Saturday I had the opportunity to meet one of my favorite people on the Internet, Jenny Lawson, aka the bloggess. I started reading Jenny’s blog around the same time I started b&s. I was, you may remember, feeling like a fish out of water. I was depressed, confused, and pretty lonely. A lot of things helped me pull out of it (not least of which was this blog), but reading Jenny’s stories made me laugh, made me feel like part of a community, and made the world seem a little nicer.
When she announced her book, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, I immediately preordered it. And when it came I spent hours reading it, laughing to myself, attracting quizzical looks from Dan, grunting in agreement. Her stories about growing up in rural Texas with a crazy family had me in tears, and when she wrote about how it feels to be strange, anxious, depressed, or alone I nodded along, understanding.
As soon as I saw that she was coming to Maryland I called my friend Rachel, shrieking with excitement. I’m not usually one to go all fangirl but I spent the better part of two weeks deciding what I was going to ask her to sign. Saturday we hit the road with our friend Sara and went hear Jenny read from her book and to meet her. And because I love her, and you cook for people you love, I made her a personal pie. And she signed my wine mug, and she was sweet and gracious and incredible and it was amazing.
I opted for my picture with Jenny to be from my Diana F+, but it was horribly overexposed. This is the best I could salvage the image, but I actually don’t mind it at all. Sometimes it’s better to be fuzzy.
Rachel and Jenny
A few months ago the women on one side of my family decided to start a virtual ya-ya book club. This month it was my turn to pick the book, so I chose this one. And while I had to warn them that it is a little profane, I really think they’ll love it. Because in addition to being funny it is accessible and personal. Jenny’s strength is that she is incredibly human. And just damn hilarious.
Chocolate Strawberry Chess
This pie is an adaptation of my Chocolate Chess pie. The recipe below makes a full 9″ pie or 3 mini deep dish pies.
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup ice water
1 cup chocolate chips
1 stick melted butter
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
Pint of strawberries
Start with your pie dough. Sift dry ingredients. Using your hands, work in shortening. Cube butter and work it in. Continue to blend until the consistency is that of course cornmeal. Stir in the water, a little at a time until your dough forms a ball. Divide in half. Wrap each half in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Pour hot butter over chocolate chips and stir until fully incorporated. Whisk together remaining ingredients and add to chocolate.
Remove half of the dough from the fridge. Roll it out on a floured, non-stick surface (like a sil-pat). Roll it out so it is 1 foot x 1 foot wide and 1/4″ thick. Drape the crust over the rolling pin and transfer it to the pie dish. Press into the pie dish. Scoop half of the filling into the pie dish.
Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.
While it is baking, use a fork to mash strawberries together. Set one or two aside to top. When the pie has baked for 20 minutes pull it out of the oven and add the strawberries. Gently spoon the remaining filling over the strawberries and bake for an additional 20 minutes.
Let cool. Serve as it is, or with cocoa whipped cream.