Pear Eggnog Winter Pie

5 Jan

It’s 2012 and the best thing to do for a new year is to come clean and start fresh.  Don’t get excited – there’s nothing juicy here like sordid affairs, slipping my kids Benadryl so they will sleep, or a problem with shop lifting.  My confessions are rather mundane, but they are mine and blogging about them makes me feel like I can bless and release them, then move on.

I don’t recycle if the item is upstairs, in the kids’ room, in the bathroom, or anywhere really but the kitchen. And this is a step towards a greener me.

I feel guilty that I don’t feel guilty for being a working Mom.  I’ve felt like this for a while and am waiting for some type of guilt to set in for working full time and liking it.  But I’m fine.  So instead, I feel guilty that I don’t feel guilty.

I did karaoke just before Christmas in a bar full of strangers.  On a Wednesday. Sober.  My husband and I also have our own personal library of karaoke songs – nearly 1,000.  And we do karaoke.  Sober.  On any day.

This blog didn’t start entirely because of pie and I didn’t tell you the whole story.  I was totally into pie, so that part is true. The rest of the truth is that this blog came into being because I needed a distraction from a miscarriage that I had over the summer.  My husband and I finally got the nerve to try for a third child, succeeded for a brief moment, and lost the pregnancy.  This was my fourth miscarriage (three before my first son) and I was looking for a way to distract myself from the disappointment.  While I think I cope with my miscarriages pretty darn well, I do tend to do something slightly drastic after each one.

#1 – adopted two cats.

#2 – Painted every room downstairs in one night

#3 – Moved to Portland, Oregon (for a minute – found out I was pregnant (again) three weeks after I got there, quit my job and moved back to Cleveland.  That was the now 5 year old.)

Having a fourth miscarriage in the midst of raising two boys, a dog, a cat (left over from the first miscarriage), and a harder job left me with slim pickings for drastic change.  So instead of moving across the country, I started baking even more pie and blogging about it.  In those first weeks, I was making pie three or four times a week.  Pie is about precision and paying attention – especially when you’re new at it.  I found that the process of making pie cleared my head and prevented my mind from wandering and over-analyzing the summer’s events.  The rolling, the shaping, the baking, the eating – pie raised up my let down spirits and provided comfort.  And since we’re confessing here, it also added a few more pounds.

I love making pie.  I love giving it to people.  I didn’t know it at the time, but this funny little hobby has given me so much more than just a distraction.  It’s given me some space in my life to practice the art of gratitude and acceptance.  And that’s what I never had before – I always had to react, to make sense of things, make a plan, move on, go, go, go.  Who knew pie would teach me how to just be still and enjoy the slice of life that is mine?

Pear Eggnog Winter Pie

Adapted from Vegetarian Times

My coworker sent me a recipe for a Pear Eggnog Pie from Vegetarian Times a couple of weeks ago.  One look at this pie and I knew it was my next suspect!  There were some things about it that I wanted to tweak, so I used the recipe as my base and developed what I think is a pretty awesome winter pie.

Ingredients

1 recipe of pie dough for a 9 inch crust

10 gingersnaps (pulsed into fine crumbs)

3 medium pears (peeled and sliced about 1/4 -1/2 inch thick)

1 Tablespoon crushed or minced fresh ginger (in the jar if you’re lazy like me)

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 can evaporated milk

2 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 Tablespoon rum

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Directions

Ahead of time:

Make pie dough and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to two days.

Pre-bake the crust:

Preheat oven to 400.  Roll dough into a 12 inch circle and place into a 9 inch pie plate.  You will want to leave a one-inch over hang by cutting the dough to even it out.  Tuck edges under and sculpt an upstanding ridge if desired.  Place pie plate in refrigerator for 15 minutes.

Make the filling:

Keep oven at 400.  Using a food processor or mini-chopper (or a ziploc bag and a rolling pin) turn the ginersnaps into fine crumbs.  You will line the crust with a thin layer of gingersnap crumbs when it’s time to assemble.

Peel and slice pears.  Toss together with lemon juice and ginger in a medium bowl.  Arrange the pears in rows, standing on edge along the bottom of the crust.  Place pie plate on a baking sheet.

Whisk the sugar and eggs together until well blended.  Add in the evaporated milk.  Continuing to whisk well, add the vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon and rum.  Pour mixture over pears into the prepared pie shell.

Place pie on the center rack of the oven and cook for 15 minutes at 400.  Lower the temperature to 350 and cook for another 35-40 minutes until the middle is set.  Ovens will vary, so begin watching it after 30 minutes.  Enjoy with ice cream or fresh whipped cream!

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11 Responses to “Pear Eggnog Winter Pie”

  1. morgan January 5, 2012 at 10:13 pm #

    Love you Emily!

    • emilythome January 6, 2012 at 8:49 pm #

      Aww, thanks! You deserve some pie. :)

  2. JL goes Vegan January 6, 2012 at 7:29 am #

    Emily, I didn’t that happened over the summer. I’m sorry. This post reminds me why so many great memoirs are written within the context of food. We have so many memories associated with it — or, it’s a hobby we turn to when life is good or bad– and we can easily tell stories that are sometimes difficult to hear, within the comfort of food. You do it gracefully here (as well as in your pie it forward series).

    • emilythome January 6, 2012 at 8:53 pm #

      Thanks so much! You are right about the intersection personal experience and food – I never really thought about it that way. Funny how personal details seem to seep out while intending to write about food. Happy New Year!

  3. Kelly Faciana January 6, 2012 at 11:08 am #

    Confession: i love everything about your blog: the pics, the stories, the background colors, the acts giving. I get excited everytime it hits my inbox. I read, tear up (yes even about the lube stop) and forward to my mother.

    • emilythome January 6, 2012 at 8:54 pm #

      You are so generous with your comments – thank you! I love knowing that you are one of my pie followers.

  4. Margaret January 6, 2012 at 6:59 pm #

    David Mamet the playwright wrote about writing to silence the turmoil in his brain. I do crosswords and jigsaws and paint watercolors. You make pie!

    • emilythome January 6, 2012 at 8:54 pm #

      And I had the chance to admire your painting while I was home for Christmas. It looks beautiful!

  5. Lisa January 8, 2012 at 2:40 pm #

    Emily,

    I’m sorry you had to go through that again. I’m glad you started this blog, even if it was as a distraction, you are an excellent writer and I love what you post! Your stories here, the pie it forward gifts and the way you make pie so enticing is a bright spot in my day. Thanks for sharing your efforts with all of us.

    • emilythome January 18, 2012 at 9:29 pm #

      Lisa – thank you so much for such a sweet comment. My journey with the miscarriages and pie has landed me exactly where I need to be and for that I am grateful! And grateful that this blog connects me to dear friends like you! Happy New Year!

  6. Jana Champ January 8, 2012 at 8:01 pm #

    The aromas that must waft from your kitchen! This sounds so delicious and looks beautiful, too.

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