There are many food preferences that I can deal with without any grumbling or judgements, but I just do not understand people who don’t like Pie. During a drive from the Thousand Islands region back to Brooklyn a couple years ago, I delivered a diatribe that lasted for probably twenty minutes about Pie. It may have featured my belief that baking a cake is all well and good, but if you want to tell someone you love them, you make Pie. Even if the situation isn’t as extreme as that, Pie is still more meaningful. Pie is sincere, heartfelt, comforting, unpretentious, and delicious. Pie is the best dessert treatment for most seasonal fruit. Pie makes people happy. My father called my mother the Pie Queen, possibly his highest compliment. This is a man who never gave false praise, especially when it came to food.
Today marks six months since my father died. It is cold and rainy and my driveway is still not usable. I’ve spent hours listening to Ray Charles and then switched to Richard Thompson, all while wearing my apron and doing the one thing that is most likely to make me feel better: baking.
These apples may not be the prettiest and most perfect, but they are fresh and real, grown without anything strange ever done to them: I picked them at my mother’s house. And when I was done picking apples, I walked behind the barn and harvested elderberries.
The apples and elderberries together made an amazing color— the berries started to stain the apple slices almost immediately, and this intensified after I added the sugar and stirred up the filling. Because this filling is a mix of apples and berries, I used a combination of cornstarch and tapioca granules as thickeners. The only other ingredients in the filling are the juice of one lemon and some cinnamon.
This is not an I Love You Pie, it is a Thank You Pie. Yesterday morning a friend went to Whole Foods in Boston with a list, then drove to Vermont and delivered groceries to me. He was coming up anyway, but his grocery shopping for me was a huge help. He even bought parrot food for my mother. Beginning to restock my fridge after having to throw out so much food because of losing power for days feels great. I once again have dairy, which means I can make some gelato base and begin to build up my inventory.
So here I am, in the woods, on a cold, rainy, and sad day. But I have pie. It’s a start.