Lesson 1: Prep

Posted: April 5, 2010 in Uncategorized

pie dough, raspberry-peach razors, and salty custard [part 1]


Our recipe book. Yes it’s written on an old newspaper article by Steve Almond. No, I have no idea why.

The first week of Chapter 38, and I wanted to learn something that encompassed a lot of what this is about and who I am. I wanted to learn something that wasn’t solitary, that involved a fair amount of fun, that produced something tangible and that, ideally, was something that I’d struggled with for a long time.

All my life, I’ve loved to bake (but, shhh, don’t tell anyone that I’m domestic. It will ruin my sex pot image. -snicker-). I can make a mean muffin, a decent set of cinnamon buns, about ten kinds of cobbler and some really fantastic pies. Except… in my shame, I can’t make pie crust. Can’t. Have tried about a hundred million times. It doesn’t stick together or it sticks together too much and tastes like cardboard. Actually, it’s tasted like cardboard every time I’ve ever made it.

One of my favorite writers and teachers in the whole world, Tom Spanbauer, has a quote I’ve always loved about teaching writing and making pie crust: If you asked my mother how she made pie crust, she never said a word. Instead, she just lifted her hand and rubbed her fingers against her thumb. That’s the way it is for me and teaching. It has a feel.

Well, I might have the feel for writing and for teaching writing, but I have never ever had a feel for making pie crust.

So I turned to the gorgeous and talented Gina Marie (who has the feel for BOTH writing and pie-crusting) and said, “Let’s bake something. Can you teach me how to make pie crust?”

To which she laughed and said, “Pie crust is easy. You just need vodka and ice.”

Silly me, I thought she meant to drink. Which, based on my past experiences, seemed about right to me.

Turns out you’re supposed to use them in the dough…

And because Gina Marie can’t do anything simply, she said, “So, we’ll make dough and we’ll use it to make a raspberry peach galette, and then put a custard on top of it.”

“Right!” I said, and then I went off to look up galette, and make sure it wasn’t some kind of razor. I mean, with her, who knows.




1.5 cups flour
.25 tsp salt
1 stick butter
4 tbls or more of iced water

Peach-Raspberry Filling

3 tbls cornstarch
.75 cups sugar
1 tablespoon(s) sugar
couple a peaches
bunch of raspberries
2 tbls butter
1 large egg or two small eggs


1 large egg or two small eggs
1 tbls butter
.25 cups of cream
sugar (to taste)
vanilla (to taste)


Tomorrow, on to the baking of things!

Firing your neurons, one week at a time, s.

  1. Gina Marie says:

    Sweetheart…..what fun that was! Only….that wasn’t a potato masher in your hot little hand. The device is called a pastry cutter. I was only appeasing the beast that is your desire to MASH THINGS by saying “yes” to the mashing. And speaking of mash, that wasn’t Scotch, my pretty, but Bourbon. From Kentucky. Good Kentucky bourbon goes down smooth, like butter. I’m sure your tummy will be just fine. Kisses! Hey, come back you rascally chickens!

  2. Oh, well, hell. And next week’s lesson is:

    What’s That Thing In Your Hand?

    a. potato smusher
    b. doubt cutter
    c. monster mash

    What’s That Thing In Your Body?
    a. scotch tape
    b. burpee tomatoes
    c. bourbon bottle


  3. Gina Marie says:

    What’s that thing ON your body? No peeping!

  4. […] go back to the ingredients on this page. Melt the butter on low, then stir all the other stuffs together. Then add the other stuffs to the […]

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