Live and let Pie
Happy Pie Day everyone. Man am I glad I got to baking early because things have gotten…well to say “hectic” would be an understatement.
Actually I’m kind of a mess right now.
I messed up something at work. I’m freaking out about some family stresses. I’ve got pressure on me to do things that I shouldn’t even be doing. I just want to curl up and cry. So instead of course, I pulled out a rolling pin, got to sweating and baked some pie. After all as the song says “Baby don’t you cry, gonna bake a pie, gonna bake a pie with a heart in the middle. Baby don’t be blue, gonna bake for you, gonna bake a pie with a heart in the middle.” Waitress has become my go-to movie for when I really need a good cry and for pie day so it kind of works on both fronts today.
What I really need is for those close to me to cut me some slack if I need it. I have a tendency to withdraw when I’m overwhelmed. It’s an INFJ personality trait and it’s a seriously important defense mechanism for me. I’ll often do things that make no sense to those who don’t “get it” – like how can you find time to bake if you claim to be so busy? Well for one thing this replaced my sleeping and for another it’s a sort of active meditation for me. Plus I can multitask in the kitchen and listen to lectures (oh yeah did I mention I’m back in school on top of the million other things I’m doing) while I keep my hands moving. It’s also a solitary activity which is what I need when I’m freaking out and all up in my head. For some people talking things out is what helps. It doesn’t help me. I need to be left alone, to develop an action plan and work out my problems on my own.
Part of this is because the time it would take to explain what’s going on would be extensive. Simply spending 15 minutes having to explain the backstory of why something is the way it is, and then answering the subsequent questions, just adds to my anxiety. When I’m up against the wall the thing I usually want most is time and I don’t feel like I have any to waste. Plus the questions are usually extremely frustrating because unless you’ve actually lived through it all, usually there’s just no way to really impart an understanding of why something is upsetting me so much—especially when I’m dealing with messier and complicated problems like family. (To clarify there aren’t any emergencies with mia familia. Just some added stress I don’t need which would, under best circumstances, be annoying but at the moment making me flip the fuck out. I realize I’m over reacting about it and that’s the important thing.)
I’ve never claimed to be an easy person to get along with. I know that I’ll snap if I try to socialize when I’m like this so instead I just pull back completely. It’s better for my friendships in the long run. I just wish people could understand that. There’s a hard outer shell I provide to the world and then a squishy, soft interior but underneath that is a third shell just like the outer, surface layer. Like with pie. Tightly wound people like me are never going to stop being crazy—but what makes me the sort of person who can manage it is that I recognize when it’s happening and take steps to minimize the outfall. So instead of flipping out at people for seemingly no reason, I can temper the storm until it passes. Much easier to evacuate than clean up damage after the earthquake you see?
I really want the world to stop trying to change me. I hear “hey you need to learn to relax and take it easy” way too much. No, not just friends, but from every corner of every media out there. I swear I think there’s a billboard nearby about smelling the roses. Well I love rose, and I will stop to appreciate a flower when I have the time, but I’m not going to turn off this hyperdrive I’ve got. It’s just not in my DNA. I don’t do the standing still thing very well…unless I’m on a yoga mat. And even then, the reason I can handle the slowness of meditation in Bikram is because it’s the punctuation to a very active form of yoga. While I want to learn how to better manage my stress, because hey no one wants to feel like they are on the verge of having an Alice in Wonderland – drown in your own tears – kind of moment, I also don’t feel a need to radically change myself either. Don’t worry, my blood pressure can handle it. Sometimes I think I’m hardwired this way because I physically need it. When my bp is regularly 95/50 I have to think that without any stress in my life I’d wind up dead!
I want to be understood and in kind I’ll do my best to adapt to the styles of others. I want to be trusted to handle my own concerns as I see fit. I want to get the sense of accomplishment that comes from defeating these troubles when I’m confronted with them.
But mostly right now I just want some pie. I call this a triple apple pie because in addition to the apples I use apple butter and an apple whisky I love for baking and cocktails. Both ingredients are optional—though both make the flavor incredible so I wouldn’t recommend leaving it out. IF you can’t find apple butter just increase your sugar by ¼ a cup. If you can’t find the apple whisky…well you can instead try 2 tsp of a standard whisky with 1 tsp of apple cider.
Triple Apple Pie
An Olivia Original
- 1 recipe double pie crust
- 6 large (LARGE) apples, peeled and cored (I use a mix of pink lady and granny smith)
- ¼ cup apple butter
- 2 Tbsp cold, diced butter
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp tapioca flour
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 Tbsp Apfelkorn or Applejack Whisky (german apple whisky – optional)
- 2 Tbsp wheat bran
Prep a deep dish 9inch pie plate and partially prebake your bottom layer of crust. Remove and let cool.
Pre-heat the oven for the pie to 400F
Peel, core and slice the apples. Cover with water until ready to use to prevent browning.
In a large bowl toss the apple pieces with the sugar, tapioca, apple butter, apfelkorn (or other apple whisky) cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Let these sit for a few minutes and then strain out the excess liquid but don’t toss it. Just set it aside separately.
Meanwhile sprinkle the wheat bran over the base of your crust. This soaks up extra juices and keeps the crust bottom from getting too soggy during baking. (I prefer the wheat bran because I like the flavor it gives to the pie. I originally got the idea from Dorie Greenspan who uses graham cracker crumbs.)
Dump the apple mixture over the crust, occasionally dotting in between with pieces of cold butter and drizzle over the juices.
Lay out your top crust. Gently brush with some butter or milk/sugar if you like. Be sure to include some sliced vents for baking. If you lay out numbers like I did you won’t need to add any vents as gaps in the spacing will let out steam.
Bake the pie for 15 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F, and bake the pie for another 60 minutes. The pie should start to bubble. If the top crust looks as if it’s browning too quickly, cover the pie loosely with a foil tent.
Transfer the pie to a rack and let it rest.