I skidded down the steep gravel trail, anxious to enter the canopy of trees – my virtual dome of silence. I needed a break from the noise that comes with the chaos of my life. I jogged over the bridge and ran up the stairs. Deep breath. I had arrived.
I slowed my gait and took note of how the forest was filling in. The branches that were bare just a few months ago were now decked out in lush green finery and canopied over the trail. I could no longer make out the stream at the bottom of the trail’s steep embankment. The sword ferns had risen up and blocked it from view. But I could hear it.
A few minutes more into my walk, I bumped into my neighbor. I usually gave her a brief wave from the car as I was taxiing someone somewhere and she was out patiently walking her female golden retriever “of a certain age.” But this day, I could actually speak to her in person.
I lamented to her about the noise in my house and joked about how I can’t even hear myself think. She smiled and listened. Her youngest was just about to finish his freshman year at college.
After we finished catching up, I turned to continue down the trail. Before she and her sweet old gal plodded up it, she said to me, “I miss the noise.”
As I continued on my walk, I thought of all the ways that my house is actually quieter than it used to be. I no longer have the incessant babbling, crying, and banging of toys from the toddler and preschool years. The boys spend a lot of their time hanging around outside and no longer need my constant supervision. And my daughter, well, she is arranging her own life right now. The one she is growing into and will claim as her own. And often, this “arranging” happens away from home. Which made me panic and think, “She is leaving for college in three years!”
So, I came home and baked a pie.
I can’t stop time anymore than I can stop the jowls from forming on the sides of my face (although it is quite fascinating to watch their progression.) But I can try to slow it down.
I can take the time to combine some flour and butter. To press it into a pie plate. To fill it up with the final bits of spring rhubarb and the early appearance of strawberries. I can even make a lattice top simply because it’s pretty.
I can add a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side to stand in for the big hug my youngest no longer lets me give him at school. “It’s awkward, Mom.”
And I can serve it all for breakfast (if it lasts that long) because we aren’t much for desserts in the evening and I never make breakfast. Pie for breakfast is a novelty. Something different to make them look at me and take notice. And I look at them and almost like a hologram I can see the little girl she once was flashing with the woman she is becoming. And the boy just starting his ascent into manhood with the more pronounced silhouette. And my littlest one who has shed his full cheeks but still gives me glimpses of his first few years of life, in the morning, when he’s still sleepy.
And I can continue to eat my pie, in the complete silence of my house, after all of my children have left for school. And I can agree with my neighbor, that perhaps I will miss the noise too. How about you?
|Strawberry Rhubarb Pie|| || |
- 2½ c all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp granulated sugar
- ¾ c unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes
- ¼ c shortening, cold
- 4-5 tbsp ice cold water
- 3½ c strawberries, hulled and sliced (approx 2 pints)
- 3½ c rhubarb, sliced (3-4 stalks)
- ½ c granulated sugar
- ¼ c brown sugar
- ¼ c cornstarch
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- 1 large egg
- 1 tbsp milk
- sprinkle of coarse sugar (or whatever you have on hand.)
- For the crust...
- Put your flour, salt, and sugar into the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to combine.
- Add in your COLD butter and shortening and pulse until the butter and shortening are the size of peas about 10 seconds.
- With your machine running, slowly pour your water in through the feed tube, a tablespoon at a time, just until your dough starts to come together. 30 seconds max.
- Pour your dough out onto a lightly floured surface and quickly form it into a large ball.
- Divide the dough in half and form two flattened, rounded disks. Wrap them in parchment paper or plastic wrap and put them in the refrigerator for an hour or the freezer for up to 3 months.
- For the filling...
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
- While your dough is setting, prep your strawberries and rhubarb.
- In a large bowl, gently combine your strawberries and rhubarb with you granulated sugar, brown sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together your egg and milk. Set aside.
- For the assembly...
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out one disk of dough to about 14 inches in diameter and ⅛ inch thick. (It may need to sit at room temp for a few minutes until it's pliable.)
- Gently place it in your 9-inch pie plate. Using kitchen scissors, trim the dough so it hangs over the edge about ½ inch.
- Roll out your second disk of dough to 14 inches in diameter and ⅛ inch thick. (If you are interested in trying a lattice top, I will put a link to a how-to video below.)
- Carefully, pour your filling into the pie plate lined with the first disk of dough.
- Gently, lift your second rolled out disk of dough and lay it on top of the filling.
- Trim the excess dough around the edges to about ¾ inch.
- Tuck the dough from the top and the bottom under the bottom layer. Using your fingers or a fork, press the edges together to seal the dough.
- Brush your dough with the egg and milk mixture and sprinkle with coarse sugar.
- Using a fork or a paring knife, puncture a few "air vents" into the top dough.
- Place your pie on a cookie sheet to catch spills and carefully put it in your 400 degree oven for 20 minutes. Turn your oven down to 350 degrees and cook another 40-50 minutes until your crust is golden brown and fruit is bubbling.
- Allow pie to cool for 45-60 minutes.
- Slice it and serve it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Enjoy....
If you are interested in trying out a lattice top pie crust, HERE is a link to a how-to video. I believe the woman in the video would describe my lattice-top as haphazard.