My Photo


  • a happy, ordinary, middle-aged, suburban woman who paints odd pictures, gardens in a straw hat, lives with the love of her life, is owned by one cat and the ghosts of several others, and walks a little funny 'cause she has a fake leg. She started this website because there's more to life than what we lose, and we need to let each other know what's possible, even if it's only a happy, ordinary life.

November 2011

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30      


  • E-mail me at:

    sara at saraarts dot com

    Make sure the subject line of your correspondence is clear and specific. I do not open e-mails from strangers unless I can tell in advance that I want to read them.

Shameless Self- Promotion

  • I Took The Handmade Pledge!

Good reads, grownups only

« Some mornings... | Main | Love and the Urinary Criminal »


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Wow. That's dedication. Should I should assume that you tried the Pillsbury pie crusts that come rolled up in a long box rather than pre-pie-dished, and did not like them? I use them all the time, they have exactly one preservative, and it makes latticing a pie waaaay easier to start with a flat round of crust.


You know, we never did try the Pillsbury offering. America's Test Kitchen -- and given our experience with the one they liked, maybe we should have ignored them -- said it was the absolutely worst of all the prosthetic pie crusts they tried, and the last Pillsbury product that somehow made its way into my oven (yeah, yeah; insert jokes here) was so completely unpalatable that we gave the pie crust a miss. However, on your recommendation, I will look for it and try it.

Meanwhile, yes, I realize that breaking out all the instructions like this could make it look far more complicated than it is to make a lattice-top crust, but I swear it's not. To make an entire fruit pie this way, fresh filling from scratch, fancy-fied store-bought crust and all, it's maybe ten minutes of actual labor, mindless labor that can be performed sitting down, and then just a matter of timing and waiting, waiting which can be accomplished during time filled with other things.

Also, I make maybe 10 pies a year, and it just happens that this year I've made two with latticed tops. It's not an everyday thing, and it's also not really essential to any recipe. It is fun, though. And pretty, even if your results resemble a third-grader's, like mine.

The essential parts of pie baking are, of course, love, that it should be fun (which it can't be without love), and that the results should be devourable. :)

Sugared Harpy


I never attempted it because I thought there was actual weaving involved. And right, who has the time or inclination for that nonsense. You have saved me from a life of non-latticed pies! Thank you!!

I will share with you, that making one's own pie crust is not overly time consuming. It works best with the impatient, since you should barely touch the thing.

Sugared Harpy

By the way, "chemical wang" is the best phrase I have ever come upon.



And you KNOW what I'm talking about, don't you? And it isn't pretty.

You are absolutely right that homemade is the best, and that Julia Child was the definitive good fairy of the kitchen, and that for most people with enough space and equipment it should not be at all difficult, but that space and equipment thing, that is a kicker. Yes, I know for a fact that at least one of my foremothers must have made adequate pie crust from scratch with her bare hands and maybe a wooden spoon in a closet of some tenement using rancid rat lard and wormy potato flour, and I'm sure her family ate it and was grateful, but I have that whore Little Debbie and her cheap dance Hostess cousin to compete with.

The store-bought pie crust my true love and I have settled for is a compromise between his tastes, needs, and desires and mine. He -- who was raised by a foreign woman who did not bake and thus never taught him not to put Little Debbie in his mouth -- is grateful not to have to eat more of my mother's super easy but honestly kind of execrable pie crust recipe (2 C flour, ¼ C milk, 2/3 C vegetable oil), and I am grateful to have found something he will eat and enjoy without my having to cut frozen butter into tiny pieces with two knives or a hand-held mixer and keep refreezing it every time it gets soft enough to actually blend or form, all on a counter top about a foot-and-a-half wide if I cleaned that day, because if it's not store-bought, it has to be exquisite and perfect; that's just how he rolls.

It is supposed to be fun. It is not supposed to be stressful. So now I cheat, openly though not particularly proudly. We both honestly enjoy the results, though. Perhaps it's even better because we -- or at least I -- know it's slightly wrong.

If I ever live somewhere with a big enough kitchen for a grown-up mixer and a serious-size dough-rolling platform of some kind (like, hello, even a kitchen table?), perhaps I can go back to walking in the light. Meanwhile, it's back to the freezer section of my local grocer for me.

But as for latticing, no matter what the medium, it really is easy as, well, pie. ;) And esteemed correspondent Ron Sullivan even revealed in comments to a prior post that her husband Joe, whom she has affectionately nicknamed "Lord of the Pies," also fake-weaves. So yay! Go for it! I'm sure it will be beautiful as well as delicious, and that you with your already advanced crust skills won't even break a sweat. :)

aura carmi

While we are all talking about pies and crusts, I thought that I would mention our family tradition. I freeze several pies,made with the fresh fruit from my orchard. Then, in the winter, when everyone is good and sick of pumpkin and citrus and apples, we have peach/nectarine/apricot pie. Of course it is not as good as when the fruit is fresh, but it is PRETTY TREMENDOUS!!!

To do this, simply assemble the pie and then freeze immediately. When you are ready to bake, DO NOT THAW!!!Place in a preheated 425 degree oven for about 30 minutes until you can pierce holes in the crust. After you have made the holes, turn the heat down to 350 and cook for 1-1 1/2 hours.

Finally, I like whole grain crusts. I use whole wheat pastry for the flour and coconut oil in lieu of butter or oil. We really love it hope you will too.


Alas, my friend. We will never, never, never, never like whole grain crust. Never. (Or whole grain pasta; sorry; we just don't.) I'm sure yours is better than most, but we still wouldn't like it. For a "dessert" crust (and I use the quotations because it is also sometimes a breakfast crust, a snack crust, oh hell, maybe even a lunch or dinner crust because, c'mon, it's pie), we want it to be so refined that it has no nutritional value whatsoever, just sweet, buttery flavor, light and flakey/crumbly texture and a minimum of structure. Sorry.

The frozen pie idea, though, that is brilliant. :) See? You are the Queen of Planned Cooking.

Ron Sullivan

Wow. I shall pass your dessertation along to Beelzebubba, Lord of the Pies, because he does like to have Plans B, C, and Q in the file, just in case.

I'll also ask him about that peanut-butter pie, though I can't recall that he's ever stepped foot in a Marie Callender's. Lois the Pie Queen's place, gods rest her, now that's another matter. I think we need to go there again to see if they've kept up the quality.

Also: Duarte's in Pescadero (just had pie there a couple weeks ago, in fact) and good lord, when's the last time we were in either Fatapple's? And that place on Solano Avenue where they serve meatloaf and such but the pie's better.

And there's no place like home. (click, click, click)

aura carmi

Well, through all of this pie talk, I just had to have one. Not a kiddie pie, an adult pie with just enough cognac in it. (The kids won't eat anything cooked in wine or spirits. Ziv, my little 7 year old gourmand would, but Meital, my 10 year old fuddy duddy convinces him every time that it tastes bad.)

I also noticed something very interesting reading your posts and looking at the pics... I saw that you are thickening with whole tapioca pearls, (or whatever they are called) and not tapioca flour or flour or cornstarch.

At first I didn't really believe it was possible, but then in one of your posts when you commented on "tapioca jewels" or something like that, I knew it was true. I HAD TO TRY IT!

So, afraid that I would end up with tooth breaking little rocks in my pie, with enormous trepidation, I stirred them into the precious last bits of this year's stone fruits. (The trees are almost finished and I knew that this would be the last pie for the year.

WHOA!!! THIS PIE WAS ABSOLUTE NIRVANA!!!!! Those little "tapioca jewels" are just the greatest thing around. Since I have never had them in anything but tapioca pudding, I was astounded. And, by the way, great with a whole wheat crust :) :) :)


Sara--I LOVE your term for store-bought crust_ prosthetic crust. I'm going to borrow that.

I was just having a conversation about pie crust with a good friend of mine and was trying to explain this to her--but you've done it for me! I'm sending her the link, and then maybe I will head out to the park to pick some blackberries and make a pie for my loved ones.


The comments to this entry are closed.


A Good Idea This Year, Too


I Don't Know What Came Over Me

Then There Was The Time I Lost My Mind for a Month

Blog powered by Typepad