Life as a Pie Crust


Life as a Pie Crust | Duluth Moms Blog

In my mind, pie crust seems like it would be the simplest thing to make: flour, a little bit of salt, some butter or shortening, water. I can look at a hundred different pie recipes and still, those same ingredients remain at its base. All a pie crust requires, in theory, is a little bit of mixing and a little bit of rolling.

According to the experts, to make the perfect pie crust, you need to have cold, cold water and a cold surface to work on, ideally a marble board and a marble rolling pin will yield the best crust. In my opinion, those fancy things are not necessary, just helpful. You can make a good pie crust with subpar utensils that you bought used at the thrift store; utensils that have a little bit of wear and tear and are faded from years of use. Additionally, a good ratio of butter and shortening will give you a tender and flaky crust. You need to mix in just the right amount of water to pull the dough together but not so much water that it makes the flour gummy. If it comes together correctly, the crust will be perfection; it will be tender and flaky and it will accent the filling of your pie, but it won’t dominate it. The crust and the filling work together and neither one is more important than the other.

If it doesn’t come together, well…try, try again, right? It’s still pie and pie is still good. Mostly.

Here’s what I’ve learned about crust: you can do it exactly right. You can follow the recipe and add the ingredients exactly; you can use the proper ratios, the best butter, the coldest water, and still that crust is not going to turn out. You can add just the right amount of sugar and salt and sometimes, the dough still doesn’t turn out and no matter how hard you try, you can not pinpoint what was different. You can read and reread the recipe, you can rework the crust in your mind, but what didn’t come together when it was supposed to will elude you anyway. Because pie crust is just like that sometimes.

Here’s the thing about life: you can do it exactly right and it still won’t turn out. Sometimes, regardless of how meticulous you are and the delicate balance you are trying to maintain, life just has too much sweet or too much salty and the balance is off. It’s hard to believe that it’s not because of anything that you’ve done; life is just like that sometimes.

And it will break your heart a hundred different ways every single time it doesn’t come together in the way you’d hoped. All the effort that you’ve put into it, the time, the ingredients, and it still doesn’t come out the way you had planned. It doesn’t look the way you thought it would when you started, but that doesn’t mean that it’s a failure…neither your crust nor your life.

Sometimes, the best things turn out to be absolutely nothing like what we went into them knowing to be true.