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SSar's Beast
First, thank you for all of your kind messages. They all made me feel better. Yelling "ARGH!" at the world and getting sympathetic answers is a lovely thing.

Second, I made a cherry pie tonight and it was (is, she admits guiltily, polishing off a spoonful) delicious! Yesterday, a salesperson came by our office reception selling cherries at a good price. I emailed Joel to ask if he wanted some. He said, "Yes, for pie!" I have never made pie before, but a couple of years ago, I bought Joel a desserts recipe book as a present, telling him he could pick out things that sounded good and I would make them for him. This never really happened. With a view to starting up this kind of activity again, I experimented, and made a pie based on this site's handy shortcrust guide and pie recipe.

Some minor flaws - I put slightly too much kirsch in, leaving a faint alcoholic taste; I didn't make quite enough pastry; the pastry itself was very slightly chewy. Overall, though, 'twas excellent. And the best part is, I only used half of my fresh cherries. Watch this space!

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Two cool things I learned about making shortcrust from a baker: the higher quality the fats, the better the crust. Using a really high butterfat butter (the French are great at this) really helps the end texture. And you can cake flour (like the stuff with a bit of corn starch/corn flour mixed in) and it doesn't develop those chewy gluten strands so vigorously.

Dang cherry pie sounds delicious.

It was! And thanks, Aja - next time I buy butter, I will pay more attention. I'm used to thinking that butter is butter except when it's unsalted and I can't find that anyway.

Me too most of the time, but when I got into my super baking phase I investigated all sorts of stuff. It's amazing how some stuff that sounded complicated (croissants) was easy and turned out beautifully and how things like pound cake sound easy and always came out with weird textures or something.

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