Sunday, February 28, 2010

Big ol' slice of persimmon pie

My sister lives in Kentucky on a farm where they have planted lots of nut and fruit trees. Last summer the Paw Paw trees came into their own and she froze bags and bags of pulp. They are good for smoothies apparently but she has a freezer full, prompting her to look for recipes. She found one for Paw Paw Chiffon Pie, which turns out to be pretty good.

She visited this weekend and we made one of the famous pies, a reprise of one she introduced at Thanksgiving last year to wide acclaim.

Her persimmon trees are also doing well and she left us with a thawing bag of persimmon pulp. We didn't want to refreeze it, so Andy whipped up one of his famous flaky crusts and turned the persimmon loose on the same chiffon pie recipe used for the Paw Paw.

Another good effort. Delicious. Here's a link to the Kentucky State University Web site, which provides many other Paw Paw recipes should you be so richly blessed.

Here's the chiffon recipe:

Pawpaw Chiffon Pie 
  • 1½ Tbsp. gelatin
  • ¼ c. cold water
  • ½ c. sugar, brown or white
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 3 egg yolks, beaten
  • ½ c. milk
  • 1 c. pureed pawpaw pulp
  • 3 egg whites
  • ¼ c. white sugar
  • 1 c. heavy cream, whipped
  • 1 baked 9-inch pastry shell
Soften gelatin in cold water. Combine the ½ c. sugar with the salt, egg yolks, and milk in the top of a double boiler. Cook over boiling water, stirring constantly, until mixture coats a spoon. Remove from heat and stir in softened gelatin and pawpaw puree. Chill until a spoonful holds its shape (about half an hour). Beat the egg whites stiff with ¼ c. of white sugar. Fold egg whites and half of the whipped cream into the filling. Pour into the baked pastry shell. Spread remaining whipped cream on top of pie. Serves 6 to 8.
Note: Graham cracker crust may be used instead of the pastry shell.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Turning the corner

It's been a difficult year but things are looking up. First, I went out to fill the bird feeders this afternoon and a warm, comforting sun shone down. Patches of snow had melted to reveal brown grass. Green shoots broke the soil, although barely perceptibly.  An enticing earthy smell filled the air.

We started 2009 with three Labrador retrievers but ended it with just one, the 5-year-old baby, Banjo. I knew my old friend Carlos wasn't likely to make it through the year, but  I expected to have dear sweet 9-year-old Lucy as a companion for a while longer. Some bizarre event sent her digestive system into complete collapse. Her pancreas ripped apart and she died at the vet clinic on Christmas. Banjo and I both have been mourning her all winter.

Banjo is a good watch dog - when he chooses to be - but he doesn't have the intense protective instinct that his elders did. I guess he never had to, because they were always in charge. So, with spring's arrival I hope to also acquire a protective female. She'll provide the Banj some much-needed company and help keep us safe.

Getting a puppy, however, means I need to get better. Last summer I developed a pinched nerve in my cervical spine which became so extreme that I quit my job. My insurance company recommended Rush Hospital for spine surgery and I met a terrific surgeon there who gives surgery a 90% chance of improving my pain and numbness. I'm looking forward to getting back to work, training a puppy, and even gardening later in the summer.