Crusts: officially denoted as “the tough outer layer, a hardened layer or coating, or a deposit on layer of something soft” followed by the listing of several synonyms that include but are not limited to: covering, layer, coating, cover, coat, sheet, thickness, film, skin…etc.
But, what does this have to do with ‘the crusts of life’? Well, crusts in general, no matter how they differ in appearance or function seem to be the essential to every pie, creme brulee, or bread. It’s the definition of a light layer of ice, the opening of a volcano , and perhaps it defines the many layers we use to protect our inner self.
Food and life are intertwined. Food resembles emotion, passion, moods, the future, and sustainability. All the things that we struggle to achieve balance in our own lives. The start of a recipe is similar to the start of life. We take a few key ingredients, heat it up just right, and poof, out comes life! It’s so similar, yet so different.
This rant on crusts is not my take on life. No, in fact it’s the surprising ways we use and depend on crust itself. After flipping through my recipes that included “crusts” and after spending more time on my favorite new cookbook “The Pie Cookbook”, I realized how important crusts are to those of us who love to cook, but more specifically to those of us who love to bake.
My Homage to crust
For me, my failures and success in crusts was always a very inconsistent process. Though I knew when I tasted a great crust on any dessert-it was the golden seal that made the dessert a success. I’ve failed as many times as I’ve succeeded with crusts. Through all the ups and downs, I’ve learned one thing here with crusts, it takes consistency. Consistency in following the written recipe, as well as the consistency of following the intricate steps the recipe requires. Like, using ice cold water in the mix for your pie crust for example. Yet for some reason, the gentle combination of what usually is butter, water and flour is all based on a science of exact measurement. Like I’ve mentioned before, I’m no stranger to crust but until I took the recipe from “The Pie Cookbook” it was really a shot in the dark, even with a recipe. I think I’ve faced my fear and have begun to master the sweet success with crusts.
So, after all this, here’s my conclusion. Crust is the hard outer layer, where in almost every circumstance, is protecting the delicate fine inners. The soft doughy bread below the crust, the delicate cream under the creme brulee, the warm sweet apples below the crust, you see the pattern? Go ahead ,work with crusts. Make it your goal to become a crust expert. Build a comfort level with “them”, because their all different. And most importantly, always, always, always remember what awaits in the center of the crust is just truly amazing and worth every bit of your time in making it so! Happy crusting.