Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Does the warm weather bring back childhood memories for you? You know the kind… each complete with sounds and aromas. Some of my best are from my days spent at the Ogg Family Farm. Three generations of my family, starting with Napoleon Bonepart Ogg, created a perfect place for me to spend some very important moments of my childhood. The aromas from the old farm house will always be with me; fresh baked biscuits, great big hams from their own smokehouse, pies cooling on the screened-in back porch. I have held that porch in my heart all these years. Not just for the pies (even though they do occupy a place my heart!) but the whole porch. The screen part came down halfway, the lower half being white clapboard. In the winter, the screen was covered on the inside with opaque plastic-like material. As the breeze pushed against the plastic, it would snap and pop, blowing inward as far as it could go. As the breeze subsided, it would ease back to rest against the wire screen and wait for the next gust.

There was a wonderful screen door leading out to the backyard. It was old, made of wood with two large sections of screen. There were no pneumatic door closers way back then….instead there was a long spring that made the door close with a whoosh and a gentle snap. I loved that door.

So, how about those pies? There they were, cooling on a oil cloth covered table there on the porch. I’d stand there and inhale the fruity aromas…..cherry, apple, peach and ahhhh…..PEAR!
Where is a fork when you need one?

Ray County Pear Pie

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup cold vegetable shortening, in tablespoons
1/2 cup ice water
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
8 firm Bartlett or Anjou pears-peeled, cored and sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small bits
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

1. MAKE THE CRUST: In a large bowl, mix the flour with the salt. Cut in the shortening until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle on the ice water and mix lightly with a fork. Gently knead the dough until it just comes together. Cut the dough in half and flatten each piece into a disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
2. MAKE THE FILLING: Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, cinnamon and cloves. Add the pears and toss to coat.
3. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out 1 disk of dough to an 11 1/2-inch round. Fit the dough into a 10-inch aluminum pie pan without stretching. Roll out the second disk of dough to an 11-inch round. Transfer the pear filling to the pie pan and arrange the slices so there are no gaps. Dot the pears with the butter. Cover the pie with the top crust and press all around the edge to seal. Trim any overhang and crimp the edge decoratively.
4. MAKE THE MILK GLAZE: In a bowl, mix the milk, sugar and butter and brush this glaze over the pie. With a small knife, make 5 evenly spaced slits in the top crust.
5. Bake the pie for 1 hour and 50 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the filling begins to bubble through the vents. Let the pie cool on a rack, about 3 hours. Serve warm or at room temperature.
The Somerset Ridge Painters
back row, left to right
Majo, JoAnne Carlton,
Ada Koch, Kristin Goering,
Vicki Johnston, Winnie Davis
front row, left  to right:
Audrey Benskin, Kay Tucker, Patsy Brown
 I’ll be spending some time at the vineyard with the Somerset Ridge Painters Show on May 12th and the 4th Annual Art in the Vines the weekend of June 9th and 10th. Please join us for a wonderful day!

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