if-you-wish-to-break-an-apple-pie-from-scratch

We had a pretty big weekend here at Sci-ənce. Friday’s comic took off across the tubes and managed to land at Bad Astronomy and MSNBC’s Cosmic Log. Major thanks to Phil, Alan, and all you wonderful folks who reshared on Google+!

Thus, if you’re new to the blog, I extend a hearty welcome and I hope today’s comic is not too random. It comes from a place closer to last Monday’s comic. Alternate universes; nefarious science; all that great stuff. But alas, I had to jump on that Wall Street Journal piece while it was still ripe for kicking. Next thing you know, it’s Wednesday.

Today’s comic is also related to a piece I wrote for Mad Art Lab last week: Making Apple Pie from Scratch. Wherein I make an age old recipe for apple pie, without apples. By taking some of the elementary ingredients in apples, you create a facsimile that is “close enough” in taste and texture for your brain.

So you see where I was going with all this? If not, watch the clip below. Pay special attention to the poor pie.

Goddamn. The man can weave poetry from the fabric of the cosmos, but don’t ask him to serve cake at your next party. I can just imagine the director ending the take, and Carl wiping his hands and shouting, “I looked like a goddamn imbecile back there!”

He hilariously blames the pie and the knife, of course. But in his defense, what is up with that pie?  Anyway, my own homage to Carl’s idea of building something from scratch went well. I even experimented on my coworkers, who were none the wiser and when I confessed that I had engaged them in some sort of culinary chicanery, their first assumption was that it was a store bought pie. Not bad for my first baked good ever. Even those that I had let in on the illusion found it hard to believe that there was indeed no apple in the pie. I highly suggest you check it out, try the recipe, and let us know how it went! The piece was pretty popular on MAL and I hope to do more “home science” stuff like this in the future. Here’s the pie recipe:

“Chemistry Pie”

Universe (premade) 
Pie crusts (either out of a box or premade)
2 cups of water
1 1/2 half cups of white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons of cream of tartar (potassium bitartrate)
25 “buttery round crackers” (Ritz)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. (I used more)
2 tablespoons butter.
1 tsp Lemon
Lemon zest for zing


Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Mix water, sugar, lemon, and cream of tartar into a pot and boil.

Add Ritz crackers one by one. Ignore any clumping, this will keep it looking like a chunky pie and not like syrup. Cook for 3 minutes.

Pour into the pie crust. Add liberal amounts of cinnamon and lumps of butter or margarine. Then cover the pie with more crust. Bake for 30 minutes.

The pie really works best once it’s cooled fully. When it’s hot, it tends to be a little oozy to be convincing.