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TITLE: My Five-Pound French Apple Pie
By Laura Manley

a humorous story about my efforts in making a pie, after making pies all my life!
My Five-Pound French Apple Pie

My Pastor and his wife had sent home a delicious prime rib dinner for both my husband and myself from a recent Valentine Banquet I was unable to attend. Ever since, I’ve been looking for something I might do for them in return.

I have been in the pie-making mode as of late so I skillfully text Mrs. Pastor, as I often lovingly call her, to find out what their favorite pie is. Pastor had three he was in favor of, but his wife settled on a French Apple. I didn’t say I was making them a pie; just inquiring as to their favorite, although who’s kidding who?

Now, I make delicious, savoring, moist, flaky, and down right good pie crusts; pie crusts that I even will eat the crusts of.

I set out to make, of course, the all-time delicious French Apple Pie for my Pastor and his wife. Have you ever noticed that in doing something or making something for someone, especially your Pastor and his wife, you are doomed from the beginning? Of course, you want it to be the very best; you want them to think that your pies are always as tasty as the ones you’ve always made for home and family.

But today that was not to be. I started making the pie about 8:00 p.m. this evening. Now you might think that’s an odd time to start making a pie, but I have my craft down so precisely, that I knew it wouldn’t take long to make this pie. I sat watching “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” while peeling the apples to pass the time and before long, it was time to start making the pie crust.

I have made pies for years and made them very well, I might add. But do you think this could be one of those nights when the dough went together just right and it rolled out on the bread board just as beautifully as it most always has in the past, that when I picked it up to put it into the pie pan, it would not tear or it had been rolled just the right depth? Nope, not this time!

Frustration had not yet set in, but it was at my heels. I took the dough and slammed it into a pile on another part of the counter. Then as any abnormal person would do, I started the whole process over again. This time I even measured the water that went into the dough in the final stage. I painstakingly threw more flour on the bread board making certain I had not left any residue from the last try. I checked the rolling pin to make certain no pieces of dough had held tight with all their might onto it. Those items checked off my list, I was ready to begin anew. But wait, the powers that be just were not to be this night. And yet again, the crust tore as I picked it up to whisk it off to the pie plate.

After making pies for a number of years, at least for me, I know the feel of the dough. I know just by feeling it after I have added the last ingredient whether it is going to be a success or failure. In my heart, I knew I was on the verge of yet another catastrophe, and right I was. As I picked up the glob that was before me, I added it to the grave now accumulating on the counter.

Surely, I jest when I say I started the whole process over again, but no; I was not down and out yet. If there was anything I took from my father, it was determination. This pie was not going to win. It was going to be made tonight or I was going to know the reason why!

So, yes, after two times, I began yet another pie crust. You might be thinking…what about the cost? If you think about it, a ten-pound bag of flour costs less than $5.00, so even at five pounds, I was way ahead of what restaurants charge.

Without boring you about the making of the third pie crust, suffice it to say it wasn’t my last!

After the fourth try; yes, I said fourth…I went to my bedroom and finished watching “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.” It kept my frustration level down, which was now at the top of the Richter scale.

After the movie, I decided I had had enough. I had already shut off the oven, put the apples in lemon water so they wouldn’t turn brown and off to bed I went. I just got comfortable when a friend from church called to say hello. By then, I wasn’t tired so I went to the computer room.

At about 12:30 am, seeing that sleep was not going to be my friend any time soon, I marched out to the kitchen. I was as quiet as possible, trying to prevent waking my sixteen-year old granddaughter who was spending the night. She’ll have something to say in the morning about Nana’s crazy hours, if she heard me at all.

I proceeded to make the pie crust in question, and like my dad, that pie was going to become a pie this morning (since it was after midnight by now) or I would know the reason why! Well, number five got thrown into the mounting grave almost instantly. Why was this happening to me? Was I not meant to make this pie this morning? Why? Why? Why?

After taking a very deep and much-needed breath, I calmly went through all the steps of making what has always been my infamous pie crust. Was it because I took it from a “calm” aspect? I don’t know the answer to that. I just know that after five tries, I got my man…er, my pie!

Just strolled into the kitchen with much authority as if I was daring that pie to have burned in the amount of time it has been in the oven.

I opened the oven door with great anticipation and looked in. It sat on the oven rack just waiting to come out of that stifling hot oven and I accommodated by reaching in carefully to take it out and set it down in it's temporary home on the kitchen counter. Tomorrow it would make its way to the Pastor's house for him and his wife to enjoy.

Mission accomplished!
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