Sunday, September 18, 2011

Chocolate Pie and Birdseed Cakes

Yesterday, Donovan was a whiney little brat.  Today he was a loving and enjoyable angelchild.  So goes it in The Land of the 4 Year Olds.  Today started off a little dicey as we went to church, which we havent done in a few weeks.  If we can manage to go for a few weeks in a row, he's fine with Sunday school.  If we miss a month or so, its back to clingy, weepy square one.  I stayed with him until it looked like he was involved enough not to "need" me and I left.  I don't think he cried in class but he was wearing the Pagliacci face when we went to get him. 

Mike had to run off to work so it was just me and The Boy I'd Done Wrong.  I apologized for making him sad and we had lunch.  By then, everything was better.  I'd thought we'd go to the fancy playground in Regent Square but Donny wanted to go home.  So we did and we made a chocolate pie.

The chocolate pie is very specific: Donny is still obsessed with Down At The Zoo and one of the songs on it we all like is called, "We Are The Tigers." Its a song about how tigers like to sleep, roam around and eat chocolate pie. It was a rare moment that we had graham crackers in the house for the crust and damn, if we did'nt have all the ingredients! So we made a Chocolate Chiffon Pie in a Graham Cracker Crust.

 That is the crust.  I forgot to take photos of my child beating a bag full of graham crackers with a rolling pin
The recipes for both crust and pie filling were from The Fanny Farmer Cookbook.  Its one of those cookbooks where you can find a basic recipe for basically anything.  The filling had a custard base to which you add...
 ...6 TABLESPOONS OF COCOA!  Notice the glee with which my son is anticipating making a mess.  Actually, he did quite well with the spooning, which is good because cocoa is pretty easy to scatter.

After we got the filling into the crust, we cleaned up a bit and made some new birdseed cakes.  This is a little craft Donny and I started doing over a year ago and its been a really great thing for us.  For a boy who is pretty freaked out by animals, feeding the birds and watching them thru the window is a nice way to make a connection to animals.  This is a recipe that is NOT in Fannie Farmer so I am providing it here.  I stole it from somewhere off the internets but tweaked it a little bit so hopefully I won't get my ass sued:

Recipe for Basic Bird Seed Cakes

• 3/4 cup flour

• 1/2 cup water

• 3 tablespoons corn syrup

• 4 cups bird seed, any type

In large bowl mix all the ingredients together.

 To mold, pack into small bowl and turn out onto parchment paper lined baking sheet.

Put in warm oven for a few hours—remember to turn heat off: you're not baking them, just helping them to dry out. Also, you should flip them after a couple of hours so the bottoms don't stay damp. Hang in plastic mesh bags (they type used to bag lemons etc.) so the birds have a place to hang from while they eat.

I asked Donovan what the birds would say when we put these out, and he said, "'Thank You! We needed that!'"

Mike got home, we had dinner et voila! We unveiled the chocolate pie! I will confess to thinking it would not work structurally. The crust was not easy to shape and it seemed like it needed one more binding ingredient: it did not. I should have known not to doubt Fannie Farmer. She's always right.


And, if I do say so myself, the pie was much better than I thought it would be.  It was seriously good.  Plus, it was a dream to cut and serve, which is not something you can say about alot of pies. 

So it was a wonderful, sweet Sunday with the added bonus of pie.  Now the kid is taking a bath to get all the pie off of him.  Good end to a great day.

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