It has been a while, and I have so much to share. This post will be a little longer than usual, will contain more photos than usual (Iceland is just too beautiful) and even contains some exciting life updates, so please do stick around if you have a few moments to spare. As always, thanks for visiting.
I can’t say that I went on a four-day trip to Iceland planning on baking a pie there. It happened something like this.
Levi and I flew to Iceland and met up with Maggie and José. It felt like the dead of night when we landed at 4:00 am and the sun wouldn’t rise until nearly 10. We sort of functioned (and I sort of napped) until the Laundromat Cafe in Reykjavik opened up and served us pancakes.
The rest of the day is a blur of alternating sleepy road tripping (thanks to Levi for being our non-sleepy driver) and cold, windy, breathtakingly beautiful scenery breaks. I’ll include several more photos at the end of this post. In the meantime, would you just look at these horses?! ❤
One of our missions for this first long day was to stock groceries, mainly breakfasts for the next several days at our AirBnB. I went to peruse the fruit selection in the store, thinking perhaps that a pie might be feasible…maybe an apple pie, something really simple…and that was when I saw these beauties.
At long last, I had found the elusive fresh red currant! I knew instantly which pie I would make. It was one that I’d had my eye on during many summer visits to Minnesota, where it seemed like the currants at the local farm were always either almost ripe enough, or the growing season had just ended. A massive frustration in my pie-making career…and now, the red currants had found me–in Iceland, of all places! It was time to make New Hampshire Raspberry and Red Currant Pie.
The team helped me to assemble everything else I would need, including a lemon, red currant jelly, raspberries, and Icelandic butter. (As an aside, I could write an entire blog post just about how good Icelandic butter is.)
Pie-making commenced the following morning with berry-sorting and pastry-forming. It was a Monday, and I was just over ten weeks pregnant with our first baby. Until I hit the ten-week mark on the day before we flew to Iceland, I’d been struggling pretty hard with nausea, exhaustion, and lack of motivation to do much of anything, let alone bake a pie. Given that context, this experience, and really the whole vacation, felt like a small – no, a large – miracle. I was so grateful.
I’m fifteen weeks pregnant now, due in mid-June, and my belly isn’t quite as tiny as it is in the photo above. As our baby grows and I talk to her/him more and more I am also growing more and more excited for the adventure that awaits. I look forward to showing this new little person how beautiful the world can be, how to have faith when things are scary, and how much they are loved–by Levi and I, by our incredible friends and family, by God the Creator and Jesus the Savior.
(Insert sappy family photo here.)
(I also can’t wait to tell baby about the great adventures they had in Iceland while still in the womb. Seriously. This baby is well-traveled already.)
Okay, back to pie.
José had never made a pie before and was a devoted sous-chef/student throughout the making of the red currant pie. We still haven’t quite determined the best Spanish word for pie, so we went with “pastel”.
While this recipe calls for a cream cheese pastry (and I do love Ken’s cream cheese pastry), in order to cut down on ingredient waste and grocery shopping bill I decided to use only the decadent Icelandic butter I spoke of earlier. I have struggled in the past making pie crust in other countries, as I find the flour and fat often don’t combine the way I’m used to with U.S. products, and I sometimes find myself with an overly sticky pastry. This time, the dough turned rock hard (it had been in the fridge during the day while we were out tromping around glaciers) and wouldn’t thaw enough to be rolled for about an hour. #icelandproblems
José has been writing “Amigos 2017” or some variation of this on cakes all year and I think he was excited to be able to write it on a pie for the first time. “Amigos J, L, M, J”. Unsurprisingly he put himself last. He is that kind of a person.
This sounds too poetic to be true, but after we chilled the finished pastel in nature’s icebox (our deck) for about half an hour, we ate this perfectly sour-sweet treat under the green glow of the Northern Lights. It was a night I will never forget for as long as I live.
I always say that pie is for sharing, and it’s definitely for sharing when you’re only baking for 4.1 people. We left a large slice for our AirBnB hosts and I was even able to wrap up a few pieces and smuggle them back to Chicago, our next stop, where we celebrated Thanksgiving with my family. Everyone was able to have one or two bites!
A little more of Iceland–just because.