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A Spinning Top
“And this I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected.”
East of Eden, John Steinbeck
Life is good. Our planet Earth keeps spinning around the sun. Each day spills into the next. We try not to sleepwalk though the day. We pause to enjoy as much as we can because we know that at any moment our daily spin could spiral out of control. This past week has been heavy on the spin. I’ve been holding on. My mom was in the hospital for the second time in the last thirty days. Never a good sign, especially when you are 87. I can only hope I have half the tenacity she has. Without the stubbornness please. She has revoked her original DNR order and wants all measures taken. Refusing nursing home care, she has returned home.
Dizzy from the spin, I watch all measures taken. It may not be graceful but there is a measure of beauty. Beauty in her strength and will to live. Beauty in her steel-blue eyes and the firm grasp of my hand. Beauty as her mind spins from the week’s events and as she plotted her escape home. I may disagree with her choices but must respect hers. She is still capable of making her own decisions. It is still her life to live. I’m just holding on to the spinning top.
I didn’t tell my mom I made pie this week. I just couldn’t; she has a restricted diet.
But I wanted to. My mom made the best pie; ribbons were won at the Monterey County Fair. Crisco was all she ever used. She said butter was too heavy and weighed down the flour, making the crust dense and heavy. I could never decide which part of her pies I liked better, the fresh fruit filling or the flakey crust. With a slice of pie you get both and I suppose that’s the point!
I am somewhat obsessed with this all butter pastry dough and when my daughter suggested I make pie with ripe peaches and freshly picked raspberries I gave it a try. With a light buttery crust, a beautiful filling of sweet ripe peaches and just harvested raspberries we had an enchanting summer dessert. The next day I warmed a leftover slice in the microwave but other cold slices of pie have been devoured strait from the refrigerator. A glass of milk was involved in the disappearing cold pie escapade.
This pie is all radiant summer flavor. More sugar can be added to the filling but I resisted the temptation and let the exceptional flavor of the summer fruit shine. A 9” pie pan was filled to almost overflowing with fruit. Seven cups of fruit would make for less of a juicy mess in the oven, but I used eight cups. Don’t leave the peaches in huge chunks as the raspberries will turn to mush before the peaches cook. For easy peeling, I dipped the peaches in boiling water for one minute and then cooled them in a bowl of ice water. The skin all but slides off and makes for easy slicing. On the way to Santa Cruz we made a detour to Gizdich Ranch for freshly picked raspberries. Many of them ended up in this glorious summer pie.
|5C||peeled, sliced fresh peaches|
|1 batch||pie dough, I suggest this recipe|
- Place the peaches and raspberries in a large bowl and add the sugar, flour and salt. Gently fold until all the fruit is coated with the sugar mixture.
- Heat oven to 425°. Prepare an egg wash by throughly mixing an egg and a tablespoon of water together. Line a sheet pan with parchment.
- With a floured rolling pin on a lightly floured work surface roll out the pie crust dough approximately 1/8” thick. Measure, cut and line pie pan with the dough. Gently push the dough down into the contours of the pan without stretching the dough. Trim the dough flush with the top outer rim of the pie pan. Fill the pie pan with the peach and raspberry filling.
- After your pie pan has been lined with dough and filled with berries roll out the second disk of dough a bit thicker than before. Cut shapes to line the outer edge of your pie pan and a shapes for the center of the pie. Brush a bit of egg wash on the back of each shape and place on the rim of the pie, gently pressing the shapes in place. Arrange a few shapes across the top of the pie filling. Lightly brush the surface of the all the top crust with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.
- Place the pie pan on the parchment lined sheet pan and bake the pie for 15 minutes at 425°, then reduce the oven temperature to 375°. Continue baking the pie for 35-45 minutes until the crust is golden brown and the fruit juices are bubbling. Check the pie often to see if the crust is browning too quickly. Cover with foil if needed. Cool throughly before serving.