10 Weeks ~ 10 Pies ~ 10 People ~ 10 Virtues
There’s no sweeter way to honor those who have impacted my life with virtue than by baking pie. For the next 10 weeks, I will be spotlighting a pie each week that represents a special person in my life that has passed on one of life’s important virtues to me.
We spend our whole lives wanting to be loved. It is one of the most basic of human needs following food, water and safety. We long for it, search for it, feel empty without it. Because of this, it’s no surprise that love is the most popular topic for songwriters. Whether it’s about a crazy little thing called love, the glory of love, or 50 ways to leave your lover, love songs put our emotions into words that we sing along to and cry with. Love can bring us an abounding amount of joy as well as immeasurable amount of sadness. Though it was Alfred Lord Tennyson, in his 1850 In Memoriam poem that said, “ ’Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”
Many make the mistake of searching for love without first discovering it within themselves. For some, years of negative influence from others leads to low self-esteem and an unfavorable self-image. Hurtful words are powerful and can be damaging to our spirit. They break us down, creating a hole for self-esteem to escape like water through a cracked vase. Absence of love for oneself leads to a never ending quest for true love in another because one’s ideal partner is a reflection of oneself. It’s important to actualize an invisible shield to place over your heart to filter out hurtful and negative messages. If our hearts are protected and strong, it’s difficult for others’ sharp words to penetrate. Self-love is more than just loving yourself; it’s having respect for your own value and worth as well as confidence in your own abilities. This is referred to as self-efficacy. It’s being honest with yourself about your own strengths and weaknesses, and accepting both with humility and grace.
As a little girl, I was fortunate to have friends and family in my life that sent me loving messages of acceptance. I don’t remember any specific quotes announcing my specialness to the world but I believed it for sure (see Not your ordinary girl or grilled cheese sandwich). Though I took my fair share of bullying by those who shall remain nameless because they don’t deserve to be published in my blog and had my heart crushed countless times due to the loss of love in my life, I have remained strong and true to my spirit. Somewhere along the way, I have learned that you can’t count on others to nurture your heart or feed your spirit. It must come from within. When we love ourselves, it is then that we have enough love to give to another and naturally it will be returned.
Because we all can do better, I’ve provided eight tips on how to fill your own spirit and love yourself more:
Stop comparing yourself to others – the endless messages we receive from media and society about perfection are damaging to the soul. The more worth you place in others, the less you place within yourself. Learn to accept yourself the way you are and you’ll be much happier.
Forgive yourself – Even more difficult than forgiving another is forgiving yourself. Guilt and shame can last a lifetime but love is eternal. The sooner you forgive yourself for past mistakes, the sooner you can love and accept yourself …leading to a fuller life.
Stop seeking approval – Living your life constantly seeking approval from others diminishes your self-worth. Learn to trust yourself in knowing what’s right for you, not what others think is right for you.
Appreciate Silence – The world is noisy. When we’re silent we can hear our spirit and get in touch with ourselves. It is only through silence that we can reflect most thoroughly. I have the biggest revelations and best ideas when I’m in the shower.
Be kind to yourself – If you’re always giving to others, you may have nothing left for yourself. Those that find themselves always giving usually have the biggest hole in their heart to fill. Finding balance among the kindness you show yourself and the kindness you show others is difficult to achieve but will help you give more genuinely.
Be honest with yourself – Self denial doesn’t do anyone any good. When we lie to ourselves and bury our feelings we fail to grow. It’s when we’re truthful about our emotions and admit our faults that we continue to flourish and stand taller.
Cultivate your dreams – Life without dreams is like a sailboat without water; it’s stagnant. Keep chasing your dreams, eventually you’ll catch up. Even more important…stop and smell the roses along the way. It’s a sweet reminder that you might already be there.
Believe in yourself – Quiet the voice in your head that says, “You can’t!” Listen to the voice that says, “Anything’s possible!” Whichever one you listen to will be right every time.
Fresh Peaches Photography by Andrea Karapas
The pie I chose this week is a Lattice-Top All-Peach Pie. I love peach pie. It has always been one of my favorites. During my fruit tree research, I discovered that for optimum growth, peach trees require a constant supply of water. The best-tasting fruit is produced when the peach is watered throughout the season. This tender, sweet fruit needs nurturing. It requires more nutrients than most other fruit trees. Because its delicate flesh can be bruised easily, I chose the lattice top which metaphorically acts as a shield to the tender fruit. Latticework is historically used as a support to a structure, allowing it to stand tall. The lattice top crust was intimidating to me for a long time. It looks fancy and complicated though it’s actually pretty simple if given proper visual instructions.
Because the season for truly good, ripe peaches is short, I like to use frozen peaches for my pies. They taste as good as fresh and eliminate the labor of blanching, peeling and pitting the peaches. The author of my pie book, Ken Haedrich, states that the quality of frozen produce in the US is quite often superior to that of fresh due to the very short duration of time between harvesting and processing. Once you’ve got your crust made, it’s a pretty quick pie to pull together and guests at your picnic will be quite impressed.
Poet, Veronica Shoffstall stated, “Plant your own garden and decorate your own soul, instead of waiting for someone to bring your flowers.” I love this quote and it’s perfect for this post. Go forth and nurture your spirit. Love yourself.
This pie series has been a lot of work AND a lot of fun. It has allowed me to honor many special individuals in my life who have impacted me positively both as a child and an adult. Thank you for letting me share my stories and loved ones with you. The last 10 weeks has also given me the opportunity to practice making pie, one thing I’ve dreamed of mastering for quite a long time. If you’ve taken nothing else from my blog posts, know this..if you want to become good at something, practice. You’ll almost always get better at it.
Lattice-Top All-Peach Pie Photography by Andrea Karapas
Lattice-Top All-Peach Pie Photograph by Andrea Karapas
Basic Flaky Pie Pastry
Ingredients for a double crust:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1/2 cup cold vegetable shortening, cut into pieces
1/2 cup cold water
Put the flour, sugar, and salt in the food processor. Pulse several times to mix. Scatter the butter over the dry ingredients and pulse the machine 5 or 6 times to cut in. Fluff the mixture with a fork, lifting it up from the bottom of the bowl. Scatter the shortening over the flour and pulse 5 or 6 times. Fluff the mixture again. Drizzle half of the water over the flour mixture and pulse 5 or 6 times. Fluff the mixture and sprinkle on the the remaining water. Pulse 5 or 6 times more, until the dough starts to form clumps. Overall, it will look like coarse crumbs. Dump the contents of the processor bowl into a large bowl. Test the pastry by squeezing some of it between your fingers. If it seems a little dry and not quite packable, drizzle a teaspoon or so of cold water over the pastry and work it with your fingertips.
Using your hands, pack the pastry into 2 balls as you would pack a snowball. Make one ball slightly larger than the other; this will be your bottom crust. Knead balls once or twice, then flatten the larger ball into a ¾ -inch-thick disk on a floured work surface. Shape the other half into a square ¾-inch thick; you’ll use this for the lattice top. Wrap the disks in plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight before rolling.
Lattice-Top All-Peach Pie
Ingredients for filling:
Two 1-pound bags frozen sliced peaches, partially thawed
1 ½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
On a sheet of lightly floured waxed paper, roll the pastry into a 13-inch circle with a floured rolling pin. Invert the pastry over a 9 1/2 –inch deep-dish pie pan, center, and peel off the paper. Gently tuck the pastry into the pan, without stretching it, and sculpt the overhang into an upstanding ridge. Place in the freezer for 15 minutes.
Combine the peaches, lemon juice, lemon zest, and 1/3 cup of the sugar in a large bowl and toss well to mix. Set aside for 10 minutes to juice. Preheat the oven to 400° F.
In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch with the remaining 3 tablespoons sugar. Sprinkle this mixture over the fruit and mix well. Stir in the vanilla and nutmeg.
On another sheet of lightly floured waxed paper, roll the remaining pastry into a 12 x 10-inch rectangle. With a pastry wheel or pizza cutter, cut the pastry into 8 lengthwise strips, each 1 inch wide. Turn the filling into the chilled pie shell and smooth the filling with your hands to even it out. Moisten the rim of the shell slightly and dot the filling with the butter. Follow the link above for putting together the lattice top.
Place the pie on the center oven rack and bake for 35 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 375° F and rotate the pie 180 degrees, so that the part that faced the back of the oven now faces forward. Just in case, slide a large aluminum foil-lined baking sheet onto the rack below to catch any spills. Continue to bake until the top is golden brown and any visible juices bubble thickly, 35-45 minutes.
Transfer the pie to a wire rack and let cool for at least 2 hours before serving.