Sometimes, I want to do things that make no sense. For the last week, I have longed to bake the perfect peach and blueberry pie. The thought started as we drove past The Big Apple in Colborne, Ontario, and refuses to go away. I can smell it. I can taste it.
I want to re-create a pie from my past. I don’t know where I bought it, but it was somewhere north and west of Acton, Ontario. We took the car out for a ride in the country and just wandered around, looking at things, for no reason other than that the weather was good and we had the battery all charged up. So, by that logic, it was probably within 200 kilometres of my old house and generally in that direction.
It was sweet and tart at the same time. It tasted like the perfect summer day. I have never had a pie like it since that day. The peaches came from their orchard, the berries from the bushes along the side of the property. It had a lattice top, with a tiny amount of sugar crystals crusted on it. There was an herb from the garden that I never finished identifying in the custard, because we ate the whole thing. Fast. I don’t even want desserts normally, but that pie was otherworldly.
So, that’s what I want to bake. It’s a ridiculous desire, because:
- I don’t have a knack for making pastry, so that crust is going to be a challenge. My grandmother and my aunt were masters of bread and pies, and my efforts in those domains border on the comedic;
- Any pie I make is probably too much for two people. I need guests to help me eat it… and probably a place to hide six or seven failed attempts;
- Most of my home is packed into boxes getting ready for a move, so I’d never be able to find everything I need; and
- While I do want to taste that pie again, what I really want to do is serve it to other people in a small restaurant of my own.
This is where we get into the tangled, difficult part of my brain. I would really enjoy having a tiny restaurant that served maybe six tables at a time. It would not have a menu. If you turned up at my place for a meal, you were going to eat what I was serving. So, if lunch was homemade pea soup with ham served with a grilled cheese sandwich… that was what you were going to eat. No special orders. No substitutions. There would be a lunch service and a dinner service, maybe three or four days a week. That’s all. Just enough for me to get the urge to serve food to other people out of my system. The odds of me even breaking even financially are slim to none. I think this pie was going to be part of a tea service at mid-afternoon. On the porch. Possibly with homemade basil lemonade. Obviously not in the current winter weather, so I suppose it’s a summertime tea service. It needs to be hot enough that the bees are drifting around the lavender plants lazily instead of with great industry. (Why are there bees? I guess you haven’t been following this pointless blog. Bees are a thing. They recur, now and again.)
I guess this is what happens when you don’t have children of your own. I haven’t had time to get fed up of my kids refusing to eat my Moroccan lamb stew because meat and fruit shouldn’t be in the same dish or turning their noses up at lasagna where it is 23 ingredients all touching each other instead of being separated by an inch of white space on their plates (“Could we please have buttered pasta instead?”). I just have poor Michael to cook for, and let’s be honest… there are some things that if you cook for two, you end up eating a lot more of (and a lot longer) than you planned for.
So, here I sit, with no pie and no plan.
Here’s a link to someone else’s peach and blueberry pie. Vera’s pie is like the one we had, in that it has custard. It does not have a lattice crust on top. At this point, you can now sit there, staring at your screen, vaguely frustrated that this post didn’t go anywhere in particular.
Sometimes, life is like that. Stop staring at this screen and go find some pie.