Saturday, December 21, 2013

Molly's Seven Little Pies

Happy 76th anniversary, Snow White!

As anyone who has known me for more than five minutes can attest to, I am a huge Disney fan. Now, when I say that, some people are probably assuming that this means that I like the movies and might even go to the parks more than once in my lifetime, but I can very safely say you're greatly underestimating what I mean by huge. I have yet to be beaten at Disney trivia, my room is stuffed to bursting with Disney memorabilia, and I've even been acknowledged in an official Disney publication as being a crazy fan. My dream job is to one day work for their Imagineering department (my second dream job is being allowed to design a historical character for AG, but considering how tight they have that stuff locked down, I'm not exactly holding my breath), and it's not just me: there isn't a room in my house that doesn't have at least one Disney thing prominently displayed in it, and it's really my family's fault I'm so hooked on it anyway. Although my tumblr might be chock full of X-Men: First Class gifsets and links to my blog, my one true love is and always has been Disney, and I will happily talk your ear off about the company's history, upcoming projects, how I've watched Victory Through Air Power way too many times thanks to a massive term paper about the film, and why you're really misinformed in saying Walt Disney was a Nazi sympathizer. (As I've said before, World War II is still one of my favorite eras to study, even in entertainment history.)

Needless to say, I couldn't let today just pass by without finding a way to acknowledge the anniversary of the company's first full length feature film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which premiered at the Cathay Circle theater on December 21, 1937. It later had a nationwide release on February 4th, 1938. Kit and Ruthie would have been fourteen upon the film's initial release, and Molly would only have been three years old, but as it was re-released in 1944 to help raise money for the studio during World War II, she definitely would have seen it at least once during the course of her central series. Because of that, she's going to be hosting this post!

Snow White was (and still is!) an influential and revolutionary film when it was first released. Up until that point, no one had ever tried to make a feature length cartoon before, and Disney was both mocked and warned against it by people who nicknamed the film "Disney's Folly". Walt Disney recalled years later that "There was only one way we could do it successfully and that was to plunge ahead and go for broke - shoot the works. There could be no compromising on money, talent or time. Well, as everyone knows, the picture did make money, and if it hadn't, there wouldn't be any Disney Studio today."

Production on the film began in 1934, with more than 750 artists working on the picture. They created at least one million drawings, of which over 250,000 were used. Some of these required chemists in the paint laboratories to grind and mix their own pigments, creating 1,500 colors and shades for the characters and backgrounds. The multiplane camera - invented and developed by Walt Disney Studio technicians in 1937 for Snow White, but first tested on a Silly Symphony called The Old Mill, which won an Oscar in 1937 for best animated short - was perfected for the film, and gives it its three dimensional appearance.

Although the film didn't win a traditional Oscar at the eleventh Academy Awards (it was nominated only for Best Original Score), it was presented with an Academy Honorary Award to Walt Disney by Shirley Temple "as a significant screen innovation which has charmed millions and pioneered a great new entertainment field." He was presented with one full sized Oscar and seven smaller ones to represent the dwarfs. The success of the film not only launched the dozens of other full length Disney films we know and love, but also inspired MGM to release their own fantasy film in 1939 - The Wizard of Oz. The company used the money made during the film's initial release to buy a new studio in Burbank, California, which is still where the company makes films today. It was added to the National Film Registry in 1989, and as the film saw several releases before finally being released on home media 1994, when adjusted for inflation its total box office revenue still ranks it as one of the top ten most successful films of all time.

Not bad for a film everyone thought would flop!

Even though Snow White isn't one of my personal favorite Disney films, I still love and appreciate the history behind it and wanted to take the opportunity to share it with all of you. That meant trying to find a recipe that would help reference the film, while also being something I could feasibly make during a time of year where I don't seem to have much free time or space on the stove to do anything too complicated, especially considering my last foray into making apple pie was a bit of a disappointment, and I honestly have no idea where I'd even get gooseberries.

Anyway, I eventually found this recipe for a Snow White themed party treat idea and thought I might as well give it a shot. It starts off simply enough, and since it relies on a lot of premade ingredients, it isn't something that takes too long to make.

That being said, I was not overly impressed by this store bought crust. I don't think I like shortening based crusts in general, honestly, because I didn't love the one we made on our apple pie either, and that was shortening based. The premade dough also tore pretty easily when you rolled it out, and getting it to stop meant a fair amount of manhandling, which isn't what I'd want if I was using this as a real pie crust.

Seven of these go in muffin tins to be the base of the "pie". We only have absurdly patriotic muffin cups right now for some reason, but I figure that works out pretty well considering this is a Molly post, and her collection has always been very red, white and blue.

Getting them evenly placed was sort of a pain, and I think I could have made the bottoms a little bigger to give them more of a lip.

As you can see, poking them with a fork didn't really stop the bottoms from puffing up a little weirdly too, and it took a really long time to get them to cook correctly. The recipe only said five minutes or until golden brown, but mine took more like fifteen minutes, which was kind of annoying.

Weird, misshapen little pie shells.

To make the tops, you flip your muffin tin upside down and drape the other circles on top of the tin after poking them with a fork and giving them the scoring look of a real pie. The recipe says to put your tin over a cookie sheet, but this turned out to be my undoing. Apparently my tin slipped in the oven, so one of my pie crusts fell off and turned out pretty squished and weird looking.

The other ones turned out more or less okay though, which is good. Once they've cooled off, you add in the jam. Since we had a bunch open and I was making seven for the seven dwarfs, I used a different jam for each one!

And then you put the pie crust on top, and you're all set!

Seriously, that's it. There's nothing holding the tops on. It makes eating the pies a little like eating a fragile, gooey jam sandwich, which means they can be pretty messy.

Overall, I don't think this is something we'll be making again, if only because it was kind of a pain to make and I didn't love the way the crust tasted even after it was baked. It's a really cute idea, but the recipe could do with some serious tweaking before I'd ever make it again. That being said, some of my taste testers did like them a lot, so maybe it's just me. If you do give it a shot, tell me what you think!

Fair warning, I'm planning on doing a couple of themed posts like this (there's one particular day in May that's going to require breaking out a particular cookbook...), so I hope you don't mind having some slight deviation from topics covered in AG books!

'Til next time!


  1. Cute! I always enjoy seeing what you've made!

    1. Thank you! And I know I'm bad at commenting but right back at you, I've been really enjoying your posts, especially the ones about how Marta came to be. I've often contemplated making a custom Singing Bird since AG never got around to it, but I don't think I'm brave enough to do it, and I certainly don't have the sewing talent haha.

  2. I love the history behind Snow White and I wish the back story and influence it had was more widely known and appreciated. I think it's still one of the most visually beautiful animated films and I love the painted backgrounds. That said, I forgot about the anniversary yesterday even though I have a beautiful pin sitting in my room for last year's 75th anniversary! I'll be interested to see what they do for the 80th anniversary.

    1. Me too! I mean, they do a pretty good job of talking about it in the parks and stuff, but for most people, it's just oh she's not a strong role model oh it's just a kid's cartoon etc etc, and it always depresses me to see it dismissed like that. It might not be a personal favorite, but it's still a really good film and I honestly can't believe it took that long for it to be included in the National Film Registry, I mean come on, guys.