The Universal Records Data Base allows anyone to hold any world record they can dream up (such as
Most Dog Biscuits Eaten By A Human In Five Minutes), and it tends to be stuff that the Guiness Book of World Records might not touch. The rules are that you have to have at least one witness and photographic or video evidence to be official, and then you must post it on the internet. You can read all the rules and regulations here, and read about my attempt at breaking the record for Most Checkers Stacked in the Palm of One’s Hand here on Brokelyn. Check out the comments, I didn’t even get close.
I do hold another record, though: Most Homemade Pies Donated to a Mission. After chatting with database manager for the URDB, Robert Birdsong, at the Connect Four tournament, I decided to take my plans to bake for charity on Thanksgiving and turn them into a World Record. I baked six homemade pumpkin pies for the Bowery Mission on Thanksgiving eve and made a post-parade donation. Now I hold the record! You are strongly encouraged to break it.
From Time Out New York:
Bowery Mission, which just celebrated its 130th anniversary last month, serves Thanksgiving meals from Monday 23 to November 27. Volunteer slots for Thanksgiving (7am–7pm) are filling up, but operations director Matt Krivich urges walk-ins to drop by anyway. If you really want to lend a hand, he says, bring fresh-baked pies, of which “there are never enough.” Ain’t that the truth. 227 Bowery between Rivington and Stanton Streets, Manhattan (bowery.org, 212-674-3456)
I perked up when I read this. I love baking for Thanksgiving but we celebrate at Rob’s parent’s house, and they keep kosher, so stuff from my not-as-strict kosher kitchen can’t contribute to the table. I’ve been bummed for a while that my pie baking prowess never gets to shine, so now I plan to spend Tuesday and Wednesday baking up a storm. If you want to bake a pie, too, go for it! Spread the love.
1. Roll a crust. Press it in. Every time I do this, I think of Mary Poppins comparing pie crusts to flimsy promises: “Easily made and easily broken.”
2. Wash the blueberries, then toss them with sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon and love.
3. Berries in the crust. This is the point I have to summon all my strength to not eat them all.
4. Put on the top and cut holes. You see that little white blob peeking out through the hole on the left there? That’s a pat of butter. Butter makes it better.
5. Bake until golden.
6. Blueberry pie has the distinction of being one of the few baked goods better served cold. Like revenge.
This is the recipe I used. It’s from my friend Ellen, who apparently doesn’t believe in writing recipes in order, and also likes to sprinkle commentary throughout. It made me happy, even if it was a little bit of up and down reading to get through it. It’s from her grandmother.
Combine 4 cups fresh blueberries with 3/4 -1 cup of sugar, 3 Tbs all-purpose flour, 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, a dash of salt, and 1/2 tsp grated lemon peel (although I NEVER use the lemon peel).
Line 9 inch pie plate with pastry (see below). Add filling. Sprinkle with 1 tsp lemon juice (this is why I never put in the lemon peel AND I never measure the juice – I just shake until I feel like stopping!). Dot with 1 Tbs butter. Lay top crust over the top, adjust and cut slits for escape of steam. Seal edges. Bake at 400 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes.
Double Crust Pastry:
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup shortening
8-10 Tbs cold water
Stir together flour and salt. With a pastry cutter, cut in the shortening until the pieces are pea-sized. Sprinkle 1 Tbs of water over the flour mixture and gently toss with a fork. Repeat using 1 Tbs of water until the whole flour mixture is moistened. Divide in half and form each into a ball. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each half until they are about 12 inches in diameter.