It has been a difficult week. We have been negotiating for a house and property we very much want. It seems that every time we reach an agreement on one issue with the seller, like the heads of Hydra two more issues arise. And in the midst of that we lost a very dear little fur friend. He had an important role in the Judge family, and his death has left a hole.
|Henry misses his friend.|
Tonight, after dinner, Matthew said, "I would really like some pie."
Suddenly, I was picturing the layers of a shoo fly pie. I haven't made one in seven years, but in my mind I saw the sticky pudding layer and the layer like gingerbread topped with a crumbly, streusel layer. I did a mental check of the pantry. I had everything I needed - molasses, butter, brown sugar. I even had a pre-made pie crust in the fridge (don't judge). I jumped up, grabbed my pink mixing bowls, started to break up butter in sugar and flour until it formed course crumbs.
I was first introduced to shoo fly pie in Lois Lenski's Shoo Fly Girl. Strawberry Girl may be the Newbery winner, but for me it couldn't compare to the story of the sincere little Amish girl. I loved the book so much, I begged my mom to make me a shoo fly pie. The hands-on mom that she is, she was pulling one out of the oven not long after that. I'm not sure what I expected, but it certainly wasn't the dark, mostly unfamiliar flavor of molasses. Disappointed, I finished just one piece.
It wasn't until years later that I made my own shoo fly pie. It is one of the first things I remember making all on my own - just because I felt like it By this point, I loved molasses, and this time it did not disappoint.
When we were in college, lonely and tired of trying to figure out how to be adults, Rebekah quietly said to me, "I would love some shoo fly pie right now."
My jaw dropped. First, because I never knew Rebekah loved shoo fly pie, and I thought I knew everything about my little sister. Second, because with startling clarity, I realized I too wanted that simple, comfortable pie.
Tonight I baked one for Matthew and me. While the warm scent of it filled the kitchen I listed to Beethoven's Seventh and felt strongly. Not a simple, easy to pin-point feeling. But the whole kaleidoscope of feelings that comes from living a full life and baking a pie that has a plethora of memories mixed in with the sugar and cinnamon.
I am sad at the death of a sweet dog.
I am happy as I bake pie and listen to Matthew in the other room busy with his lizards.
I am nervous that we might get this house. Nervous that we might not.
I am lonely for my family still as far away as they were when I was at college. Only now Rebekah is further away too.
I am in love with the man in the room with the lizards.
And I am grateful. Grateful for my memories and the rich life I have now.
Not everyone likes molasses. I get that. But if you haven't had shoo fly pie, give it a try. If nothing else, it will make your house smell like the safest place in the world.
Shoo Fly Pie
1 9" inch pie crust
1 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon cloves
3/4 cup corn syrup
3/4 cup hot water
1 well beaten egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
Preheat the oven to 400. Line a 9 inch pie pan with crust. Mix all the crumb ingredients together until rough crumbs form. Set aside. Combine corn syrup and hot water, then stir in remaining ingredients. Place a third of the crumbs in the pie crust. Pour half the syrup on top of the crumbs. Layer another third of the crumbs, followed by the remaining syrup. Top evenly with remaining crumbs. Bake at 400 for 20 -25 minutes.