There’s Always Time for Apple Pie

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The ugliest, most perfect pie ever

There’s Always Time for Apple Pie

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I love to bake. Like really, really love to bake.

I’ve made stunning 4-tier wedding cakes, perfectly iced in homemade buttercream; cakes which took days to bake, ice, assemble and decorate.

It was nothing for me to crank out 4 loaves of bread from scratch on any old Saturday morning, or whip up a few dozen cinnamon twists to send to work with my hubs for his crew.

I LIVED for brioche, trying every recipe I could find until I finally made the perfect, airy loaf. (I’m pretty sure this is the exact brioche Marie Antoinette was talking about.)

I used to be one hell of a baker.

Until I had a baby, that is.

These days, I feel good when I get a box cake made on time for a birthday in our household, and even better if I actually remember the candles!

So when my sister stopped by with a dozen gorgeous red apples, fresh off their tree a few days ago, I was inspired. I just HAD to bake something. Something GOOD.

“Hank!” I said. “Let’s bake a pie!”

Now, friends, this is NOT what a perfect apple pie is supposed to look like. Not even close.

What it does look like, is exactly what it is: a pie a toddler baked.

Old Me would never have stood for it. Old Me would have thrown out the torn-up, over-worked pastry that sat in our fridge two days longer than it should have, and made fresh. She would have rolled it and lined that pie plate smoothly and evenly, then pinched perfectly-even flutes all around the edges to seal the top.

Today though, for the first time ever, I had a helper. And Hank wanted to do it ALL. He wanted to roll the crust out with the big huge rolling pin. And mix the ingredients. And peel the apples with that fun old crank peeler his great-grandma gave us. He wanted to do all of it.

All. By. Himself.

So, you know what I did?

I let him!

I’m NOT that perfect baker I used to be–I just can’t be. I’m way too busy being mom. (And that’s even better.)

When that sweet two-year-old woke up early from his nap today, we spent that extra hour making the ugliest apple pie I have ever made.

It may be the ugliest pie I’ve made, but it is the pie I’m proudest of.

(And it tasted far sweeter than any of the pretty ones ever did.)

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Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp, and Other Summer Sweetness

 

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This weekend just felt like summer.

The sun shined down on us through big white clouds, and every corner of the farm was lush, green, and happy.

We played catch in the backyard, ate lunch on the deck, and kicked back in our Adirondack chairs on the porch while Hank blew a gazillion bubbles on the lawn.

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All the strawberries I planted last summer went crazy this past week, so when my mama-in-law brought over a big fresh-cut bundle of rhubarb, I knew I needed to whip something up to ring in the sweetness of summertime. We had a big bucket of vanilla ice cream to break out too, so a strawberry rhubarb crisp sounded like just the right mix of tart and sweet.

(Kind-of like my rhubarb-loving hubs and myself–the perfect blend of tart and sweet!)

Unlike many of my home-grown recipe experiments, this one turned out beautifully! Not only is this recipe quick and easy, this crisp is good enough to share! Heat it up and serve with ice cream or eat it right out of the pan.

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Here’s my recipe:

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

Prep time: 20 minutes

Bake time: 50 minutes

Servings: 6

Ingredients:

3 cups rhubarb, cut into 1/2″ pieces
1 cup fresh cut strawberries
1 3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup flour
1 t cinnamon
3/4 t nutmeg
1/2 cup oats
1 stick butter (or margarine)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F.
Pour 1/2 cup sugar over rhubarb in medium bowl, stir to cover. (Let sit while making crumble for crisp topping.)
Mix remaining sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir in oats.
Mix in softened butter (or margarine) until crumbly.
Pour rhubarb into 8″ x 8″ pan.
Pour strawberries over rhubarb.
Cover with crumble.

Bake 50 minutes or until fruit is bubbly and topping is golden brown.

Serve with ice cream, whipped cream, or great by itself!

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May your summer be full of sweetness, too, and just the right touch of tart to keep it interesting!