Dynamic Duos

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Once upon a time, there were two babies named Pippa and Milo. They were the best of friends.

When Milo read books, Pippa read books. When Pippa cuddled her baby, Milo cuddled his baby. When Milo said, “Time to eat!” Pippa said, “I’m all in.”

Pippa and Milo both like sweet treats. Pippa’s mama is a pie baker, and Milo’s parents have an ice cream maker. When their families stay together, decadence ensues.

Here’s Milo blessing the pie pastry for this Fancy Chocolate Chess Pie.

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Milo’s dad doesn’t bake pies too often, but he has made two kinds of pie, one of which happens to be Chocolate Chess. This isn’t as coincidental as it sounds – Milo’s family lives in Virginia, and Chess Pie was born and bred in the South. The other pie Milo’s dad can make is a PB & J pie. Pippa’s mama thinks it is a very unfortunate omission that there is no recipe for a PB & J pie in her cookbook, and might just have to try making one soon anyway.

Here is a picture of many egg yolks that put the Fancy in this Chocolate Chess Pie.

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Pippa’s mama couldn’t remember if she had made this pie before. She thought she hadn’t, until just now, when she was browsing the “Chess” tag on her own website and stumbled upon a post from 2013. Now she remembers that this was Pie #99 in her gallery and she can’t count it again. Too bad, cause this would have been a fiiiine looking image for the pie gallery. But y’know, no real regrets. It was delish again, seven years later, eaten with different folks.

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Milo’s mama used a Salt and Straw Ice Cream Starter Kit (link here but it looks pretty much unavailable anymore which is sad and disappointing news for all of us) to make absolutely delicious Freckled Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream. The two decadent desserts were enjoyed side by side one evening; a slice of pie followed by a bowl of ice cream. Don’t worry, Pippa and Milo got to taste-test the ice cream at lunch the next day.

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P.S. Pippa’s mama now owns an ice cream maker also. She’s written about her love for Salt and Straw Ice Cream before. If S&S ever starts selling Honey Lavender Starter Kits, you all know what she wants for her birthday for the rest of her life.

The End.

You’re Sure to Fall in Love with Old Cape Cod (and this Gluten Free Pie Crust)

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That’s what the song says, minus my little parenthetical addition.

And, sure enough, we did.

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If you would have told me last year that I, my husband, and my two-year-old would drive to Cape Cod from California in the summer of 2020, much head-scratching would have ensued. 2020. No one saw it coming.

For a week, we created a friend/spiritual family pod in this gorgeous Brewster, Massachusetts home. It was exactly what our souls needed.

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On the Thursday evening, we dressed up in the nicest things we’d brought, planned an extra special dinner menu (although, wait, that was every night…) and had a “backyard party” of sorts. We ate outside (you’ll see the bottle o’ bug spray in an upcoming photo, mixed in with the prettier things on the table!) To elevate the night further, the presence of a pie was certainly required. And, with our friend Jonny in mind, it needed to be a gluten-free pie.

In the past, when preparing desserts for friends who aren’t able to eat gluten, I’ve tended to go towards pies with meringue shells (made with no flour – mainly egg whites!) or veer away from serving pie at all. Even for this occasion, my original plan was to make a recipe from Ken Haedrich’s Pie cookbook, Black Forest Mini Angel Pies. Those would have been fantastic, except after I acquired all of the ingredients, including a whole bottle of cream of tartar, I had a forehead-slapping realization that I was 3,000+ miles from my KitchenAid. Meringue, which requires a hefty amount of high-speed whipping, was out of the question.

It was high, high time to try a gluten free pastry recipe, one that wouldn’t be just a passable shell for a pie filling, but delicious in its own right. Easy to work with and roll out was another quality on my wish list.

Et voila: Gluten Free on a Shoestring has a recipe for an extra-flaky pie pastry made with sour cream (I substituted Greek yogurt) that “rolls out beautifully” – their words, but I totally, totally agree. Helen, always prepared, had brought along some Cup4Cup gluten free flour, which happened to be one of the brands recommended in the linked recipe.

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Here’s a slightly misleading photo in which I am rolling the pie crust with a bottle of Cape Cod vodka, not because I was trying to set up a clever photo to tell you I used vodka in the crust (I STILL have not tried this, to my great shame as a pie experimentess), but because it was the closest thing to a rolling pin in the vicinity. The crust rolled out even more easily than my standard gluten-y go-tos.

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Remember all those cherries I bought thinking I was making Black Forest mini pies? Oh yeah, me too. Throw those in the filling FOR SURE. Peaches and I think maybe one nectarine too. It’s August, I don’t remember July details anymore.

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We’ll circle back to see how the pie turned out shortly. Let’s take a look at what else is happening meanwhile at our celebratory Thursday evening, alongside a large pitcher of this Watermelon Mint Lemonade.

My life doesn’t always look it’s straight out of Food and Wine magazine, but when it does…I ain’t complaining. Thank you Levi for these UNREAL oysters, pictured topped with herb butter before being grilled to perfection.

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As the writer of Ecclesiastes says, “I have noticed one thing, at least, that is good. It is good for people to eat, drink, and enjoy their work under the sun during the short life God has given them.” I have noticed it too, how good it is to gather around a table.

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That pie though. It’s really just showing off here with its beautiful peekaboo crust, as if to prove how easy this pastry is to work with. We all thoroughly enjoyed it, part and parcel. And I think it was particularly special for Jonny, who doesn’t get to eat pie pastry as often as, say, I do.

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And behold: there was homemade whipped cream to be eaten with our pie. Remember though, AirBnBs don’t have stand mixers. So, what did we do? The cream was poured in a cold metal bowl and passed around the table for each person to take a turn at beating until his or her arm grew tired.

This, my friends, is dedication to the art of eating pie.

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Photo credit for almost all of these photos goes to NOT ME. Helen and her 4-year-old daughter Bella in particular get lots of credit. The portraits of myself, Pippa, and the table in the back garden are all Bella’s work. The close-ups of my gorgeous friends Maggie and José are Helen’s photos. She also captured the cuteness below.

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I have a lot more summer pie stories coming your way. Let’s just say, if your garden is growing massive zucchini right now, but you prefer the taste of apple pie, send me a message. Yes, you heard that correctly. ❤

EDIT: It now appears that 4-year-old Bella the budding photographer also took the pictures of Maggie and José. Gotta give credit where credit is due. She is obviously going to be famous someday.

Strawberry Birthday Pie

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My sweet strawberry-blond, blue-eyed, thumb-sucking girl turned TWO this summer!

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For her first birthday, I made her a blueberry pie.

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In her second year of life, I would have to say that her love of blueberries (though still very strong) has been surpassed by her love of strawberries, which she pronounces “SHTRAWBERRIESSSSS,” with both hands up in the air. Sometimes we eat giant California strawberries together, cut them in half, and eat them with the juice dripping down our faces, just like in one of Pippa’s favorite books. I knew that her second birthday needed to be her strawberry birthday.

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I loved getting to use my vintage strawberry pie for this 100% strawberry pie. (I have the apple pie plate, too. One day I’ll make the recipes as written on the dishes and let you all know how they turn out.)

I’ll never forget the first time I made Ken Haedrich’s All-Strawberry Pie. It was 10 summers ago, in upstate New York, a couple nights before my friends Colton and Emily got married. I leaked strawberry juice all over the tiny oven at the family cottage, and we ate pie and danced on the boathouse roof overlooking Cayuga Lake. One for the ages.

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I put a little birdie cutout on my Baby Bird’s pie. I knew I would be decorating the birthday breakfast table with some backyard bird figurines that she hadn’t seen before, and that we’d do a Sunday School lesson with her cousins that morning about the parable of the mustard seed, which grows into a tree big enough for the birds of the heavens to rest in.

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Top crust sprinkled with sugar and milk, just like the recipe says!

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Pippa’s second birthday was a day of delicious treats, including tapioca crepes for breakfast in our own backyard, made by my friend Isabella of @bellas_tapiokery. You may remember reading about her in a previous post, Beet Treats. She’s available for some small, private events…just sayin’, peeps in Ventura/Los Angeles county area!!

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Pip Pip Hooray! We’ve used this banner now for Pippa’s Welcome to the World party (age 1 month), her 1st birthday party, and her 2nd birthday party. It’s made of map-printed paper and makes me smile every time, thinking about how big and wonderful of a world she is part of.

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A couple more drool-worthy crepe photos. Thanks Bella!

#runnyeggsforpresident

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This one was unreal. Dulce de leche (homemade by MOI) with fresh peach and grated coconut on a beet tapioca. Hello.

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And, back to the strawberry pie. Pippa was able to share part of her birthday celebrations with her big cousins Fletcher and Fallon, who were turning 13 a few days later. They weren’t quite two themselves when they were the cutest tiny wedding attendants in my wedding. Oh, time. ❤

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Dear readers, today I am wishing you sweet summer celebrations, patience, kindness, and enjoyment of simple, good gifts. Talk to you in August.

Christmas in July

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Hello friends!

I’m writing to you today from the state of Virginia, where current temps and humidity are combining to make it feel like 108 degrees or so. Swampy is a word I’d use to describe the feeling upon departing from any air conditioned building. That being said, super happy to be here, and also looking forward to going to another swampy state (Georgia) in a few days. Just remember, fellow Northern Hemisphereans, it’s winter somewhere. Somewhere like Australia.

Flashback to….December 2015, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. The hottest Christmas day I will probably ever experience. We were staying at our friends Nathan and Nicole’s house and it was so fun to share a warm back patio “Summer Supper” (a reference to one of P’s favorite books) in lieu of the more cozy indoor meal I typically associate with the Christmas season!

Nic is a fellow pie maker and owner of the Ken Haedrich pie tome. As part of the *many* delicious menu items she had planned for the Christmas meal, we baked not one, but two of Ken’s pies. Below left: Pennsylvania Dutch Apple Sour Cream Pie, and right, Black Bottom Peanut Butter Cloud Pie. Far right, Nic’s cute daughter Indianna. (Between us collectively, three babies have arrived in our families since this photo was taken. Goes to highlight how far back this story got stuck in the pie history bottleneck. It’s been added to its rightful position as Pie #138 in the Pie Gallery!)

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Here’s a little close-up of our starlet:

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And then, a slideshow of Christmas morning pie and luncheon preparations for your viewing enjoyment:

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Captions for several of the photos in the above slideshow:

  • Black Bottom. A fancy term for, spread some chocolate in the bottom of that pie crust please.
  • When you’re baking in Australia from an American cookbook…you gotta break out that kitchen scale!
  • California walnuts (for the Apple Pie) and Australia peanuts (for the Peanut Butter Pie), aww, it’s a metaphor for friendship!
  • Note to self (or Levi if he’s reading this), one of those fancy nut choppers might be a necessary Gelineau kitchen tool…
  • If you’re wondering where the “Cloud” in Black Bottom Peanut Butter Cloud Pie comes in, just pause the slideshow for a moment on the image the peanut butter filling pouring lazily from the mixing bowl. Light as a cloud, my friends, light as a cloud.
  • Graham crackers? Australians have never heard of ’em. Try some good old Arnott’s Shredded Wheatmeal biscuits in your next homemade graham cracker crust! (This particular pie calls for peanuts in the crust in addition to in LITERALLY EVERY OTHER PART OF THE PIE. 10/10 would recommend to your favorite peanut lover.)
  • Wait a second…those pictures are not of pie! But, goodness me, doesn’t all of that food look divine? I’m just over here trying to show that Nic is the next Donna Hay. Only my Australian friends will get that but it’s totally fine.

Other bits and pieces:

  • Nic and I have been talking pie for many years now, and she has even shared a savory pie recipe on this blog before, in the post linked here: A Recipe from Nic.
  • Here’s the story of my first Pennsylvania Dutch Apple Sour Cream Apple Pie: Pie and Music

Sending love to each one of you out there having a hot, cool, chilly, or any kind of beautiful July day. ❤

Peach Berry Pie

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We’re on the road. After three months spent almost solely in our California home, we are on the move. Typically, you’ll find us at various airports over the summer. This year, our trusty Toyota Highlander is getting us from all our point As to point Bs.

The 2020 Gelineau Family Road Trip is brought to you by lots of prayer, Peppa Pig paraphernalia, cucumber facial wipes, Pippa’s portable potty, and a bottle of hand sanitizer in every car door. We have listened to the Daniel Tiger Song “A Tiger Family Trip” at least 65 times.

I’ve logged a few new states, which is exciting for me as someone who keeps a world map with places-visited pins on my mantel. Colorado, Missouri, Kansas. At one point we drove 99 miles past my cell phone, which is a story for another time, but I got it back that same night. Wonder of wonders.

We spent two nights in Kansas City, Spotted: An “Uncle Teo” in his native habitat. (That’s what Pippa calls our friend Matt, of Dragonfruit Sea Creature Angel Pie fame.)

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Matt grew up in Kansas City, but doesn’t live there anymore. It felt both surreal and comforting to be together at his childhood home. Anyone else having this problem, where you can’t remember the last time you actually hung out in person with your friends because you’ve been Zooming too much?

As it turns out, Pippa doesn’t love back to back car travel days, so we took a short breather in KC. On the morning of our rest day, Matt said to me, in a way both offhanded and carefully considered, “One thing we could today, if you wanted, is make pie. There’s definitely everything you need to make a pie here.”

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After considering the fruit available to me, I chose blackberries, a mixture of blueberries (some larger and fresh, and some smaller Wyman’s frozen wild blueberries), and a few peaches. Then we had a lesson in lattice-weaving. My pie lattice technique (first learned from Ken Haedrich) doesn’t involve meticulous spacing or measuring, but it certainly gets the job done.

Typically I’ll sculpt leftover pie crust around the pie edges to make a ridge, especially for a single-crust pie or a pie with a crumb topping. Sensing that we didn’t need much extra pastry on this one, I cut around the pie plate with a knife, bound the edges together by pressing them with a fork, and donated the extra pastry to Pippa, who, at the time, wanted to use it as play-dough.

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In the afternoon we got a brief, Covid-19 Era tour of Kansas City. A few snapshots below. (The internet is not kind these days, but I know you are, my readers. ❤ I’ll say it anyway, just to be clear…we are not dismissing what is happening around us and though the pictures don’t show us wearing masks, we are always masked when it is required and/or when we are walking even remotely near fellow humans. Please trust that in all of our travels we are being as prudent as we know how.)

First stop: Levi’s first and not last E & T (espresso and tonic) experience. So impressed with Thou Mayest. Yes, that is tajín on the rim.

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Then, a stop at the imposingly beautiful World War I memorial. I never knew Kansas City had such a skyline.

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Boulevard Brewing was a fun destination; I’ve been a fan of their Tank 7 Saison for some years now. We tried several brews including the following “Test Beer”. My jaw dropped open when I read the description. Read along with me carefully now.

“Peach Berry Pie Berliner Weisse – Bursting with peach, blueberry & blackberry over a light graham cracker crust” Wait what?!

Okay yeah it’s not a perfect match (no graham cracker crust for my pie) but still. Spooky.

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In the evening, we ate pie and ice cream on the back deck and ogled at/conversed with several barred owls. Whatever else is going on, there is always wonder and inspiration to be found in Creation.

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Make Mine Apple

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“Make Mine Apple” is the title of the Apple Section of Ken Haedrich’s cookbook Pie, the compendium I’ve been slowly inching my way through over the past ten years. As you can imagine, this is an important part of the book (Apple has got to be the most common answer for “Type of Pie” if you’re playing Family Feud, right?!) While I’m only roughly halfway through making every single pie in the cookbook (152/300), I’ve now made 18/25 of the pies under the heading “Make Mine Apple”. And P.S. there are some scary ones in this section that are yet to come. (Hint: Ketchup.)

To really hammer this point home, here’s a throwback link to a post from 2012 where I talk about how I’m running out of apple pie recipes (!)

All that being said, I’m not sure why it took me so long to get around to baking this very NOT scary Cooked-Fruit Apple Pie. Relatively simple, classic flavors, easy to acquire ingredients. This is a lovely pie that could truly only have few enemies.

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Some people don’t like raisins, I suppose. That could be where a person could take issue with this pie. Pippa, on the other hand (my number one pie taste tester): big fan of the raisin. Big, big fan.

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So here’s the pie-nerdy part of this post. This recipe is instructive in a specific technique. Picture a slice of double-crust apple pie in your mind’s eye. If you’ve eaten a respectable number of apple pie slices in your day, you’ll probably agree that the slice of pie you’ve pictured has somewhat of a gap between the top crust and the pile of cooked apples in the filling. That’s because apples shrink as they cook down, leaving an empty space behind. Nothing mind-blowing here. Now, the Cooked-Fruit Apple Pie is different. The apples are cooked until they begin to shrink before the pie is assembled and baked, resulting in a snug top crust.

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Among other titles, my friend Sara is a potter. Isn’t this a beautiful pie plate?

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In the photo below, you can witness the aforementioned “snug top crust” effect. And some peekin’ raisins.

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Ohhhh, here we go! I get to show you all my new favorite thing!!!

A couple posts back I told you that I finally got proper pie-slice-dispersing packages and here they are in their glory. I am absolutely loving owning these. I feel a little sheepish it took me this long to stock something like this at my house, but also, not really surprised. I’m a huge under-buyer (a term from one of my favorite podcasters, Gretchen Rubin, click here to take a quiz that will classify you as an under-buyer or an over-buyer). Also, I avoid (not entirely successfully, but with good effort) purchasing one-time use kitchen items. Thirdly, (and what a blessing this is!) I’ve pretty much always been able to fill my house with pie-eating people at a moment’s notice. Since dinner parties have been put on pause for now, I was forced into rethinking how to safely share the pies I bake with as many other folks as possible. Anyway, aren’t they fun? I think what I like the most about them is how they make each slice truly look like a shiny little gift.

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As we move into this summer, I’m wishing each of you peace, resolve, openheartedness, and perhaps even a few moments of glee such as the one pictured below.

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May is Almost Over

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You won’t catch me doing this again, but this time, the clock got me.

I resolved to post twice a month this year. I don’t know if you’ve been counting, but you have probably at least noticed (if you’ve been following my blog escapades for a few years) that my Peace of Pie presence has increased this year (Yay for goals!)

It’s May 31st, 9:12 pm aka my normal bedtime and it also happens to be my 32nd birthday. I had such a busy week and thought, I’ve got nothing much going on on Sunday after church and Levi won’t be working, I could totally write my second May post on the 31st.

Umm…my day got FILLED with flowers, surprise doorstep visits and cards and gifts, a virtual G + T (It was real, but I shared it with my best friend virtually, in case anyone was confused), phone calls and messages, ice cream, sushi…I am NOT complaining!

So here is my briefer than anticipated post (pictures follow without commentary) about an Oatmeal Raisin Pie with a Tender Cream Cheese Crust, because…May is almost over. If you add questions to the comments, I’ll explain more in June. 😉 For example, you could ask: Is this like a pecan pie with oats? A: Yes. Or, Is this basically the best oatmeal raisin cookie you’ve ever had? A: Yes. Are you responsible for your daughter’s love of ice cream? A: Again, Yes.

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When Life Gives You Lemons (and Oranges)

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Sweet-Tart Lemon Cloud Icebox Pie.

Here we go, here we go! Settle in for a long, rambly post with a wandering storyline. The stuff you clearly embrace if you’re a repeat reader of my blog.

First off, a word of thanks to all of my local friends with lemon trees who have been kind enough to drop off bags at our house at regular intervals. ‘Tis the season in California that I absolutely cannot bring myself to pay for lemons at stores when I full well know that there are many trees bursting with lemons that have few prospects in life. I’m a barterer/surprise gifter from way back, but you’ll see in this post that this tendency has become strengthened even further during COVID-19.

This pie’s story begins on Easter night, with Levi juicing a million lemons like a hero. Juice to be used in the pie, for Penicillin cocktails later in the week/month, etc. (we also like to keep juice in the freezer to have on hand, hence the ice cube trays.) Not pictured, us watching The Chosen, which has honestly helped us get to know our Jesus better than I would have EVER imagined a mere television show could. So, so, good.

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Trader Joe’s Ad of the Post: Organic Vanilla Wafers being crunched up to make a very fine (texture wise, and otherwise) crumb crust. Dee-lightful. It’s exactly like making a graham cracker crust (melted butter, cinnamon, brown sugar) but with the obvious substitution of Vanilla Wafers for Grahams.

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A sad sidebar: you may well have noted in the above image that the handle of my food processor is, um, missing…it has broken in several places…so for the time being, every time I make a crumb crust (or pesto or hummus, for that matter) I get to meticulously line up the point of the tiny part pictured below to an equally tiny pressure point at the base of the food processor “handle” in order to start the blades spinning. It’s kind of hard to describe, but your takeaway should be, “That sounds safe, but annoying.”

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Guys, I’m a broken record. Ain’t nothin’ like a homemade crumb crust.

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Here’s the next bit of excitement: learning to make lemon curd! I was actually quite excited that this pie called for homemade curd. You may remember (or may learn by clicking here) that one of my more recent endeavors was the 10-Minute Lemon Meringue Icebox Pie. That pie, titled for its expediency, called for storebought lemon curd (I used Bonne Maman). And that was great too. But I think I have always wanted to make my own lemon/citrus curd (aside from pie. Scones come to mind first!) and this was a great foot in the door.

Lemon juice, lemon zest, an egg, 5 egg yolks, sugar. (Later, butter.) That’s what’s in a nice homemade lemon curd.

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Cue lots and lots of whisking over a double boiler.

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A layer of plastic wrap pressed over the finished product is a classic storage tip for curds and custards.

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P.S. Unlike the 10-Minute Lemon Meringue, I would NOT recommend trying to make this pie alone with a nearly two-year-old. I didn’t try, she was for sure playing with Daddy during at least the more complicated parts, but um yeah I can’t imagine that would have gone well if I had. #knowthyself #andthytoddler

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The order of events:

1. Pre-baked crumb crust (7 minute baking time)

2. Layer of lemon curd

3. Layer of whipping cream beaten with powdered sugar, vanilla, and mas lemon curd.

You’ve heard me talk before about how it’s just not really okay to eat a whole pie on your own. When I say on my own, I also mean, my immediate family. Two adults and a small child to one pie is not the correct ratio. I’m not saying we don’t have it in us, I’m just saying it’s a bad idea. And if you can’t bring people to the pie…bring the pie to the people.

The ridiculous packaging of these outgoing gifts immediately prompted me to buy a fat stack of cute pie clamshell thingies that you will no doubt see in future episodes (I meant posts but I wrote episodes and decided to leave it).

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On the same day this pie went out to surprise some friends, I got a lovely surprise on my doorstep too. We did a fun little “Spring gift exchange” in my church’s women’s group, and the pie was part of my outgoing “secret sister” gift. My incoming gift included sweet bracelets handmade by one of my youngest friends, a basket handmade (!) by her very talented mama, a nature book, and oranges from their orange tree. Talk about a day brightener. I loved it all! (So did/does Pippa.) Thank you, friends!

When Levi and I sat down to enjoy our portion of pie, he declared it to be…drumroll…THE BEST PIE YET. And just now as I was writing I was like whoa whoa I better clarify this b/c that’s a pretty big claim. So here are some of his exact-ish words:

“Okay, I don’t know if I’d put it in a contest and claim that it would win against every other kind of pie out there but it’s true that if you ask me right now or really any time what pie I want to eat, the answer is this one.”

Do with that what you will.

Oh, and please check out the layering in the side profile shot right there on your way out.

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Unrelated P.S. The Gelineau House lockdown has been brought to you by innumerable hours of Playmobil. Pictured below: (L) Mommy and Pippa with quarantine hairdos and yes that is a Playmobil sunflower behind my ear. (R) “Daughter” gets sent to the market to buy vegetables.

Smile! God loves you.

Heartdepths

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Three Aprils ago, a pie was born in Santiago, Chile. Some pears and some apples lent themselves to the creation, along with, I believe, some blueberries and strawberries, and perhaps another odd fruit that I’m forgetting.

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This feels like another lifetime now, in several ways. During our visit to Chile, we probably pinched ourselves daily, saying “WE’RE IN CHILE!” And yet there wasn’t anything terribly surprising about it, not for us; affluent, educated, healthy, non-parents. We marveled at our ability to go to sleep on an airplane and wake up halfway around the world as often as we did it; we marveled that it was…well…easy. Whether or not it should have been. It was just so easy. And now?

It would be easy for me to get caught up in wondering what is next. If we’ll ever leave the U.S.A. again in this lifetime. If so, when. My toddler has been to Spain. She’s been to Canada. Mexico, twice. Traveling feels like part of our nature, and there are places in nearly every continent of the world that are deep deep down in my heart. It is a blessing, a blessing that sometimes makes my heart ache and that I’ve never wanted to trade for anything.

Last night, I was listening to a friend go live on a social media platform. She talked about a perspective she has been trying to take, in light of all the uncertainty we’re entering Summer 2020 with. She shared that, instead of focusing on her sadness at very likely missing out on quality time with family and friends at a beloved second home of a campground, she is trying instead to focus on being grateful that she has something to deeply miss.

In other words, when we have those strong feelings of missing something or someone, it’s a sign or indication that those things are planted very solidly in our heartdepths. And that, in and of itself, is something to be profoundly grateful for.

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Tonight, then, I poured a small glass of port and sat down here at my laptop to share with you a few photos of this trip to Chile that we’ve been reminiscing about QUITE a lot recently. Just thinking about it brings me such joy. We coordinated our travel with our friend Matt (who now lives in Canada), were visiting our friends Shaye and Andrew and Brydyn (who are all from New Zealand), and made a new friend, Rosie (who, along with her husband, just made it to her new temporary home in Bolivia before the borders closed due to COVID-19).

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These are just some really home-y photos. I have photos from Pablo Neruda’s house, from Santiago’s incredible restaurants and wine shops, from mountaintop monuments, the beach, the Andes mountains, a nearby pottery village. But that’s not where we are right now, physically and mentally. Do you know what I mean? The memories of those adventures feed my soul, no doubt. But what I’m pulling out from my heartdepths right now are not tourist destinations. I’m pulling out feelings of togetherness. I’m pulling out memories of beautiful home cooked meals and a round of Pisco sours and a cat sleeping on a dining room chair and KIDS that keep us all in a state of delight.

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As we’ve been singing a lot with Pippa: I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy, down in my heart.

Down in my heart to stay.

Oh The Places We’ve Been

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Ah, for the first week of March 2020. When the borders were open and you could have visits from international friends. When it was totally cool to kick around Downtown Los Angeles, when all our favorite little shops and historic buildings and beloved restaurants were open for business. When we really had no idea what the next month would bring.

I know we miss it.

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Now: Apolis is partnering with Baby2Baby and selling customizable printed face masks that help provide diapers to families in need. https://store.apolisglobal.com

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Now: Manuela is still open for takeaway and delivery.                                             http://www.manuela-la.com/takeawaymenu

That being said, I really don’t want to express anything but deep gratitude for what we do have, now. All the most precious gifts remain, the greatest of which is love (hope is a pretty close second). Another gift we have been enjoying lately is a wealth of amazing memories, and time to actually relive them. I’ve printed some photos lately, which I NEVER seem to manage in normal-paced times.

Before “Safer At Home”/”Quarantine”/Whatever You’re Calling It began, the Gelineau house guest room had been occupied by a succession of friends for several weeks straight (maybe one night or two empty). Soooo that was pretty amazing timing for us. I’m talking literally the day our last February/March guest left (our friend Amy from Ontario, Canada) was March 10th which is when things really started getting weird in Southern California. On Monday we were questioning why Amy’s boss would want her to work from home for a few days upon her return. By Saturday, life as we know it was canceled, canceled, canceled.

We had some really beautiful adventures that first week of March, including a short glamping trip to Morro Bay, In Which We Learned That Pippa Is Much Too Excited To Fall Asleep At Night In the “Big Car”. She liked breakfasting though.

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And picking ice plants on the beach. (Wait, is this blog about pie, or Pippa?)

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And visiting the town of Harmony, Population 18. Side note someone please get married in this chapel and invite me.

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On the last day of Amy’s visit, we took it easy. Watched Levi play softball, baked a pie, read books in the sunny backyard. See, you knew there would be pie eventually.

Sometimes Pippa wears both a seasonally-inappropriate apron AND rain boots when she assistant bakes. So, that’s really good news.

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Dense Cherry-Almond Coffeecake Pie was our pie of the moment; Amy had named cherries as one of her preferred pie ingredients. As fresh cherries wouldn’t have been available, we used thawed dark pitted sweet cherries to fill a pre-baked crust, then poured in a liquid filling made from ground almonds, eggs, sour cream, and almond extract (in addition to the usual suspects such as butter, sugar, vanilla, flour, salt).

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I am always quite pleased when I get to have the honor of being the first person someone has ever made a pie with. Everyone, it’s official. Amy Hill can bake pies now. I taught her everything I know. You’re welcome.

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The verdict? It’s delicious. Eat it with a little vanilla ice cream (or with a cup of coffee if you’re into the whole breakfast pie situation, which, who isn’t) but for goodness sake pay attention to the fact that this pie has the word DENSE in its title and cut reasonably sized pieces. (I’m talking to myself here in case you didn’t pick up on that.)

No joke, you can’t eat as large of a piece as you think you can. A slice of this pie is practically a meal replacement, thanks to the mighty almond.

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Amy, in retrospect, this Coffeecake pie really was the perfect choice, out of the 140-odd recipes we could have picked; it reminds me of all the times you ordered some kind of coffee ice cream and I ordered some kind of berry/cherry ice cream. I know coffee wasn’t an actual ingredient, but there’s some great symbolism in having the words “coffee” and “cherry” in the name of your first pie. Love it. ❤

P.S. To everyone else, yes, I really do mean “all the times”. We ate a lot of ice cream. She was here for a full week okay?

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Now: Salt and Straw shops have temporarily closed. Breaks my heart. They’re still shipping a limited number of flavors, with a delayed fulfillment time. https://saltandstraw.com

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Can’t wait for it to be time for some good old-fashioned in-person game nights again. Until then, I wish you all lots of virtual chats, socially distanced walks, hangouts, House Parties or whatever the cool kids are doing these days, as well as delicious things to eat in the comfort of your homes. Message me if you need anything at all. Lots of love. x

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