Recipe book gaps

It was time to do something about all the apples that we had, so yesterday we decided to make a pie. A lemon custard pie.

No, it was an apple pie, of course. I had a pie crust left over from when I was trying out the Whole Foods frozen pie crusts. They are, incidentally, not as good as the Pillsbury roll-out pie crusts, which, as we know, are good enough that it makes it hard for me to work up the effort to learn to make pie crust properly. Tried it once or twice, haven't quite gotten the knack. The biscuit method is not my best.

However, I only had one shell, and I didn't feel like either making a crust or buying one, as that would have gone against the whole "let's use up this pie crust in a quick pie baking scenario" idea. Fortunately, my friend Stephanie, the last couple times I've made the apple pie, has suggested using a crumble topping instead of a pie crust. I figured this would be a good time to take her advice.

So I turn to the index in Bittman's How to Cook Everything and look up Crumble. Nothin'. I check the pie index, and can see no crumble toppings. I check the tart index, and can find nothing there. I desperately try to remember what I was trying to think of that wasn't a tart, because I knew that wasn't right, and eventually failed completely to come up with the word 'Cobbler'. Today I remember, but the oven was pre-heated, and I really didn't feel like wasting a bunch of time trying to figure out what I was trying to think of.

[amtap book:isbn=0471789186]

So I leaf through Cookwise, but that would require far too much thinking to figure out what I wanted, and was not for the quick "give me the recipe now, in small unmarked bills," situation that I was in. I grabbed Professional Baking and turned to the pie section. I was in luck! There was a picture of an apple pie with a crumble topping. Hooray! Only there was no recipe for a crumble topping. All of the toppings they had that seemed similar were for going under the pie, and I, again, didn't feel like experimenting.

[amtap book:isbn=0688102298]
[amtap book:isbn=0471464279]

So my wife, eager for pie, suggests going for one of our spiral-bound books of Southern cookery. I do so, and there is exactly what I need, except I had to ditch the oatmeal as I had none. The general idea is to combine a bunch of solid fat (I used shortening (trans-fat free, mind you)), flour, and brown sugar with a bit of baking soda until it crumbles, and you're set.

Done and done. The pie is tasty, it has a crumble topping, and I know of some gaps in many of my cookbooks. A good learning experience, with pie to boot. I suppose next I'll need to check through and see if I can find the crumble topping by looking up 'Cobbler'. But first: pie.