in celebration.
Let’s just ignore the fact that pecan pie is actually pretty easy to make and all I did was make a pie crust, mix a few ingredients in a bowl and then dump that mixture and some pecans into a crust.
This may have been a bad pie for me to start out with because it gave me a very inflated sense of self-confidence in my pie baking skills. Because, it actually ended up looking like a pecan pie. (I think)
Then, I made the Caramel Apple Pie which sounds delicious, but wasn’t as delicious thanks to my poor execution and way too much caramel.
I just said “too much caramel” which is something I never thought I’d say. But seriously just look at this.
See that pic at the end? That’s supposed to be a drizzle of caramel. A drizzle.
I don’t know if my store-bought caramel sauce was too thin, or if I just put it on the pie when the pie was still too warm, but my pie looked like it had been hit by a caramel thunderstorm not a caramel drizzle.
My friends who I forced to eat it were very nice about it, but, again it was possible they were just being nice. (You can never tell with these people. They’re crafty like that.)
Then for my pièce de résistance – my pie tower – I used my individual chicken pot pies.
These were made from a pie crust the Pioneer Woman calls “All-Butter Pie Crust.” It has three whole sticks of butter in it. Three! Just in the crust! It was insane. If for some reason, you want to raise your cholesterol, eat this.
All in all, this bake was pretty easy. The only problem I had was I’d accidentally bought the wrong size of pot pie pans online and then I was too lazy to return them and try again. The ones the Pioneer Woman uses in her recipe are deeper so they can take more of the filling. Mine were smaller so I had lots of filling left over. Like a whole bunch.
That picture toward the bottom right is all of the leftover filling.
But aside from having a bunch of leftover filling, I was pretty psyched about how these bad boys turned out.
Because they did not have soggy bottoms (which our judge Mary Berry would have hated) and they were solid enough that I could actually stack them. Into a tower. Like this:
Now, this tower may have only lasted for a few seconds while I took a picture of it before I got scared and took it apart. But it was still there. Ever so briefly. Like a gosh-darn double-rainbow or a freakin’ shooting star.
And it had me feeling really, really good about myself.
So, all in all, this bake challenge wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, because, well, I sort of cheated. (Which always makes things easier.) But, it was also easier than I thought it would be because I actually got better at making pie crusts. As in, I learned something guys! Which was sort of the whole point of all this.
Next time, I’ll start learning about European cakes because I’ll move into Episode 6’s Continental Cakes episode.
This is going to be tough. Really though. I have to make stuff like this.
But, thankfully, I’ll get to start out making just a yeast-leaven cake, which I’ve also never done before. But, heck, I’d never made a pie tower before this week either, so who knows what I can bake up?
Probably something wonderful (or, something wonderfully terrible). Either way, I’ll blog about it. So catch you next time. It’s either gonna be great or awful.
P.S. A special thanks to Sugar Bear (you know who you are) for the caster sugar which will help me bake like a real Brit.
P.P.S. Sharing is cool, guys. If you know some people who may like the blog, please share this post or let people know about the Facebook page. Your friends will either like it, or they’ll think it’s dumb, but since they’re your friends, they’ll probably be nice about it either way. So, share it, if you feel like it, no pressure.
P.P.P.S. Just in case this wasn’t clear. Ree Drummond, a.k.a. the Pioneer Woman, is a gosh-darned cooking and baking genius, so any problems with the recipes are due to my execution and not anything she did. She’s the best.
Until next time.