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Fall and the Pears of Perpetual Hardness

October 26, 2015

Raking is part of living in the northeast. Yes, you could pay someone to do it for you. But that’s cheating. That’s like paying someone to plow your driveway. When you sign on to living with four intense seasons, you’ve got to own it.

Or maybe that’s just the crazy talking.

After all, if it weren’t for Mrs. Fussy and her insistence on having a non-shaggy lawn, I would still be pushing my manual fly-wheel mower over the grass. I loved the peace and quiet of the thing, but the electric mower massively outperforms the mechanical dinosaur.

At least when winter comes, I can still shovel us out with an honest to goodness shovel instead of some monstrous snow-eating machine.

None of which means I have to be happy about any of it.

So Saturday was my first big rake of the year, and I’m still sore. Since I spent most of my life in Florida and California, it’s very likely I’m just doing it wrong. I don’t know anything about leaves. But I do know that I hate my leaf blower/leaf hog vacuum thing. One man. One rake. That was my plan.

The kids wanted to jump into the leaves, but I just didn’t have the patience this weekend for their “help”. Besides, who would play the video games if everyone was outside?

All of this is to say, that without a doubt, fall is here and it’s here in earnest.

We’ve roasted our first batch of winter squash. Pumpkins have been carved. We’ve made a meaningful dent in the two bags of apples picked just over a week ago. The Cameos are holding up nicely. The Golden Delicious, maybe not so much.

The fading texture of apples is a minor tragedy. Man, there is nothing better than the crunch and snap that comes from an apple right off the tree. But over time, even with the best storage techniques, they soften and become mealy.

On the flip side, we got a bag of Bosc pears from our CSA two weeks ago and they are still hard as rocks.

Cooking will be the solution. Cooking solves almost any problem. It does. Cold? Cook. Hungry? Cook. Sad? Cook. Angry? Cook. Lonely? Cook. Stressed? Cook. So dealing with imperfect produce is a piece of cake.

Or maybe pie.

There’s a stupid easy recipe I learned last year about how to make a pie crust in the pan. No rolling. And that suits me quite well, since I hate making a mess of flour in the kitchen. And I’m not so great about cleaning the counters in the first place, so they don’t really make the best work surfaces. That’s why God created cooking boards.

Anyway, it’s just 2 cups of AP flour blended with 1.25 teaspoons of salt. Put the dry mixture in the pan and form a well. In a liquid measuring cup, pour 2/3 cup of oil and whisk in 3 tablespoons of cold milk. Gently mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, being careful not to overwork the dough. And then pat it into the pan. It should be enough to fill two 9 inch pie pans (with some left over for a crusty crumb topping).

The sliced fruit is tossed with sugar and spices. The pans are filled. The tops are dotted with butter, and some of the leftover crust bits. Then they are baked in a 450 oven for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes reduce heat to 350 and bake until done. That’s 35-45 minutes.

Now this may not win you any pie baking contests, unless you’re entering the easiest-freakin’-pie-from-scratch contest. And in that case, this should totally win you the blue ribbon. But you’ll have to hand the prize over to my friend L.B. who taught me this technique in the first place.

How are golden delicious apples in a pie? Probably not as good as Northern Spies or any of the other classic pie apples. But I guarantee, this pie will be better than any apple sauce we could make with those suckers, and it’s definitely going to better than eating them out of hand.

And the recipe works with hard-ass pears too.

Ooh. I really need to get myself some sour cream. Because vanilla ice cream on pie is for children. A thick, silky sour cream with all of its balancing acidity is what adults who know better put on their desserts. And even though it may be gilding the lily, you could probably even spike it with bourbon and maple syrup to give it that extra toasty flavor of fall.

Now all I have to do is dig through the garage for my pie plates, and hope that Mrs. Fussy didn’t decide to give them away when I wasn’t looking.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Dave permalink
    October 26, 2015 9:44 am

    Get a juicer. I didn’t ever thing I would say something like that… It is a decent way to deal with excess produce/fruit.

    Also, I am becoming a proponent of small volume home brewing. Get a glass gallon jug, an airlock, yeast and a rubber stopper. I juiced about a half-bushel of excess apples (we always pick way too many) and the gallon of juice is now happily bubbling away. You could easily do perry or some sort of cider/perry hybrid.

  2. October 27, 2015 3:48 pm

    Poached pears.

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