The Pies – Thanksgiving Eve, 2004

The pies are finally in the refrigerator, and since it had been several years since I’d made them, there were some, um, moments during the preparation.

Like when it struck me that this year pecans seemed just a little too, well, red, and that fine blue California walnuts would be a more comfortable, bluer choice.

Or when I at Lucifer’s urging tossed just one extra tablespoon or so of ultrafine sugar into the meringue because I was going to be using an extra-dark chocolate and wanted a teeny bit more sweetness in the curst. That’s not a typo. I am no longer calling it the crust.

I was powerless to resist the urge even though I knew what was going to happen, and it did. So once again I found myself desperately trying to form runny would-be meringue into crust shapes and watching as they visibly sagged while I was throwing the damn things into the oven.

Still, it had been worse, other times, and this time the shells are actually somewhat concave and have a discernible, albeit slight, rim. And since I let them dry overnight in the warm oven, they’re definitely crunchy.

The Pie

The only difficulty during the making of the filling was after I’d filled half a page with pencil calculations to determine that I needed 227.2 grams of chocolate. See, the down side of smuggling your own dark Droste in from the Netherlands is that they don’t really need ounces over there and see no reason to clutter non-export packaging with them.

Luckily, I remembered that it takes 2.2 pounds to equal a kilogram. So once I figured out how many grams I needed, all I then had to do was use the other half of that page for the calculations to determine how many squares, and what percentage of the last square, were required to get 227.2 grams.

I was feeling pretty smug about doing all this successfully, but when the chocolate was sitting in the double boiler over simmering water and I went to reward myself with a cup of the coffee left over from the recipe requirement and my eye alit on my kitchen scale, it struck me that another way of getting the right amount of chocolate would be to painstakingly weigh out eight ounces.

However, if you do it that way you don’t get the reassurance that you are still bright enough to calculate ratios, which require both multiplication and long division.

And no, I am not showing my work on how I arrived at the figure of 227.2 grams—especially since it’s pretty clear by now that these pies have more chocolate than usual in them.

See the Recipes.

To end the year, another Market Street shot, the Hyatt:


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