Saturday, July 2, 2011

TSA Almost Ate My Pie

If you think I've been mentioning my visit to King Arthur Flour a lot, you're right. The company invited a bunch of bloggers to take some free classes, eat too much free food, and have way too much fun at an event they called Blog and Bake.

It was only two days, but those days were jam-packed with information.

And flour. There was a lot of flour.

On the last day, we baked pizza that we had for lunch and we baked a tomato-and-cheese pie and a strawberry-rhubarb tart.

I ate half the pizza (it was a personal size pizza, but I had indulged in pastries in the morning, and couldn't do any better) and wrapped up the rest, thinking that it might make a good airplane snack.

We were given two pie boxes for the pies, but since I was flying home, I managed to put both pies in the box, and snuggle the pizza slices in the box as well.

When I got to the little New Hampshire airport, I figured that I'd better ask if I could take the pies into the cabin with me. On the trip out, there was no such thing as carry-ons. Those went into compartments in the wings of the plane, but I didn't want my pies getting squished.

The response was, "You'll have to talk to TSA about that." Uh oh. It never crossed my mind that the pies could be forbidden from flying. Sigh ... And I sure as heck wasn't hungry enough to eat them before I boarded the plan.

When the TSA lady appeared, she asked what kind of pies I had, and I offered to show them to her. She said that wasn't necessary, then asked, "How did you make your crust." I started to explain about the two types of crust and she interrupted me and and said, "Mine's easier." Then she started describing her pies.

Before the plane took off, she had scribbled her recipe on a piece of paper, and I was allowed to travel with my pies on my lap. And then ... I got to sit in the copilot's seat for the ride home. With the pies on my lap, almost getting in the way of the steering wheel.

Here's my view of the cockpit:

Here's the view as we got close to Boston airport.

Once we landed in Boston, the pies went into my carry-on bag, where the box fit perfectly. Made it handy for carrying. When I got on the big plane for the long ride to Denver, the pies came out of the carry-on bag and slid under the seat so they'd stay upright. Once we landed, they went right back into the carry-on.

When I got home, the pies got shoved into the refrigerator.

When I looked at them the next day, I was surprised at how well they made the trip. The tomato and cheese pie was nearly unscathed.

The strawberry and rhubarb tart had just a slight dent in the crust. Not bad considering it was a personal-sized tart that was completely unprotected by any sort of pan.

What? You want a recipe? Here's the tart:

Strawberry and Rhubarb Tart
Courtesy of the King Arthur Flour Baking Education Center
Makes one 5- to 6-inch tart

For the pate sucree pastry:
2 ounces unsalted butter at room temperature
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup (3 ounces) unbleached pastry flour
For the filling:
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 cup each, sliced rhubarb and strawberries

For the pastry:
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and mix well. Add the flour and stir to make a dough.

Gather the dough into a disk shape, cut off about 1/4 of the dough, and cover and chill that smaller piece.

Using well-floured hands, press the remaining dough into the tart shell. Chill 30 minutes before baking.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

For the tart filling:
Combine the sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Stir in the fruit.

To assemble:
Fill the chilled tart shell with the fruit mixture.

Divide the small piece of dough saved earlier into six equal pieces. Form each piece into a six-inch long rope.

Lay three ropes across the tart in one direction. Basket weave the three remaining pieces evenly in the opposite direction. Or, if you don't want to basket-weave, just lay them over the top in the opposite direction.

Press the overhanging ropes of dough into the sides of the pan, removing the excess.

Bake the tart at 375 degrees until the pastry is golden, about 20-25 minutes.


Anonymous said...

Good thing you ran into a fellow baker in the TSA agent. Otherwise they may have confiscated the pies as eh... lunch, eh...evidence.

Would love to visit KAF one day. Sounds like you had a GREAT time....

Casey@Good. Food. Stories. said...

Maybe if we all brought pies to the airport for TSA tastings, the world would be a happier place?

Allison@KingArthurFlour said...

I like your idea Casey. Just another example of how baking can bring people together is surprising ways! Thanks for sharing, Donna.

rose said...

SUCH A GREAT MARVELOUS STORY; ah, the common denominator of our foodie world! thanx for sharing

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