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By this past Christmastime, I had moved fully into maternity jeans and baby Gelineau was rolling with multiple nicknames. We know she is a girl now, but at the time we weren’t sure, so we bounced back and forth between Geliniño, Geliniña (we hope she’ll learn Spanish) and Jelly Baby, once I found out that those were a thing.

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We were blessed to be able to spend time back on the East Coast this holiday season. Besides the obvious joys of Christmas with friends and relatives, we also had a beautiful wedding to attend on the 28th of December (officiate, in Levi’s case) and my younger cousin Daniel put on the saving name of Christ through baptism on Christmas Eve. Amazing!

On Sunday morning, before the baptism, my “Aunt” Chris walked into church carrying a picture perfect pie festooned with red ribbon. I assumed it was part of the morning refreshments that would be served in between Sunday School and the Memorial Service (“Coffee And” as it’s called in New Jersey), but instead she handed it to me, saying, “Congrats, Honey. I made you a pregnancy pie.”

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The “pregnancy pie” turned out to be Aunt Chris’ specialty: a fresh cranberry and walnut filled pie with a gooey, sugary layer right above the filling and below the top crust. I have no idea how to make it. I’ve never made a pie like it. It’s super magical.

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Being a known pie baker, there’s always something very special about when someone else makes you a pie. ❤

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As it turns out, even when you’re pregnant, it’s not in good taste to eat a pie by yourself. We were able to share it over the most hilarious round of Saboteur I’ve ever played. Hilarity largely thanks to cousin Nate and his wild accusations.

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Our Christmas Eve pie had been lovingly provided, and it was my turn to make a pie for Christmas Day. I decided to go with Cherry Custard Pie for this occasion, knowing that there were lots of good, fresh, backyard eggs to be found at my Uncle Alan and Aunt Ruthanne’s house.

Trader Joe’s pulled through again; while the pie instructions let the baker know that it is acceptable to use either canned sweet cherries or fresh sweet cherries, I was very pleased with their JARRED Dark Morello Cherries that I’m not sure why I’m advertising to you now because I’ll bet they’re only stocked around Christmas time. (I could be wrong. You should still try to find them if you want to.) The recipe doesn’t say this explicitly, but I would imagine frozen cherries would be a bad idea and make little pools of water amongst the custard. You’ll see what I mean shortly.

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This recipe also calls for an optional addition of kirsch, Grand Marnier, or triple sec. No one wants to buy bottles of those things unless they’re already hanging around, am I right? But since there was Kijafa on hand, I threw a splash of that in instead. (The only reason I’ve even heard the word Kijafa before? Our favorite pancake house in NJ has Cherry Kijafa Crepes on the menu, and it’s been my cousin Leanna’s go-to order since she was little. I’m thinking she has tried to replicate them at home? This is at least a feasible explanation for having this very obscure tipple on hand.)

Here’s the really fun part of this recipe. After filling the crust with custard, the cherries get dropped in evenly, gently, throughout the whole pie! The effect is awesome.

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Once the pie has been thoroughly polka-dotted with cherries, it’s baked until set (like any custard pie), cooled, and chilled.

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We woke up on Christmas morning to snow (albeit light), which is always the dream. Christmas was spent trying to eat as much delicious antipasti as humanly possible and playing Family Feud (at which Nana was not half bad).

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Oh, and naps. Holidays are for naps too.

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Thanks for keeping up, friends. See you soon.

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