A Neglected Classic: Mildred Taylor, “Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry” (1976)

Cornbread and butter

Last weekend I went into a bookshop chain and saw copies of Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman arrayed on a table just inside the door, waiting to be lifted by the hordes of Christmas shoppers anxious to please bookish friends and relatives this year. There has been a lot of disappointed, indignant, or outraged talk recently about Go Set a Watchman – the sequel to Lee’s world-famous To Kill a Mockingbird. The build-up to this mysterious new novel seems to have resulted only in frustration for many Lee fans, with The Guardian dismissing Lee’s 1950s debut as ‘a literary curiosity’. Perhaps a better companion novel for Mockingbird is the lesser-known bildungsroman by Mildred Taylor: Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry (1976). In the UK at least, Taylor’s coming-of-age story about Mississippi life during the Great Depression is unfairly eclipsed by Lee’s masterpiece.

Born almost 20 years after Lee (in 1943), Taylor was inspired by a tradition of oral story-telling and she partially fictionalised her family’s history in Roll of Thunder. This book records and represents a history which, Taylor explains, ‘was not then written in books but one passed from generation to generation on the steps of moonlit porches … , a history of great-grandparents and of slavery and of the days following slavery; of those who lived still not free, yet who would not let their spirits be enslaved’.

Cornbread slice

Like Lee, Taylor focuses on the life of a young girl who is struggling to understand the social mores and injustices she sees around her. Unlike Scout, Taylor’s heroine Cassie is black and her position in mid-century Mississippi society is consequently precarious. Although her family are fortunate enough to own their land, sandwiched between the much larger plantations of the local gentry, they struggle to hold on to it whilst making tentative steps towards fighting for their rights.

Again, like Lee, Taylor’s novel falls into two parts. The first introduces us to Cassie and her family, as well as to the children’s growing awareness of the racism which determines which school they go to, which clothes they wear, where they can walk, what they can buy… in short, which completely circumscribes their freedom. The undercurrents of violence and conflict explode in the second section as the children learn of the brutal power their white neighbours hold over their community. Yet these similarities are merely superficial and serve to highlight the differences between Mockingbird and Roll of Thunder. Whereas we learn of Tom Robinson’s predicament from the outside in Mockingbird – he is falsely accused of raping a white girl – the first person perspective of Roll of Thunder gives us far greater insight into a community which is beginning to assert its civil rights.

Cornbread mixture

As well as a determination to achieve liberty, one of the defining characteristics of the community Taylor represents is poverty. This is most visible in the food that Cassie and her family eat. The novel opens with Cassie’s youngest brother carrying his packed lunch of cornbread and oil sausages to school. Cornbread and southern biscuits (see my earlier post on Toni Morrison) are the staple of this family’s diet. In The Cornbread Gospels, food historian (with an amazing name!) Crescent Dragonwagon explains the significance of this foodstuff in American cooking:

‘Cornbread in the South speaks of kitchen acumen: the ability to make a great meal from simple ingredients; hospitality, joy, pride, and just plain good eating. But Southern cornbread also tells the story of lack; subsistence in a not-so-very-long-ago time; of stigma, class, race, and shame.’

Taylor’s narrative is the story of increasing lack. Because Cassie’s family dare to arrange a boycott of a particular store (whose owners torched a house and three men), they are forced into penury by the more powerful landowners surrounding them. Whilst Cassie’s parents keep the worst information from her, she picks up quickly on the change in their diet. Her mum admits that ‘we don’t have to have biscuits and cornbread every day’ because they can’t afford to buy flour. The family are being starved of even the most basic ingredients, all because they believe that they have the right to exercise their own choice: ‘what we do have’, Cassie’s Mama says, ‘is some choice over what we make of our lives once we’re here’.

Even if, as Dragonwagon states, cornbread has become ‘associated with celebration, abundance, and family’, we should not forget the history behind this particular bread. It is a history of a struggle to assert that everyone has the right to exercise free choice.

Cornbread in pan

Recipe
Ingredients
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup plain flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
2 tbsp oil
1.25 cups milk
 
Directions
1.       Mix the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.
2.      Beat the eggs, milk and oil together in a separate mixing bowl.
3.      Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the egg mixture.
4.      Pour into a greased 8 inch baking tray.
5.      Bake for 25 mins at 225 degrees C.

 

With many thanks to Natalie for her cooking and hospitality!

 

References

Mildred Taylor, Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry (London: Gollancz, 1977)

Robert McCrum, Review of Go Set a Watchman, http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/jul/19/go-set-watchman-harper-lee-review-literary-curiosity (19 July 2015).

Crescent Dragonwagon, The Cornbread Gospels (Workman Publishing, 2007), p.8.

Comfort food: Southern biscuits in Toni Morrison’s “Beloved” (1987)

It is 1873, outside house number 124 on the outskirts of Cincinnati, Ohio. An ex-slave woman walks around the corner of her house, carrying her stockings in her hand, her feet wet from the river. Another former slave is waiting for her. It is 18 years since Sethe has seen Paul D, and catastrophic events have taken place since she escaped from the plantation where they worked together. But she invites him in and begins to make a meal of Southern biscuits.

Measuring the flour for Southern biscuits

Measuring the flour for Southern biscuits

These biscuits are central to the first chapter of Toni Morrison’s Beloved, a story of slavery and the sacrifices – or crimes – one might commit to gain freedom.

For our non-US readers, these are not biscuits as we know them (i.e. crunchy and to be dunked in tea). The Southern biscuit should be soft, buttery, flaky and fluffy, delicious just out of the oven and spread lavishly with homemade jam. According to one source, they originated in scones brought over to the New World by emigrants from Britain in the sixteenth century. As the settlers moved south and a different range of ingredients became more easily available (softer flour, buttermilk, soda) the scone morphed into the biscuit (see this article for more details). As with Irish soda farls (discussed in my earlier post on Michael McLaverty) this bread-like food became popular because yeast was expensive. Soda recipes were the perfect cheap and quick alternative to yeast-leavened bread.

Morrison’s description of Sethe’s quintessentially Southern biscuit-making certainly contributes to her depiction of a particular cultural identity within the novel. It is also extremely tactile. Sethe uses no implements as she measures and mixes the ingredients, instead using her hand as a cup to gauge the quantities. The freedom to feel, both in an emotional and a physical sense, is something Sethe relishes after leaving the slave plantation. She works the dough – minimally, in order to prevent it becoming heavy – while talking about the past with Paul D. The shaping of the dough for the oven is interspersed with Sethe’s memory of abuse at the plantation. At the same time as we read about a woman baking one of the most stereotypical Southern foods, we find out about the oppression which was endemic on pre-emancipation plantations. Throughout the novel the past invades the present, coming back to haunt the characters as they hunger for freedom. Although they are legally free, they remain trapped by their memories of slavery.

Hunger and desire in various forms also pervade Beloved. A commentator on Morrison’s novels has explained that ‘food and hunger … are used to mark and define relationships, and they often mediate or inform politics of race’ (Lynn Marie Houston, The Toni Morrison Encyclopedia, p. 167). Some characters long simply for food and security, for a relationship with someone they can rely on. On the plantation, Sethe hungers for liberation from the animalistic identity her owner has projected on to her. The slave-owner’s nephews want something else, and Morrison does not shy away from depicting their hideous attack on Sethe. The mysterious figure of Beloved longs for Sethe’s attention and love, whilst Denver, Sethe’s daughter, wants the same from Beloved. In the enigmatic ‘slave ship’ section towards the end of the novel, the slaves incarcerated below deck long for nothing but the release of death. In writing the novel Morrison herself hungered for the exposure of a history which, in 1986, was still underrepresented within American culture.

Morrison’s accomplishment lies in the masterful way she brings together all these characters, with their various desires, and tells the story of several decades of US history. The result is an utterly compelling narrative which looks back only to seek a way to move forward to a more equal nation.

Within this enigmatic novel events and emotions are subject to multiple interpretations. And so we are left with few certainties. One of these is that food is at the heart of community and family life. Another is that Southern biscuits are delicious. Sethe’s daughter eats them with jam, enjoying the burst of steam as she pulls the biscuits open. These tantalising treats also feature in To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee), Look Homeward, Angel (Tom Wolfe), I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (Maya Angelou) and The Help (Kathryn Stockett). Although these books are very different, they share a common interest in Southern US culture and all remind us that biscuits are wonderful. We had a bit of help with this recipe from Natalie, a friend from North Carolina – so it is authentic! It is also extremely easy, so if you are new to bread/scone making, this is a good place to start.

 

Ingredients

3 cups OR 360g plain flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
3/4 OR 175g cup butter
1 cup OR 235ml buttermilk (You can make your own buttermilk by adding 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to normal milk)

 

Directions

  1. Mix the dry ingredients and rub in the butter. Add the milk and knead to a dough. It is important not to overwork this dough, so try not to handle it too much!
  2. Roll the dough until it is 1/4 inch thick. Cut into approximately 12 circles using a 2.5 inch circular cutter. Alternatively, just shape into round balls.
  3. Cook on a metal tray in an oven preheated to 450 degrees Fahrenheit (230 degrees Celsius) for 10 – 15 minutes, or until risen and golden brown.
  4. Serve and eat immediately with butter and jam!

 

Acknowledgements: Natalie Goodison

References:

Natalie Osipova, ‘Biscuits and Scones Share Tender Secrets’, NY Times, 25 February 2014, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/26/dining/biscuits-and-scones-share-tender-secrets.html?_r=0

Elizabeth Ann Beaulieu, ed., The Toni Morrison Encyclopedia (Westport: Greenwood Press, 2003)

Toni Morrison, Beloved (London: Vintage, 2007)

 

Cooking “On the Road” with Jack Kerouac (1957)

Tortilla&Beans_008cr

The smell of a ‘billion tortillas frying and smoking in the night’ wafts through Jack Kerouac’s On the Road. Check out the video below for our thoughts on this fabulous novel and, of course, for this blogpost’s recipe.

Tortillas

Ingredients:

500g strong white bread flour

1 tsp dried active yeast

1 tbsp oil

1 tsp salt

350ml water

Directions:

1. Mix the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl, then add the oil and water. Bring together into a rough dough before turning it out on a lightly floured surface.

2. Knead for 5-10 minutes (by hand) or 5 minutes (in a mixer with a dough hook). Return to the mixing bowl and cover with a damp teatowel or cling film. Leave for 1-2 hours, until doubled in size. It should be left in a warm place, about 18-21 degrees Celsius. As we made this in Durham, not San Francisco, the warm place was my oven which I had pre-heated to 20 degrees. Make sure you turn the oven off if you use this method!

3. Turn the dough out on onto the worktop and knock out the air. Then divide into 10 equal pieces and shape into rough, very thin circles using a rolling pin or your hands. This is the only tricky bit and might take a bit of practice.

4. Heat some oil in a frying pan until it is really hot (as for making pancakes). Then fry each tortilla on both sides for a few minutes, until browned and cooked through. 5. Serve immediately with the beans (see below).

Beans “Fajitas”

Ingredients:

This is a movable feast – so throw in whatever you want. The only key ingredients are beans. In On the Road they use pinto beans, but we used kidney beans as they are easier to find in the north-east of England! Below is what we put in:

2 tins kidney beans

1 onion, diced

1 pepper, chopped

1 carrot, chopped

Mushrooms

1 tin chopped tomatoes

1 tsp chilli powder

1/2 tsp nutmeg

2 cloves garlic

Salt, pepper and any other seasoning you like

Directions:

1. Heat some oil in a pan, then add the onions and garlic. Cook until brown.

2. Add the vegetables and the beans, then the chopped tomatoes and the seasoning.

3. Simmer for about 15 minutes (although you can leave it for longer).

Yellow and Golden Cakes for F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby (1925)

With all the snow falling in England this January, we were getting quite restless in the Literary Kitchen, and so we have thought of making a short video to tell you what we make of food in The Great Gatsby, as well as show you how to make some really easy lemon cakes!

Recipe

Ingredients:

Cake:

200g unsalted butter
250g caster sugar
3 eggs
2 lemons – zest and juice
250g self-raising flour, sieved
1/2 tsp baking powder
70ml milk

Filling:

60g butter
200g icing sugar
A few drops of yellow food colouring

Icing:

200g icing sugar
1 egg white
A few drops of yellow food colouring
1/4 teaspoon glycerine

Makes about 18.

***

1. Soften the butter. Cream the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl.

2. Beat the eggs and add to the mixture with a spoonfull of flour.

3. Add the flour and baking powder and mix.

4. Add the lemon juice and zest, then the milk and whisk to form a completely smooth batter.

5. Bake for 20 minutes (or until golden brown) in a greased tray in an oven which is pre-heated to 180 degrees.

6. Take out of the tray and leave the cakes to cool completely.

7. Make the filling by creaming the icing sugar, butter and food colouring. Cut the cakes in half and add the filling. Or, if you are feeling fancy, inject the filling.

8. Make the icing by whisking the egg white until soft peaks. Then add the icing sugar a spoonfull at a time and whisk until stiff peaks. Add the glycerine and food colouring (if using) and whisk a little more. Pipe onto the cakes and leave to set. We decorated them with lemon zest too.

Enjoy!

Our friend Helen, scientist and baker extraordinaire, has made a Great Gatsby themed cake, which is pictured below. We absolutely love her gold decorations and the exquisite flowers. This cake really captures the flair of the novel.

Great Gatsby cake

Fruitcake weather: Truman Capote’s ‘A Christmas Memory’ (1956)

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I have always loved taking pictures of food: food I happen to eat when I am abroad, food I make, food I am only looking at from the other side of a Parisian patisserie’s shop window. This has always involved sharing them with my friends, too. Not in a sadomasochistic attempt to make them jealous about what I was having, and they could not, but rather in a perhaps somewhat bizarre way of showing affection: you’re not here, and I would share it with you if I could. One of my friends remarked how there is always something lacking in pictures of food, which makes them even more unsatisfying, and that is, of course, smell.

This is a most undeniable statement, yet I think pictures of food, and indeed literature even more so perhaps, can be evocative of smell, and this brief conversation with my friend made me think of when my fascination with food in literature started – not with a visual prompt, as one would perhaps imagine, seen my obsession with pictures of food, but rather with an olfactory one. Years ago, I bought a copy of Truman Capote’s A Breakfast at Tiffany’s which happened to contain some of his short stories too: the one which I found most striking, and indeed most touching, was one called ‘A Christmas Memory’ (1956). Coming from the romantic glitter of Holly Golightly’s New York, I was dumbfounded to find myself in the 1930s Alabama of Capote’s childhood: hard times, poor atmospheres, and a general strive for love.

Older Capote remembers his cousin Sook’s tradition of making fruitcakes in November (‘fruitcake weather’), to be posted to different parts of the United States, mostly to people she did not know, but admired, or that she had barely met, but had been nice to her. With one of them being President Roosevelt, the general effect of the story is rather comical, and yet somewhat heart breaking: ‘Buddy, do you think Mrs Roosevelt will serve our cake at dinner?’ (Capote 154), Sook asks little Truman (in the short story, “Buddy”), and God only knows what the right answer could be — living in a time now where unexpected items to the President of the United States would not be seen exactly as welcome, it is difficult to think that Mrs Roosevelt would have effectively served the Capotes’ fruitcake at her dinner table. The description of Sook and Buddy making fruitcakes together is one which has remained vivid in my memory, throughout the years:

‘The black stove, stoked with coal and firewood, glows like a lighted pumpkin. Eggbeaters whirl, spoons spin round in bowls of butter and sugar, vanilla sweetens the air, ginger spices it; melting, nose-tingling odours saturate the kitchen, suffuse the house, drift out to the world on puffs of chimney smoke. In four days our work is done. Thirty-one cakes, dampened with whisky, bask on window sills and shelves.’ (Capote p. 147-8)

The passage in itself is rather simple, if you like, and yet I have hardly read any other text which is more a hymn to baking, and especially the joy of doing that with a loved one: no matter how many times I read it, I cannot help feeling the nearly imperceptible smell of butter softening with sugar, under the eggbeaters’ power, then overtaken by the depths of vanilla and ginger scents, penetrating every single atom of that air, and of course, the tingling smells of roasted nuts and candied fruits — saturating the room, and then reaching other noses, other rooms, other houses, through Capote’s chimney, and Capote’s words.

Fruitcake (American recipe)

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup butter

4 eggs

1 tablespoon baking powder

2 cups sugar (I used 1 cup light brown sugar and 1 cup white sugar)

1 cup canned pineapple, diced (and some more for decoration)

½ cup candied lemon zest (+ for decoration)

½ cup candied orange zest (+ for decoration)

½ cup candied ginger

½ cup candied cherries

½ cup raisins

1 cup walnuts

1 cup pecan nuts (+ for decoration)

1 small glass whisky

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 teaspoons mixed spices (I used ground ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg)

1 teaspoons salt

For decorating:

A couple tablespoons of apricot jam

A splash of water

Nuts, candied fruits, canned pineapple

  1. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, and mixed spices in one large bowl.
  2. Add the raisins, pineapple, nuts, and candied fruits to the bowl with the dry ingredients, so that they are coated in flour. This will stop the various fruits from sinking into the dough while baking.
  3. In another bowl, mix the butter (previously diced, and softened) with the sugar. It is easier to do this step with a wooden spoon, and then pass on to use an electric mixer once the butter has been incorporated to the sugar. Once the batter is rather homogenous, add one egg at a time to the mixture, and continue beating it with the electric mixer, until all eggs have been incorporated and you have a quite smooth batter.
  4. Add the batter to the bowl with the dry ingredients, and stir well.
  5. Add the glass of whisky to the dough, and stir well.
  6. Grease a tin (I used a 22cm cake tin, but you can use a 900g loaf tin too) and dust it with flour, pour the dough into the tin, and make the surface even using a wooden spoon.
  7. Place tin in the oven at 160°C and bake for an hour and a half – check with skewer, it should come out clean. The cake may look still a bit damp when you take it out of the oven, so leave it on a rack to dry for a few hours before decorating.
  8. Brush the cake with whisky every day until you are actually planning to eat it – this will keep the cake moist, and keep it fresh for longer. You shouldn’t eat it straightaway after baking it!
  9. When you’re ready to decorate your fruitcake, place a little apricot jam in a small pan with a bit of water and simmer for a couple of minutes. Let it cool and then brush the top of the cake with this mixture so that is all covered and sticky. Now you can place the nuts and fruits on top as you wish, and remember to brush them again with the glaze so that they set and do not fall off the cake.
  10. You’re all set now, enjoy!

Truman Capote. Breakfast at Tiffany’s. London: Penguin Books, 2000.

Places and pies in Edith Wharton’s “Ethan Frome” (1911)

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Welcome back to the Literary Kitchen! As the last leaves fall and December arrives we leave Belfast (see the last post below) to embark on the long journey to the New World. More specifically, to the symbolically named Starkfield, New England, at the turn of the twentieth century.

Spaces and places are central to all of Wharton’s novels, and Ethan Frome is no exception. However, this 1911 novella marks a departure from the glittering interiors and ornate architectural designs enjoyed by New York’s fashionable elite in The House of Mirth (1905). The wintry landscape of Ethan Frome is entirely bereft of such glamorous surfaces. The oppressiveness of the snow-covered fields infiltrates every aspect of the novella, from the characterisation of Ethan to the pared-back narrative technique, from the frozen marital relationship to the simplicity of the food. The first person narrator is a stranger to Starkfield and – in true Gothic style – quickly stumbles across a mysterious story of transgressive love and powerful emotions held in check. By piecing together fragments of information, the narrator constructs the story of three people – Ethan, his wife Zenobia, and the cousin-servant Mattie Silver.

The Fromes’ isolated farmhouse is the novella’s epicentre. Although this building once reflected its owner’s relative prosperity, during the twenty-five or so years covered in the novella it gradually diminishes in size and comfort. The ‘L’ (the part of the building which connected the living space to the outhouses) is demolished and some rooms (such as Ethan’s study) become virtually uninhabitable. Within this increasingly confined space, the three central characters spend most of their time in the kitchen. This is the scene of a series of strained conversations – full of unasked questions and unspoken thoughts – in which Ethan, Zenobia, and Mattie play out a tense drama of desire and increasing despair. For Mattie, frequently described as a poor housekeeper, the kitchen is also her workroom. Here she makes donuts, meat pies, pickles, and stewed blueberries. Whereas Zenobia believes that cooking is part of Mattie’s social function, for Ethan culinary accomplishment is intimately connected with his wish to marry this young woman: jealous of a suspected love rival, Ethan imagines that if Mattie were to marry another man ‘her pies and biscuits [would] become the pride of the county’. Of course, both ideas can be criticized in the light of feminist thought and it is significant that Mattie seems more comfortable outside than indoors. Notably, she shares a kiss with Ethan in the liberated, natural setting of a small wood, rather than in the kitchen – the space in which her two companions imagine different, but equally constrictive, gendered identities for her.

Two key ‘pie scenes’ feature in the novella. In the first, Ethan looks through the window of Starkfield’s church building and sees Mattie dancing with a suitor. At one end of the room ‘devastated pie-dishes’ stand as testimony to the good time the revellers are enjoying (it is difficult to imagine these platters gracing the elegant dinner tables of a later novel entitled The Age of Innocence). Ethan jealously looks on at an ideal he thinks will remain unrealised within his own life. Wharton plays with the symbolism of interior, exterior, and liminal spaces, placing Ethan on the threshold to a possible life from which he is separated by the glass of the window (anyone thinking of Wuthering Heights here?). In the second scene, Zenobia celebrates her supposed triumph over Mattie by criticizing her meat pie, which ‘sets a mite heavy’ on the stomach. Although Wharton does not delve into Zenobia’s mind as she does into Ethan’s thoughts, this brief comment reveals a wealth of emotional angst. As the narrator realises, the real story is in the gaps – in what remains untold.

The pie in question is probably a version of tourtière. This is a French-Canadian meat pie which can be made with a variety of fillings and is commonly baked in Quebec and the north-eastern states of the USA. There is some debate about the origin of the name of the pie, however it could derive from the name of the dish in which it was cooked (the Dictionary of Food defines ‘tourtière’ as a French word meaning ‘pie dish’). The stodgy, protein-filled, and low-cost pie is, of course, a staple in communities in which manual labour is the main source of employment (compare the prevalence of Cornish pasties amongst mining and farming communities as outlined on the Cornish Pasty Association website). One wonders why Zenobia would complain that the dish was a little heavy as that was, in reality, the point of this particular meal. In our Literary Kitchen we have made mince and vegetarian versions of the pie and the recipes are below. As tourtière is traditionally eaten at Christmas, it is the perfect meal for this time of year. Eat it with cranberry sauce, pickle, gravy, mustard, or whatever you fancy.

Recipe

Meat Filling:

  • Beef mince
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Salt, pepper, thyme, and rosemary to taste

Vegetarian Filling:

  • Selection of root vegetables (e.g. potatoes, carrots, parsnips, butternut squash – depending on your budget, taste, and what’s in season)
  • 2 tablespoons of rice (this absorbs any excess liquid and helps prevent a soggy bottom!!)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Salt, pepper, thyme, and rosemary to taste

Pastry

  • 200 g plain flour
  • 100 g diced, cold butter
  • A few tablespoons water
  • A pinch of salt
  1. Rub the butter into the flour and salt. Add a tablespoon of cold water and bring the pastry into a ball. Add more water if necessary. Try not to overwork the pastry as this will make it heavy. Wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.
  2. Cook the filling in a large saucepan. For the meat pie, cook the onions in oil or butter for a few minutes and then add the meat and flavourings. For the veggie filling, boil the veg for 5 minutes, add the rice for another 5, then drain and stir in the flavourings.
  3. Heat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade. Put a metal baking tray into the oven. Then grease a 20cm pie dish.
  4. Take the pastry out of the fridge, then lightly dust the work surface and rolling pin with flour. Divide the pastry into 2/3 (bottom of pie) and 1/3 portions. (If your kitchen is very warm, return the 1/3 to the fridge temporarily.) Shape the 2/3 portion into a square or circle depending on your dish, and then roll it out. Make sure you leave 2 cm extra to hang over the side of the dish. Roll the pastry round the rolling pin, then unroll into the dish and ease into the corners.
  5. Add the pie filling to the dish.
  6. Roll the top of the pie into the right shape. Roll it round the rolling pin, and then unroll over the pie. Fold the excess pastry over and crimp to seal the pie. Make a couple of slits in the pastry top.
  7. Put the pie dish on the pre-heated metal tray (no soggy bottoms here!). Bake for about 30 minutes.

References:

Edith Wharton, Ethan Frome (London: Virago Press, 1991)

Dictionary of Food: International Food and Cooking Terms from A to Z, <http://search.credoreference.com.ezphost.dur.ac.uk/content/entry/acbdictfood/tourti%C3%A8re/0> [accessed on 24 November 2014]