Saturday came, cloudy and cool. Uncle Joe took me out fishing and five hours passed before I knew it. The first four hours and forty five minutes were filled with frustration as fish after fish eluded me. (How about that alliteration?)

IMG_4312The thing about fishing, though, is that as many times as you throw out your bait and reel it back in without a bite, you still cherish this hope, a seemingly unsubstantiated confidence, that the next time you cast, you WILL catch a fish.

And sometimes, it’s true.



After this great success, it was then time for the planned-out Pie book pie, the pie I mentioned in my last post. After Aunt Sarah had done some recon work to find out what fresh fruit could still be bought in Minnesota in September, I had chosen the Raspberry and Fresh Fig Freeform Pie for this trip. I mentioned last year that we were in MN too early for currants, and this year we were too late. Once again, Trader Joe’s stepped in with figs- but upon my word, I WILL make a fresh currant pie one of these summers!



This was one of those strikingly beautiful pie fillings. Someday I’ll compile a lustrous coffee table book called “Pie: The Inside Story”.

The recipe for this pie suggests adding an egg yolk to the pastry to make sure it holds up a bit. For freeform pies, the crust simply gets rolled into a circle and placed on a baking sheet; don’t use a pie dish for freeform pies. Well, you can, but it won’t be freeform anymore, so that’s pointless.



To form the crust, fold the edges up all around, making sure a good amount of the outskirts of the pie are covered, and pinch the pastry together in some spots that look like they might be prone to gapping open in the oven. I’ve made some delicious freeform pies in the past but I’ve also made one that was decidedly too dry because I didn’t fold the pastry up enough and it got gappy (spell-check is hating on that word right now, trying to change it to happy, but the pie was NOT happy! It was gappy…and sad from the loss of its delicious juices.) So now I pinch parts together to really secure the perimeter.


The finished product was bundled into the trunk and driven to Grandmom and Granddad’s house in North Oaks. It has always been one of the most interesting places in the world to me. You find things like this.

IMG_4338We had the traditional fish dinner that night. There are not many finer delights in life.


IMG_4345When we sat down to eat, Grandmom prefaced the meal by saying, “This is like Thanksgiving, but even better, because we get to eat fish.”

IMG_4343Thanksgiving or Labor Day, turkey or fish (though, like Grandmom, I prefer the latter), I’m thankful for my Sweeny family. (Spoiler alert: more Sweeny pie-making to come on Thanksgiving. Levi and I are heading to Georgia to visit my parents!)

I just have a few tiny more things to say about this pie. As delicious as it would have been on its own, it was made truly remarkable by the addition of a honey-anise whipped cream. I’m a licorice person, so to me this whipped cream was a revelation. But even if you’re not a licorice person, per se (Levi isn’t one) you should try it anyway. It’s just that good. The anise part of the flavor comes from the addition of…

IMG_4350Any guesses?……..Sambuca. 1 cup whipping cream and 2 tablespoons each of honey and Sambuca and you’ve got yourself an incredibly special whipped cream to go with an equally special pie, to share with some of the special people in your life.



P.S. Stayed tuned-Labor Day Weekend isn’t over quite yet.