I have a friend named Grace. She’s 12. I’ve known her since she was a little one. She has been lucky enough to grow up in a family where her parents cook. Her Dad is one of the most passionate and talented hobby cooks I know. She was never shooed out of the kitchen or told that she wasn’t ready to participate. As a result, she’s a pretty passionate cook herself.
Last week, I was cooking at their house and Grace showed up with Rainier Cherries and Yellow Nectarines and announced that she wanted to make a pie. I was busy on the “hot side” of the island making dinner so I told her that she had to do it herself but I would tell her every step along the way.
She pulled out a mixing bowl and a scale (love that!) and got ready. I told her to put 12 oz flour, a pinch of salt and a tablespoon of sugar into the bowl. But then I wondered….did she zero out the weight of the bowl? When I asked I got the pre-teen eye roll, big time. Of course she did. Grace is no slouch.
Then 8 oz of butter cut into pats went into the bowl. I came around the island to show her how to use a pastry cutter. Then 4 ounces of cold water to hold it all together. She divided the dough in two, wrapped it up and put it in the fridge to rest.
Then the real mess began. We didn’t have a cherry pitter so Grace literally pulled the pits out of about 2 cups of cherries and cut the flesh off 6 nectarines. She added sugar until it tasted right. Then I tasted the fruit and suggested a squeeze of lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Then we added two tablespoons of cornstarch.
I helped Grace roll out the dough; we put the filling in the dough lined pan then Grace decided on a lattice top. I rolled, then she cut the strips. “Do you know how to make a basket weave?”, I asked? In response Grace quickly alternated the strips making a perfect lattice. Then we put it in the oven at 425 for 40 minutes.
Pretty great for a first pie. For any pie actually.