Project Pie: Very Berry Mousse Pie

Project Pie: I'll be baking 24 pies before Pi Day 2016 to get over my fear of baking pies. And to eat delicious things. You can join me by posting about your pies in the comments or tagging your twitter, instagram, or facebook posts with #projectpie. Make something gooey and delicious!

Saturday afternoon, in the middle of making this pie, I stopped, took myself into my bedroom, and put myself to bed. I gave myself 5 minutes. A time-out to think about my own behavior. 

We had people coming for a not-yet-cooked dinner, the kitchen looked like we'd been bombed, I broke the shell of my pie crust, the coconut cream layer was too thick and wouldn't spread properly, the pie crust was out of proportion to the amount of filling, the sun was going down so I wouldn't be able to get natural light photographs, and I'd done almost nothing on my page-long to-do list. Naturally, I did what any reasonable person would do in this circumstance. I yelled at my wife, slapped a spatula down on the counter (spattering coconut cream everywhere), and had a full-on temper tantrum. 

Unaffected by Navah's attempts at logical problem-solving, I huffed around the kitchen, slamming cabinet doors and muttering under my breath. And then some mildly sane voice, which I suspect was my therapist telepathically sending me messages from her vacation in Turkey, suggested that I walk away for a few minutes. 

So I did.

And I learned what I assume every parent knows. Time-outs are not so much about punishment as they are about resetting. When you're in the middle of the temper tantrum, there's nothing but the temper tantrum. Everything is horrible and unfixable and must be blamed on someone. 

In the five minutes that I lay on my bed, these things happened: 

1. My breathing slowed down. 

2. The thoughts in my brain slowed down. 

3. I realized that the sun would could up again tomorrow, and I could take a picture then. 

4. I had the epiphany that a fruit compote on top of the coconut cream layer would be delicious and would (1) cover up the messiness of the coconut cream layer and (2) increase the height of the filling so it didn't look so stupid in my deep dish pie pan. 

5. I thought, "I love my wife. I'd like to apologize to her and give her a hug."

6. I said a little prayer of thanks that it took less than five minutes for some space in my brain to open up and allow rational, non-panicky thoughts. 

I sat on the edge of the couch and told Navah I was sorry, and we talked about why making a pie had sent me over the edge. "If this doesn't turn out," I told her, "I won't have any recipes for my blog this week. And I'll get behind on Project Pie." 

"Couldn't you write about the failure?" she asked.

I looked at her askance. 

"Wasn't the whole Project Pie thing supposed to be about facing your fear and allowing yourself to mess up?" she asked. 

Oh, how quickly the attitude of play and experimentation gets thrown out the window. 

With just three successful pies under my belt, that old familiar expectation of perfection had plunged me into the worst version of myself. Failure was no longer an option. Especially not with an audience.

And as it turns out, it wasn't a failure. Giving myself the time to step away and let the Perfection Monster slink back into its tidy little corner allowed new ideas to bubble to the surface. The fruit compote saved the day. After Navah and I tried a little of the pie without it, we decided the "fixed" pie was better than it would have been had I not had a few mess-ups in the first place. 

It's a constant practice, this acceptance of imperfection. 

It's better with pie. 

Very Berry Mousse Pie 
Adapted from Spunky Coconut 

Prepare and bake this pie crust (or your favorite) for 10 minutes at 325 degrees. 

Very Berry Mousse

Add to your blender or food processor:

3/4 cup canned coconut milk
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 heaping cup frozen mixed berries
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon gelatin, dissolved in boiling water (add last)

Puree and pour into the cooled crust. Place in the refrigerator to set for at least 30 minutes. 

Coconut Cream Whipped Topping

Add to your blender or food processor:

2 cups coconut cream
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon agave nectar
3/4 tablespoon gelatin, dissolved in boiling water (add last) 

Puree and pour onto the very berry mousse layer. Refrigerator for 30-45 minutes to allow to set up fully. 

Fruit Compote

4 cups frozen mixed berries
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1/2 tablespoon agave nectar

Bring ingredients to boiling over medium-high heat. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and stir frequently until a jam consistency. Spread onto the cooled coconut cream whipped topping layer. 

p.s. Another coconut cream favorite - four-ingredient vegan chocolate frosting.

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