Friday, August 04, 2006

prayers and pastry


it occurs to me that i have been remiss on my pastry updates, delighted as i have been with this year’s summer vegetable crop.

several weeks ago during a visit with RB in her new house, we indulged in a lovely recipe for blueberry crumb bars. we used about half cherries, because they were there. with some adaptations, it turned out luscious and salty-sweet. the bars were even better the next day, once they had a chance to set up properly. they didn’t last long.

during my last trip to charlotte, coz and i went a-hunting peaches. i won’t go into the search (although i was saddened to have to pass up the gallons of inexpensive, thumb-sized blackberries because i had three cups of berries from my own backyard to use first.)

we did the pastry by hand, as usual. blanching the peaches to get the skin off was amusing, to say the least. i think it takes some practice to judge how long to keep them in the water before the skins will slide off. by monday, i might have the technique down – more on that later.

so while i was thinking peach and raspberry pie, we decided, in the end, to put together a peach and blackberry pie – complete with lattice top and some apocalyptic excuse for a spiral edging that fell off halfway through baking.

i had no idea that peaches and blackberries made such a heavenly combination. i mean, really, one might wonder why God has not seen fit to create a fruit with said flavor. this, come to think of it, might be one of the deep meanings of life – to joyously celebrate what nature has given us, in the form of pastry-encased fruit. there is no question in my mind that pie-making is a spiritual experience - almost a holy calling in itself.

note: it’s important in this combination, i think, to keep about a 2:1 proportion of peaches to blackberries. the blackberries pack a hell of a flavor punch, and you don’t want to overpower the peaches – they deserve their time in the sun.

afterwards i was told in no uncertain terms by my husband that the pie thing was taking away from my family time.

this pissed me off.

i mean, come on, i could be shooting up. i could be shaking it on Seventh Avenue to scam enough cash for a raspberry fix. i could be, er… going on three-day benders and falling off golf carts. (not that such madness would EVER happen in my family.)

but i’m not. i’m just a little obsessed with pie at the moment.

my friends buffy and Elizabeth came to visit the day after i got back from charlotte. i happened to have just enough frozen (local) blueberries to fill a pie, so i settled for a store-bought crust and put one together at the last minute.

i learned that to be truly appreciated and enjoyed, pie cannot be rushed.

said blueberry pie was not, in my opinion, up to snuff. although i will admit to a brief snort of amusement when Ebby stuck her tongue out to display the blue streaks. (properly cooked, blueberries turn deep red. i did rush it, after all.)

so i declared a two-week sabbatical from pie. just to fend off the pie mania, you understand, and get a sense of perspective already.

it wasn’t easy.

but it allowed me ample time to pick the next project. i had been considering a watermelon chiffon pie this year, but to be perfectly honest i’m not entirely comfortable with gelatin unless i’m making five-minute pudding. so i’ll skip that and move on to peach cobbler.

yoga class tomorrow morning, if all goes well, and a trip to the farmer’s market to aquire the necessary goodies.

it somewhat embarrasses me to write about pie these days, when the specter of death is so close and present in our lives. let’s face it, for a good portion of the world’s population, death is pretty up-close and personal on a day-to-day basis. here, we’re insulated. we’re lucky.

i find myself sautéing vegetables and praying that people could be free and safe enough not just to do the same thing, but to take as much joy in it as I do. i watch my daughter coast on her bike at school, screeching with glee, and i pray for our children, that they might know joy and peace as children. so that as they grow, they might recognize it, and as they live, they might choose it.

i write about my joy, my bliss, as Coz calls it, because when it comes down to it, i believe in sharing – and i especially believe in sharing happiness. there just can’t be too much of that. nor can there ever be too many prayers for peace.

peaches, peace, and juicy love to you.


1 comment:

SB Gypsy said...

I've been neglecting my piemaking lately, picking up "cardboard" cakes at the Big Y, dousing them in ice cream to hide the blandness. bad policy. In another couple of weeks it might be time for peaches, and you've inspired me to get my pie on!