Editor’s note: This is a guest post by friend and fellow blogger Ellen Clifford who blogs about her food adventures here at Scrumptious Gruel. She is so free and creative in the kitchen, and, no matter the outcome, always infuses what she makes with love.
Even if cooking from the heart doesn’t feed your soul, I believe her words will resonate with you as well, so drop a line in the comments and join in on the conversation!
What’s better than pie?
Or at least the illusion of two. Or maybe I am just into taking mirror pictures, you make the call.
Either which way, I made this pie with a secret ingredient.
You are either nodding your head in agreement or cringing at the cheese-tastic nature of that statement. I suggest you read on in either case.
Cooking with love makes magic.
I have no scientific proof of this. I only know that there has to be some reason that food made for you by someone else tastes better than a technically exquisite meal in a fancy-smancy restaurant with no soul.
Of course, loving to cook makes it much easier to cook with love.
As I said, I have no scientific proof of this, but I have an expert opinion for you. Anthony Bourdain states his opinion on the topic in this interview on the WTF podcast. He talks about how a cook needs to be a romantic, needs to be someone who understands “pleasure and making other people happy”. How a chef can be amazingly skilled, but lack heart.
If there is any food that I think best symbolizes love, it has to be a pie.
Be it sweet or savory, baking pie from scratch takes time and care. You have to put a little muscle into rolling out the crust, chopping fruit…or if you are making cherry pie, opening that jar of cherries.
My favorite and most asked for pie is my apple-cranberry-streusel, a recipe I have made and finessed for many years now.
Granted, my pie has a secret ingredient. The real secret though is the thought and care I put into it. I think about the people I will be serving it too. I make it for Thanksgiving every year so I also think how grateful I am to have people in my life I want to serve pie to. I made it this New Year’s Eve and thought how lucky I was that friends were coming to my place for a party.
Next time you cook something, take the time to put some love into it. You can even do this when cooking for yourself. You deserve a little love, too.
For the crust, I make a shortening based crust; you can find the recipe here. I know there are butter crust people and shortening crust people, so follow your heart on this one.
3 to 4 apples
3 cups cranberries
¼ cup flour
3/4-1 1/4 cups of sugar
½ tsp. nutmeg
Heaping 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup flour
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup butter
Preheat oven to 425.
For the filling, chop up about three or four apples, sprinkling with some citrus juice as you go. I like a mix of granny smith and braeburn. Rinse three cups of cranberries and add to apples. Stir in ¼ cup of flour, ¾-1 1/4 cup of sugar, ½ teaspoon each of nutmeg and cinnamon, and a dash of salt. Pour into the unbaked pie crust. Then mix ½ cup of brown sugar and 1 cup flour. Cut in butter roughly to make a pebbly streusel. Distribute over pie. Put in oven and keep an eye on it. At some point the streusel and crust are going to be brown but your filling will not be done yet. At this point you place aluminum foil over the pie. You’ll need to bake it approximately 50 minutes all total.
The action shot. Sub-par lighting due to me almost forgetting I needed another picture, until I was lying in bed eating the last of the pie. Yeah, I eat in bed.
Ellen Clifford is a Los Angeles based actor, dancer, sometime-contortionist, and proud author of Scrumptious Gruel, a food blog. You can check out what she’s up to in the acting world at www.ellenclifford.com and read about the gruel at www.scrumptiousgruel.wordpress.com.