Pies, Tarts, and Croissants, oh my!

As I have mentioned before, I’m married to a wonderful husband who loves to cook and enjoys preparing delicious fancy meals for me.  This past Thanksgiving, as usual my husband did all of the cooking while I played with the kiddos and hung out with the family.  There was one change this year though, my husband also did the pie-baking.

For the past 4 years, I have had the privilege of making the pumpkin pie because although my husband is a wonderful and talented chef in the kitchen, he has an aversion to baking.  “Too easy” he scoffs, “anyone can read a recipe and measure out flour, vanilla and sugar.”  This year, due to the recent addition of a newborn, I warned my husband a couple weeks before Thanksgiving that I would be happy to buy the $6 pumpkin pie from Costco instead of  staying up late roasting a sugar pumpkin and cutting ice-cold butter into cubes  in the quest for the perfect homemade pie.  This was horror to my husband’s ears.  He gasped, “How can we possibly serve our guests STORE-BOUGHT pie???  What will they think of us?!”.    So I happily gave up the responsibility of pie-making to my spouse.

Little did I know I just unleashed a pastry monster.

The husband started by doing some searching online for recipes and browsing our shelf of cookbooks for pies.  He ultimately settled on the Flour recipe book.  The end product was spectacular.  The pumpkin pie had a beautiful deep auburn color, the creaminess of the pumpkin was perfectly balanced with the rich flavors of the spices, and the warm flaky crust, YUM.  In addition, just because our little daughter made a last minute request, he also decided to make a scrumptious apple pie, complete with the fancy lattice top crust.  Our guests were impressed and there was sadly very little leftover pie.

Then…2 days after Thanksgiving, I walked into the kitchen to find my husband yet again flipping through the Flour recipe book.  We were planning to have some friends over later in the day and he decided that he wanted to make another pie.  And who was I to stop him?  Pie #3 was a blueberry masterpiece that disappeared in less than 12 hours.

The following day, as I was thinking aloud about what to do with the turkey leftovers.  My darling husband said, “Hey, how about if I make a turkey pot pie?”  The Pâte brisée recipe was modified a little bit and, voila…another mouthwatering pie with a delightfully airy golden crust.  We went through a lot of butter in the span of 4 days.

This week, the husband decided that he had mastered the art of pie-making and moved on to making fruit tarts.  Even my mother-in-law, who claims that she does not like desserts, managed to finish off an extra sliver of the fruit tart.

When I woke up this morning, my husband asked me, “What should I bake next?”  Half-jokingly, I answered, “How about croissants?”  15 minutes later, I found him poring over the Flour recipe for croissants, murmuring to himself, “If I have to let the détrempe rest for 6-12 hours, refrigerate it for 1-3 hours, and then rest it again for another 4-16 hours later, that means I would have to start it at…”  I could see the physician-scientist side of him analyzing this next experiment, planning out his methods.

He looked at me and smiled, “Baking is pretty fun.  It’s a lot like science.  And oh…I think I might have a crush on Joanne Chang. Do you think she makes pastries for her husband to eat every day?”

I smiled back and shrugged, “I don’t know.  But I am enjoying all the pastries that I get to eat every day.”

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