It’s quiet now.
We’ve eaten our way through a ridiculous amount of sugary fattening things we attempt to avoid religiously the rest of the year, and had a marvelous feast on top of that, which included homemade apple pie.
All Okay, fine, most of the mess has been cleaned up, the washing machine is humming its way through the spin cycle, and my son is lying quietly beside me. Our small Christmas is almost done.
This year, my two younger sisters’ families joined us for Christmas Eve, which doesn’t sound like anything noteworthy until I point out that this has never happened during our adult lives. Our children were all together for the first time yesterday (the oldest cousins are nearly twenty). As they sat on the patio making ornaments, laughing like they hung out all the time, and getting to know each other better, the adults just smiled: this was the epitome of Christmas.
The best part of Christmas was not the giving and receiving of gifts, although that was truly wonderful. The best part was the togetherness. The precious fleeting time with children, my sisters, and their families. Some people measure the value of their Christmas in the tangible worth of what they spend or what others spend on them. Giving and receiving gifts is an important way to show love and appreciation to those one cares for, but for me, the holidays are best measured in the making of a good apple pie, because…
…a good Christmas is like good apple pie:
It’s deceptively small, but incredibly deep. Its ingredients are humble; its construction nothing special, except for the cooperation of the team of hands that make it. It comes from a decades-old handwritten recipe. It requires some effort to make, and there’s gonna be a mess to clean up. When you try to fancy it up with a bunch of weird Pinterest-y add-ins, it won’t turn out right. It’s full of things good for you and good to you, and it warms you down deep. To make it, you need thoughtfulness, hard work, attention, help, and good timing. And, an incredible amount of patience.
My gift to you, dear readers, is this simple recipe for apple pie that was my grandmother’s, and this secret: it doesn’t come out right unless children you love measure the ingredients, help peel the apples, and stir the sauce. Happy holidays, love rodalena
Pre-heat the oven to 350. Turn on Celtic Women singing “Carol of the Bells.”
2 refrigerated pie crusts (It’s okay. Those things are nearly as good as you can make yourself, and allow more time for building Star Wars Lego sets with young boys.)
1 egg white
1/2 C unsalted butter
3 T flour
1/4 C water
1/2 C granulated sugar
1/2 C brown sugar, packed
8 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced.
Melt butter in a pan; add flour to form a paste. Stir in water and sugars, bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Place bottom crust in pie pan; brush with egg white and then fill with apples. Add 2/3 butter mixture then top pie with second crust (making sure to have cut pretty decorative holes for venting steam). Pour the rest of the butter mixture carefully over the top of the pie. Bake on the bottom rack for 45 minutes.
Yeah. 45 minutes. It’s almost worse than waiting for Santa to arrive. But, like a simple family Christmas, it’s so worth it.