Tuesday, September 22, 2009

pie for the equinox

We are one of those families floating in the vague fog of spirituality that you find these days, and that has its ups and downs. Being in a culturally Jewish/ Pagan family with some added Buddism and an Episcopalian grandfather never really bothered me, but something shifted when the girls were born. (Something? What didn't shift?) I started feeling like I wanted rituals to help them through, and I found myself thinking longingly on the nightly prayers of our Christian neighbors and having the first ever drives to go to temple. When Sadie was two or three, she started asking about the world's beginnings and God, and my general New Age energetic "Some thing is looking out for us and loving us" sense of things was hard to translate.
So we've developed rituals of our own, and in these rituals we do our best to reflect our own spirituality. Before we eat, we say, "Shna", and this gives us a chance (hopefully) to take a breath and say hello to each other before we plow through our food. We don't even really know where the word comes from; it seemed to originate around Sadie's babyhood. On Christmas we go outside for the morning and each person gets one gift that we open at lunch. And we always, always acknowledge the change of season.
A while back, Joey found an illustrator who's pictures went right to his heart. He did a series of books based around mice in the woods and their activities through the seasons. They are truly magical books. So we've started a tradition where we read the appropriate book as a celebration of the day. Tonight we had pie, and then it was book time.

Ah yes, the pie. Looks like apple, doesn't it? And of course that was my intention this morning when I started out. But then I realized that apples will keep, but pears will not, and I have so many pears. I had never heard of a pear pie. Have you? Crumbles and crisps, yes, but pies? Who makes the rules on this stuff?
Well, surprise, pear pie is unbelievably good. Apple's got nothing on it. Happy fall.

Pear Pie
loosely adapted from here (see, someone's heard of it!)

one batch of double crust pie pastry (make sure you have enough for two crusts!)
6-8 pears, peeled, cored, and cut into slices
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup all- purpose flour
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a 9- inch pie plate with pastry. Pour the pears into the shell. In a separate bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt and zest. Sprinkle mixture over the pears. Drizzle the lemon juice over it all. Then top with the butter here and there. Finish it off with the top crust, as a lattice if you so desire. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, taking care to cover the crust if it starts to get too brown. Cool a bit before seving.


  1. Oh- I linked it, but my new link format is ever so subtle... His name is Kazuo Iwamura. Only some of his stuff is actually published outside of Japan, but it is all really amazing.