Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Kenneth’s Slam-Bam-Thank-You-Ma’am Blackberry Pie

Ever so briefly, Dollinks (because I’m really not “here” and am away until September 1), I’ve slipped into the kitchen to water the plants. There! Done! Before I dash, I’d like a word with the men in my reading audience. 

YO! GUYS! Come and sit across from me, here at the kitchen table. Coffee? Splash of cream? Sugar? We need to talk. Bare your souls to me, Dollinks (Gasp! I said your souls! Nothing else). Does your back go out more than you do? Do you spend Saturday nights alone, playing tic-tac-toe with the mirror? Do you send yourself text messages and emails? Even worse - do you answer them? If so, allow me these words of advice. 

Learn to bake. Women will compete for your cupcakes! They’ll go ga-ga over your cookies! And yes, they’ll also enjoy your baking. Why spend another Saturday night waxing your chest hair and clipping your toenails when you could be the life of the party? Everyone loves a baker! 
Let me tell you the true, tragic story of a Formerly Lonely Guy named Kenneth. Kenneth isn’t his real name. I’ve changed his real name to protect his privacy. His real name has only three letters. The first starts with K, and the last ends with N. Wild horses will not drag his true identity from me! We are tight-lipped, here in the kitchen headquarters of Nicole Parton’s Favorite Recipes. If you could taste some of my cooking failures, you’d understand why.
But I digress. I was telling you the true, tragic story of a Formerly Lonely Guy named Ken - er, Kenneth! Our candid camera caught him on the way to yet another vacuous, empty dinner date with an obviously unsuitable blond who’s only interested in sex - not in a real relationship with the sensitive, sincere man Kenneth is inside. Men: Don’t let this happen to you!

See the miserable look on Kenneth’s face? See those chest hairs? You’re right - he has none. His toenails are neatly trimmed, too. Quel fromage! (Or is it quel dommage? Whatever!) 
Kenneth used to be One Lonely Guy. How did he change his life? He began baking - slowly at first, a few donut holes here and there. Gradually, as his confidence grew, he began to understand that “Nothin’ spells lovin’ like somethin’ from the oven and Pillsbury does it best!” He learned to smash those danged Pillsbury biscuit cans against the kitchen counter, so he could watch the doughy buns unfurl as they all spilled out. Today, he’s a master chef - no more big-breasted, small-waisted blonds for this guy! Kenneth knows the secret of What Women Want!
Simply put, women want a man who will cook for them. And so I present Kenneth’s Slam-Bam-Thank-You-Ma'am Blackberry Pie! Because he learned to bake, Kenneth now has a real girlfriend who loves him for himself - not just for what he can do with a rolling pin. 

Kenneth’s Slam-Bam-Thank-You-Ma’am Blackberry Pie:
For the Crust, use the usual pie crust ingredients! (See Note)

Note: Kenneth pinched his recipe from the good folks at Tenderflake, a division of Maple Leaf Foods. That’s lard, Dollinks: L-A-R-D. Kenneth doesn’t have arteriosclerosis, and nor will you, if you have treats like this in moderation. Lard makes the best pastry, though you can also use Crisco. You’ll find both recipes online, or varieties of same in many cookbooks. Be sure to make plenty, because Kenneth’s pie is rather large.
For the Filling:
1-⅓ c. sugar
¼ c. tapioca
2 tbsp. flour
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
6 c. fresh blackberries
1 tsp. lemon juice
Egg yolk, milk, for brushing pastry top
Preheat oven to 425 deg, F. Combine sugar, tapioca, flour, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Sprinkle blackberries with lemon juice, tossing lightly. Add dry ingredients, continuing to toss lightly until well mixed. Gently transfer to 10-inch pie dish lined with pastry. Roll out additional pastry to make top crust. Gently place over berries, trimming edges to fit. 
(Kenneth likes to flute the edges with his tiny little hands. Because his pants were falling down in both photos, he borrowed an elastic band to secure them. Ron says guys’ pants always fall down when they stand near a beautiful lady. Having just given myself a home perm, I wouldn't know. I look like Diana Ross on a bad hair day.)
Make several small slashes in top crust, allowing steam to escape. If desired, you can trim some of the leftover rolled-out pastry to form leaves and vines, laying these over the top crust (Kenneth doesn’t bother. He’s always anxious to get his pie in the oven). 
Brush or dab top crust lightly with egg yolk combined and thinned with a little milk. Bake pie 10 min. Immediately reduce oven heat to 400 deg. F., baking an additional 45 min. When pie browns around the edges, place strips of aluminum foil over the browned parts to prevent them from burning as the center of the pie becomes a pleasing golden brown. Serve chilled, so each slice cuts evenly and looks attractive on the plate.

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