Saturday, August 18, 2012

Pie Revelations

I made some pie the other day, and it got me thinking....About life, uncertainties, old memories, past and future ambitions...That sort of thing. If you would've told me 4 years ago that I'd be living in a house with my two-year old daughter and fiance, enrolled in a veterinary technology program, and blogging and baking on the side, I would've said you were crazy. Literally lost your mind, crazy.

Just a mere 4 years ago, I met my future husband at a bonfire in early October thrown by a high school friend of mine at the time. It was sort of an impromptu "back to school" social gathering. I didn't think much would come of it, other than hanging out with my best friend in a semi-awkward party setting thrown for and by a bunch of high schoolers.

 Little did I know the unexpected turn my life would take when I sat down by the fire that night. You ever look at somebody and you just know you're going to be great friends? This doesn't usually happen to me.
But with him, it was different. It was just like in the movies, where your eyes meet across the room and in that moment you just know. I know it's corny and cliche, but falling in love with Burt has been reminiscent of all my favorite romantic comedies. There's laughter, happiness, and sometimes tears; But through all of the tough times we always find a way back into each other's heart. And that's because we are each other's best friends first; Believe me when I tell you, what a difference that makes in the grand scheme of things.

Why am I telling you all of this?

Because lately, I've been doubting myself and my capabilities. With school starting in just a few short days, everything around me seems to be changing. Burt's work hours, mine and Lorelai's routine, my whole life. (Not to be dramatic or anything.) I just don't feel like I'm cut out for all of this, sometimes. "All of this" being the inevitable juggling of school, motherhood, and mine and Burt's relationship. It definitely isn't easy.The worst part is how fast it's all going by. Right now, I like my routine, because it gives me balance in my life. But when everything 360's on me, it leaves me feeling vulnerable and uncertain. It's a scary feeling, that uncertainty. I know I brought much of it upon myself, but it still doesn't change the fact that all of this makes my head spin. Maybe I shouldn't be admitting all of this, that change scares the bejeezes out of me, but I'd rather not wander through life pretending that I'm impervious to everything. I'm only human, after all.

 What I'm getting at is through all my doubts and fears, I am fortunate enough to have Burt in my life. He's a huge support system for me, for anything and everything I do. He's motivating, inspiring, and a no holds barred kind of guy. Before him, I was wondering around aimlessly, with no regard for my actions and no plans for my future. My greatest ambition was to be a journalist and live in the city, but instead I dropped out of college the second things got too difficult. I severed ties and burned bridges with just about everyone I knew. I was a mess for a good, long while. I honestly don't know where I'd be today without him. Looking back now, I realize just how much I've grown. My whole perspective on life has changed. It's amazing what 4 years and a pregnancy will do to you. It blows  my mind every time I think of how far I've come from the lost little girl I once was. Now when I have doubts, I have reassurance. I have comfort. I have compassion. But mostly, I have love.

 Back to pie. When you're making a pie, the warmth brings you in. You can feel it in the dough, even before the pie ever hits the oven. Something about working with my hands just makes me feel at ease. It's like I'm a sculptor of food. Of  pie. It's something I've grown to love about baking, the way you can get lost in it. Like a good book. Like an artist's drawing. Like a painter's painting. Just Like Life. Sometimes, you veer off the path, take the road less traveled, get a little lost and end up somewhere completely unexpected. The colorful twists and turns along the way are what make it a wonderful adventure worth living.

Honey vanilla peach pie:
Recipe slightly adapted from Joy the Baker's Peach blueberry pie

For the crust:
  • 2 sticks of butter, chilled and diced
  • 3 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 4 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 -1 cup of ice water
First things first: Dice your two sticks of butter and place them in a bowl in the freezer to chill while your getting your other ingredients together.In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Now, take your butter and using your fingers or a potato masher, mash the butter until it resembles lots of pea sized crumbs. Now, add in your ice water a Tbs at a time, until it begins to form a dough ball. (I used about 17 tablespoons.) On a lightly floured surface, gently knead the dough for a minute or so until it begins to hold together better and smooth out. Separate the dough into two separate dough balls and slightly flatten them out into discs. Refrigerate dough discs in plastic wrap or freezer bags for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour. Meanwhile, make your filling.

For the filling:
  • 4-6 large peaches, pitted, peeled, and sliced
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbs honey
  • 1 Tbs cornstarch
  • 2 Tbs flour
  • 1 Tbs milk
  • extra cinnamon/sugar for sprinkling on top
Begin by boiling water in a 3 quart saucepan. Mark x's on the bottom of each peach and place them in the boiling water for about 1 minute; Scoop them into an ice bath immediately to prevent them from cooking. Once they have thoroughly cooled off, peel off the skins, pit the peaches, and slice them. Place the peaches in a large mixing bowl and toss them with brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, flour,  honey, cornstarch, and vanilla extract. Set aside to let flavors meld together.

Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Roll out one dough disc on a  lightly floured surface until it is 1/4 inch thick and large enough to fit into your pie plate. Fold dough in half and carefully place in a 9 inch pie plate, then unfold the dough. (This is done to make moving the pie crust easier) Trim edges of the pie crust. Add your peach mixture along with the juices, evenly to your pie plate. Roll out your second dough disc on a lightly floured surface to fit over the top of your pie. Pinch top and bottom of pie crusts together and crimp if you desire. In the center of the pie, make 4-5 slits to allow steam to escape. Brush pie all over with the Tbs of milk, then sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Place pie in the oven to bake for 15 minutes, reduce heat to 375 degrees and continue baking an additional 35-45 minutes, until golden brown. Let pie cool completely before serving.

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