How to Make a Pie on-the-Fly (July 7, 2015)


Everyone has their creative process. Their own way of thinking through problems and fleshing out fresh ideas.

Recently, I’ve had multiple people ask  me about mine–specifically, how do I come up with pies?

It varies. Sometimes, I’m inspired by other things I eat/see. Sometimes, I think about pies in a very calm and methodical morning brainstorm in my bathroom kind of way. And sometimes, I make pie on-the-fly.

I kind of like those on-the-fly situations best because you essentially go through the same motions of having a well-formulated idea and doing a trial run on it… but the process is sped way up, and then you don’t feel quite as bad if it’s a big flop that first time through.

That’s what happened to me last night. I made A peachy chess pie with a burnt almond crust and fresh peaches and strawberries, on-the-fly style. This is a perfect example of the typical sort of journey my brain takes through conceiving and creating a pie:


  • I’m tired, my feet hurt, I should stop putting things in my cart and leave Target now. I’m so glad tomorrow is Friday.
  • Shit. Tomorrow is Friday. I should really bake a pie.
  • But I’m scared of my oven.
    • (side note: I just moved into a new charming apartment with a charming old school gas oven that makes me nervous)
  • But I need to get over it. I should definitely make a pie. And if my oven explodes, I can use the insurance money to buy more things at Target.
  • What kind of pie do I make?
  • Nothing that requires straining. I broke my mesh sieve and Target doesn’t sell them, for some unapparent reason.
  • Why you gotta be like that, Target?
  • Sorry, I didn’t mean it. You know I’m just really stressed out at work right now. I still love you, Target.
  • I’m about to spend $40 on a table lamp, $12 on foundation, $8 on this stupid cute greeting card with sushi and Chinese takeout boxes on it, and $___ on whatever random items I pick up between here and the cash register… this should  be a cheap pie.
  • I’m making chess pie.
  • I still have those crappy dud peaches Whole Foods ripped me off on. I will peel them, chop them, cook them down, and puree them…
  • Peachy chess pie!
  • I need furniture polish.
  • What about crust?
  • I have named, but still have not assembled my new butcher block kitchen cart thing, so I have zero counter space. Even if I did have work space, I do not feel like making/waiting on chilling pie dough. I am not about that life tonight. Crumb crust it is!
  • Ginger snaps would be nice.
  • Wait, I totally trashed a recently opened bag of ginger snaps literally just the other day because I thought I wouldn’t use them. Seems bratty to buy a new bag now. I have grahams.
  • Let’s do an almond crust. That sounds right.
  • Fresh ginger might be nice, or thyme!
  • JK. I can’t buy those things here. So not walking next door to Fresh Market. I’m keeping this basic as fuh.
  • Is it weird to buy strawberries at Target?
  • Oh well, too late. They’re in my cart.
  • I really have to get out of here.

***drives home***

  • Moment of truth. Oven time. Got this.
  • OK, it’s preheating. That wasn’t so bad. I’m dumb.
  • I guess it’s fine. If I blow my face off in a fiery explosion, at least I’ll finally have a viable excuse for being like over the age of 22 and not married or engaged in the state of Alabama.
  • Now, crust. Toasting almonds before grinding them seems like a good thing to do.
  • Shit. I am never going to get used to gas.
  • Hmm almonds, graham crumb, buttermilk powder, sugar, salt, BUTTER. Yep. Par-bake!
  • Let’s do filling. What goes in chess pie again?
  • Google. Google. Google.
  • Really, cornmeal? Mmk.
  • I don’t have white vinegar. I lost half my vinegars in the move. Can I use sherry vinegar?
  • Of course I can. Gawd, I’m fancy.
  • Man, these peaches really do suck. Get it together, Whole Foods. I’m sick of your manipulative sale displays.
  • It’s bedtime. I wish I weren’t still standing.
  • Oh woof. Too much crust par-baking.
  • Whatever. This filling won’t take long to set.
  • I should up the flour since I’m adding all this juicy peach goop up in here.
  • This pie should sit on a baking sheet, because I am not trying to catch this ticking death bomb oven on fire with drippy sugar overflow.
  • Into the oven you go! 15 minutes on the timer.
  • I can’t believe I moved into an apartment without a dishwasher. Damn me.
  • I could chop fruit for a topping tonight… or I could go sit on my butt and watch episodes of Girls I’ve already seen.
  • The fruit would be so much better chopped fresh in the morning.
  • butt-sitting it is!
  • Man, I love this new lamp. I did a good Target-shopping job.
  • Man, I hate Marnie. Was Marnie always this annoying? She definitely was not this annoying in seasons 1 or 2.
  • Maybe she was.
  • Time to rotate ze pie! Another 15 minutes on the clock.
  • I need my bed.
  • My bed needs me.
  • I wonder who my last kiss will be.
  • It would really suck if the last kiss I had was my last kiss because I perish tonight in a fiery inferno born of dripping pie juice in an old school gas oven.
  • Damn.
  • I should check this pie.
  • I broke it :(
  • I need to cover its broke ass with foil. That crust is getting too brown.
  • Back to Girls.
  • Thank God tomorrow is Friday. This week is grating on my last ever-loving nerve.
  • Ahhhh I fell asleep.
  • PIE.
  • That crust ain’t coming back #burntup.
  • I’ll just trim it. It’ll look fine at least.
  • And done.

Moral of the story is–just do your thing. It’s all gonna be alright.

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