I keep biting my tongue.
Not accidentally. On purpose. I'm trying not to say horrible, mean things.
I've read a new book on food that I want to say horrible, mean things about. It's written by someone who, by all accounts, is just a really, really nice guy.
But I hate the book.
So instead, I will think nice thoughts about pie, and crust, and ricotta cheese, and the last ripe tomatoes of the year. Garlic, a few leaves of oregano and thyme, salt... and lard!
Cranky made the crust using 100% local lard, rendered by Bonnie this year from Clark Summit Farm hogs. The lard is almost gooey, not quite as solid as cold butter. Cranky dutifully scooped the amount called for by the recipe, and cut it into the whole-wheat flour. He kept cutting (smashing, really), trying to get the "pea-sized" lumps... But this dough was basically just greasy sand. I think he used too much lard, not following the elements of cooking where you tweak the recipe. I added in a little extra flour and a splash of cream, and it looked OK (and tasted fantastic).
After an hour in the fridge, the dough rolled out easily enough, but it broke into pieces when I tried to pick it up.
However, this is a success story. I picked up the pieces and placed them in the tart pan, patching here and there with extra dough.
The shell was blind-baked for ten minutes, and then we layered in some ricotta, a dusting of parmesan, topped it with the mixture of cut-up tomatoes with salt, herbs and garlic.
OK. Bakey-bake for about 45 minutes (at 375°F), and it came out a little wet. The tomatoes had oozed.
Cranky was crestfallen by this time but I simply tilted the tart dish over the sink and drained off the juice. Amazing how you can fiddle with the rules, man.
Then, and I think this was the move that saved the day, I said "Wait."
The pie needed to cool off a little. And in the waiting, the crust came together. Slices of the pie came out of the tart pan intact.
It's a happy ending!
Maybe tomorrow I'll be mean after all. Heh, heh.