Project Pie: I'll be baking 24 pies before Pi Day 2016 to get over my fear of baking pies. And to eat delicious things. You can join me by posting about your pies in the comments or tagging your twitter, instagram, or facebook posts with #projectpie. Make something scrumptious and gooey!
I sat next to my mom on her bed, a box of Cheez-its and a bag of grapes between us, J.B. Fletcher on the television. The glass of wine in my hand was sweet and pink. My parents' recent and surprising divorce had left me, at 21 years old, with the sense that everything I knew about the world up to that point had been wrong, or at the very least, lacking.
I leaned back on the pillows and watched as the maven of Murder She Wrote solved even the most impossible of crimes, proved to the skeptical cop that she was more than a meddling writer, made the killer confess. I fell into the odd happily-ever-after world where even when people are murdered, everything ends with a smile because the right person always pays.
It's the first memory I have of watching the show, and yet there was such a sense of warm, comfortable familiarity that I know I must have seen it many times before.
Thirteen years later, the feisty writer and mystery-solver from Cabot Cove is still my go-to on days that need a little constancy and predictability, when real life is playing a bit too fast and loose with my heart.
On Sunday, I snugged my laptop into the corner of the countertop and turned on Netflix as I pulled the ingredients for peach pie from the cabinets. While I peeled and cut the peaches, Jessica Fletcher saved a wrongly convicted man from another 16 years in jail. As I mixed the dry ingredients and the wet, shuffling around the kitchen looking for just the right utensil, she hobnobbed with the wealthy and got a confession from the jewel thief murderer. I rolled out the pie crusts as Jessica saved a con man from a murder trial, exposing the jealous husband as the real killer. Over the sound of our vegetables sizzling in the pan for dinner, she set a cranky New York detective straight and proved the innocence of her old friend, recently out of prison. I pulled the pie from the oven, the smell of warm peaches and ginger filling the room.
I have guilt sometimes about watching television while I cook. You're not being present, I will tell myself. Sink into the feel of the food on your hands, the smells, the gentle meandering of your thoughts. At least if you are going to interrupt the process, let it be with music, I say.
But some days are not for being present. Some days are for letting the familiar formula wash over you and steal away your thoughts while you peel peaches.
The Dalai Lama and my mindfulness friends would disagree, I suppose, but I'd give them a piece of pie anyway.
Peach Ginger Pie
Adapted from First Prize Pies
1 cup Earth Balance, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled
1/2 cup almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour, chilled
3/4 cup cornmeal, chilled
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1. Stir together the milk and vinegar and place in the refrigerator until ready to use.
2. Fit the food processor with a metal blade and add the dry ingredients, pulsing once to blend.
3. Take your milk mixture and Earth Balance out of the refrigerator. Pour the Earth Balance into the food processor and turn it on.
4. After a couple seconds, begin slowly pouring the milk mixture through the feed tube of the food processor. Once the mixture has been added, turn off the processor.
5. Pour the dough onto plastic wrap, bind it tightly, and refrigerate for at least an hour. (Note: The dough should come together if pressed but will not have formed a ball on its own in the food processor.)
2-3 pounds peaches, peeled and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup coconut palm sugar
1/4 cup arrowroot powder (or sub cornstarch)
1/4 teaspoon salt
Almond milk, for glaze
Coconut palm sugar, for garnish
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the peaches and ginger.
3. In a separate bowl, mix together the sugar, arrowroot, and salt. Add this to the peach mixture right before adding the filling to the crust.
Putting it together
1. Remove the crust dough from the refrigerator and split in half. Place one half back into the refrigerator and roll the other half into a circle on parchment paper. Transfer it to a pie plate (I used an 8-inch deep dish) and trim the overhang. Brush the bottom crust with a thin layer of almond milk.
2. Place the pie plate in the refrigerator and take out the other half of the dough. Roll this second half into a circle.
3. Pour the peach mixture (with the arrowroot mixture added in) into the pie pan and top with the second crust. Fold the edges of the top crust under the bottom crust and then seal by pressing them together with your fingers. Brush the top with almond milk and sprinkle with sugar.
4. Place the pie on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, turning once halfway through.
5. Lower the temperature to 375 degrees and bake for 30 minutes more, or until the crust is golden. Cool on a rack at least an hour before serving.
Note: Earth Balance and nondairy milk are subbed one-for-one for butter and milk in this recipe - feel free to use dairy ingredients if you can.
p.s. I'm halfway there - this is Pie #12!
Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Pie
Whole Wheat Zucchini Potato Pie
Traditional Blueberry Pie
Strawberry Basil Pie
Vegetarian Taco Pie with Cornbread Topping
Vegan Maple Pecan Pie
Chicken Pot Pie with Herb Crust
Very Berry Mousse Pie
Passover Chocolate Mousse Pie
Whole Wheat Maple Apple Pie
Vegan Shepherd's Pie