"Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God.”
- Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
If my last pie was a big fat fail, this one was a hilarious happy accident.
My sweet cousin Calee invited me, along with all the other girls from our generation of the family, over to her house for dinner last week and I figured it was the perfect occasion for a good, from-scratch apple pie. I had most of the day to put it together, bake it, let it cool. I even recently purchased an apple corer/slicer. I was prepared. I was confident. I was ready for a pie comeback.
The day before this dinner party, I’d tried to buy tickets to the Iron and Wine show at The Paramount, but it was sold out (even though none of the websites I’d been keeping an eye on—artist, venue, ticket merchant—said it was sold out). I spent about ten minutes feeling really bummed out about it. Then I posted something about wanting tickets on twitter and facebook and decided to let it go, figuring if it was meant to work out it would. I didn’t go so far as to pray specifically that God would give me tickets even though, yes, sometimes I convince myself that might be how it actually works.
While I gathered my pie supplies, a friend replied to my facebook status and put me in contact with one of her colleagues who had a pair of tickets she wasn’t going to use. In the blink of an eye, I’d paid for them with Square Cash and was giddy with excitement about getting to go. It felt like a true sign of the presence of God and it put me in a pretty good pie-making mood.
Since I’ve had a few bad experiences as the result of not taking the time to read a recipe all the way through, I read this one multiple times and even read a handful of the “helpful” reviews. I planned to use “a complete top crust with designer slits cut into it” in place of the lattice top. I added cinnamon and nutmeg and vanilla to the sugar syrup (which I would absolutely do again - Dann said the smell of it cooking on the stovetop made him dizzy it smelled so good), and “mixed half of the syrup with the apples themselves before putting in the pie crust”.
I poured the syrup-coated apples into the bottom crust and placed the top crust over them after carefully cutting designer slits into it.
This is where things sort of went wrong.
Because I sometimes lose all common sense when attempting to follow directions perfectly, I poured the other half of the syrup on top of the pie. I got about point five seconds into the pouring before it occurred to me that I’d crossed my wires and mixed up the reviews and pouring syrup on top of a complete top crust is not a thing people do and that maybe the whole pie was ruined before it even made it into the oven. The designer slits were no longer visible.
I put the pie in the oven anyway, because I figured the worst thing that would happen is that it would look ugly. Then I panicked and made Dann look at it and tell me if he thought the syrup on top would burn and/or start a fire. He told me to keep an eye on it, then said: “You know, when you try a new recipe maybe it’s a good idea to stick to the original directions the first time, without making any adjustments. Then you have a control.”
He was right, though, and I’ll probably heed his advice when trying new recipes in the future. When I pulled the pie out of the oven, this is what it looked like:
I told myself it might not be edible and that I might need to stop and buy a pie on my way to dinner because I didn’t have enough time to start over. I spent about ten minutes feeling really bummed out about it. Then Dann told me he believed it was possible the pie could be even better than it would have been had I made it correctly, and I decided to let it go.
Later that night, I cut into my inside out apple pie and passed slices around to some of my favorite women in all the world, hoping it wouldn’t gross them out or make them sick. And you know what? That shit was good. I may have eaten both leftover slices the next day while preparing to sit and listen to Sam Beam singing “it's a heartfelt silly sort of bumbling tune about how you're bringing me joy”.
These are the moments I cling to as evidence of the presence of God: when a show I didn’t think I’d see and a pie I was certain I’d ruined turn into the best parts of days filled with joy.