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fail: pie

Posted by aleta under recipe fail

A pumpkin cream pie served in a pecan-studded meringue crust.

That, right there, was supposed to be my masterpiece. This was going to be a winner recipe, and I imagined the food blog equivalent of everyone hoisting me on their shoulders and carrying me away to a raucous victory party where everyone brought something they made from a recipe on my blog and we all drank and hugged and had merry times until five the next morning.

fail pie

How very, very wrong was I.

This mish-mash of ideas I found in various places come from individually neat ideas unto themselves, but plain silly when put together. For one thing, beginning to end, this stupid thing took me about seven hours. Seven freakin hours, can you believe that? On a weeknight, no less, so after getting home before five, I collapsed in bed around 1am (I know that’s more than seven hours, but I take a little while to wind down).

The meringue takes about 30-45 minutes to whip up, then bakes for an hour. During which time there is nothing to fill the void, because we don’t want to do anything with the pudding mix so it won’t set anywhere but on that crust. The crust that bakes for an hour. Then cools for two hours.

fail pie

Making the filling is easy enough. Except that after you put it in said crust it needs to chill for an hour.

fail pie

fail pie

On top of all that, I put too much sugar in my first meringue, so add about 45 minutes before I realized that this potion was never going to get stiff peaks. Then, just at the end of the final cooling, I started a caramel sauce from the Joy, but of course, this was not the kind of sauce I meant it to be, so after burning my finger with sticky hot sugar, I tried another batch. And then added too much water at the end. We’ll only count the last half hour of that, since the first half was spent waiting.

Then I cut into the pie to take a nice picture.

fail pie

Look at that friggin thing! What a mess! It is so pathetic that it looks like it’s hanging its head in shame, and it’s a slice of pie, how could it even do that? I don’t know, but it is.

The meringue crust is not the worst idea in a world full of crusts made out of Crisco, but you can’t make this more than 24 hours before it needs to be done, or else all the moisture from the pie will turn it into a gummy mess. And I don’t know why it stuck so fervently to the bottom of the pie plate, I oiled that sucker and everything! The flavour combination was pretty great, though, and this idea may be salvageable. But right now . . . I’m too tired to salvage.

I’m sure I’m not alone in this. What’s the biggest kitchen disappointment you’ve been on the receiving end of? Did you manage to salvage anything from it?

  1. AidanMoon Said,

    Nope. All my fuck-ups were irrevocably bad food. If it was ugly but tasty, then it was not a fuck-up. It was…um. Folk Food. You know. Like Folk Art, it doesn’t have any pretension or desire to be beautiful – it just has to serve its homely purpose.

  2. KCitN Said,

    I tried to make home made udon noodles w/ no kitchenaid and weighing only 103lbs. I worked that dough for two days and it ended up being floury fat noodles with (this is gross) a ton of my hair in it because I kneaded it for hours. It was disgusting.

  3. oneparticularkitchen Said,

    Ah, yes. Please to see Epic Muffin Fail:

    And I did indeed salvage the muffins that were made in the non-crappy pan. Lesson learned.

  4. Mama Bear Said,

    Darlin’, this just means you get to eat it all and not tell anyone.


  5. imadedinner Said,

    Oh man… I can see how that might taste good, but I’m sorry it didn’t look prettier!

    Usually my mess ups involve completely inedible muck.

  6. stephchows Said,

    I tried to make 100% whole wheat bread… instead I got a large hokey puck! There was no salvaging it… so off to the birds it went. Since then I’ve only tested my hand making bread with bread flour, haven’t gotten the guts back up enough to try whole wheat again 🙂 And I agree with AidanMoon, as long as it tasted good, it’s good!

  7. stephchows Said,

    make that a hockey puck… 😀

  8. Naomi Said,

    I recently learned that it is impossible to find a recipe for moussaka that agrees on what should go in it and how it should be made. I also learned that if you attempt to merge a bunch of recipes for it together, listen to the one thing they agree on…it shouldn’t be made with only lamb, mix the lamb with beef otherwise, yuck. While I could eat a couple of pounds of lamb chops, no prob, ground lamb is completely different. At least my dog liked it.

    And btw, my dog might shove a toy at you now and again, but no nipping. Nothing good comes from an 85 pound half pitt nibbling on you 🙂 I always have problems with those darn little dogs…nipping and yapping all darn day. ugh.

  9. Apple and Eve Said,

    many years ago i tried making burbon chicken. mmmm. i miss that. anyways, i used jack daniels to marinate my chicken, and somewhere i got it in my head to marinate for 24hours. the sauce was ok, the chicken….even after cooking you got tipsy from it and needed a chaser.

    i love that you put up your screw ups as well as all the wonderful things you do.

  10. shir Said,

    I still would have eaten it . . . straight from the pan.

  11. ChemicalDependence Said,

    Oh, Rachael Ray… if only your recipes were impervious to failure, like your show that is always over in 30 minutes even if I cannot cook those foods that fast…

    My most epic fail when I tried to replicate a Rachael Ray appetizer-into-entree dish. Portobello caps stuffed with spinach and artichoke dip. Sounds delicious, but it was tragic and traumatizing. The texture was all off – the dip was too slimy for a noncrunchy dip vessel (ie one thats made of fungi.)

    Also she recommends a pinch of nutmeg in the dip – to add that “little something.” To me, this was one of the major culprits in the flavors not mingling well. It was also not exceptionally beautiful – it’s an edible grey-brown plate filled with white and green mush. Looks like a mossy forest floor. Yum-O!

    Anyways, I tried to reuse the mushrooms by tossing the dip filling and incorporating the chopped caps in another dish. It was more like hiding bits of mushroom in a casserole that didn’t really need the mushrooms and was not so much improved by their addition. This was just me refusing to throw away what had been (but no longer) nice portobellos.

    My one of my many roommates made Aleta Diet Rainbow Cake last week which was NOT a failure though the boy roommates refused to eat the colors. Throw rocks at them?

  12. lg Said,

    even though that didn’t turn out looking the way you hoped, i’m sure it was quite delicious.

    my worst disaster was when i was 8 or 9 and wanted to make popcorn. we didn’t have any jiffy pop (which is what we ate back in the day) so i decided to make my own – i filled a cast iron skillet all the way with popcorn, put in a glug or 2 of corn oil, attached tin foil across the top with a rubber band, set teh burner on high then went off to watch mork and mindy.

    3 minutes later, the smoke detector went off and i was in a world of trouble!

  13. Amanda Said,

    All my aesthetically fucked-up cooking fiascos have been delicious. As long as it’s orgasmically delicious and have saturated fat content that will send you straight to hell, who cares how it looks?

  14. Muneeba Said,

    *sigh* … I know that feeling. Oh UGH. Made these chocolate raspberry cupcakes once that looked like cratered turds when they came out of the oven. Definitely a disaster. I tried to salvage it by add lots of whipped cream to the top, but they didn’t taste right either. Waste of perfectly good ingredients!!

  15. Parched Said,

    I once attempted a caramel pie. Now, the pie itself looked lovely, and we cut a piece for each of us (3 pieces) and dug in. It was WAAAAAY to rich to eat, and when we went back into the kitchen, the pie had rebuilt itself into a fully-intact pie. No evidence that we had eaten any of it remained.

    My roommates worked on that pie for days and it kept sealing itself back up.

    My failure was so abject I never attempted caramel pie again.

  16. Jess Said,

    I once attempted a yule log cake, but when the time came to roll it into its log shape, the entire thing just …. fell into a giant mess.
    however! my friend and I saved it by making chocolate’bark’ and sort of… covering the cracks and the mess, and sculpted some snails out of marzipan, to make it into a ‘decomposing’ log!

  17. Tess Said,

    Bread, bread and more bread. It’s always so frustrating spending hours and hours on something that ends up with the texture not quite right, too tough or gummy or whatever, and wasting all those perfectly good ingredients.

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