We planted bamboo in our backyard, placing the roots in a thick plastic bag so as to prevent the invasive species from taking over our yard entirely. The roots were then covered with a thick layer of soil and neatly outlined with gray stone bricks. We made a choice: restrict the plant’s natural growth pattern. Watch and see. Wait and wonder. Will it flourish in such restrained, unnatural conditions?
Yes. It reached for the sun, ached for it really. Absorbed the rain like a drunk, waiting patiently for a change of state, until finally, its branches hung heavy with delicate chartreuse leaves. It pushed itself to the very corners of the neat space it inhabited, hoping, I think, to cross the stone barrier and when it realized some things are just not possible, it reached for the moon and sun, Orion and the Big Dipper.
The bamboo tolerated dog piss, little hands shaking and pulling at it, suffocating mounds of snow, branch breaking ice, drought and heavy rains. Many long and relentless days and nights tested the bamboo season after season and yet it stood, reaching higher every day.
Today I watch the bamboo from our kitchen, my view partially obscured by an old air conditioner rattling away, attempting to bring relief to an old house surrounded by more concrete than grass. In the stove, a cherry crumb pie bakes. I can smell cinnamon and vanilla build in the air while the heat from the stove thwarts the cool air blowing from the AC. The kids play outside on the swing set. Red-faced, dirty feet, sticky skin, happy. The dog surveys our small yard, weaving in and around the kids, the toys. [Life’s junk, carried from one place to the next as if it holds value.] Nose to the ground she sniffs the same smells. [Are you hoping for something new, sweet girl?] And the bamboo? The bamboo bends a bit with the wind. It waits patiently, absorbing what it can, not asking too much, quietly preparing for the next growth spurt.
I envy the bamboo.
Cherry Crumb Pie
Pie crust recipe adapted from The Washington Post
Cherry filling recipe adapted from My Baking Addiction
Crumb topping adapted from My Recipes
Ingredients for Pie Crust:
1 + 3/4 cups + 1 tablespoon all-purpose, unbleached flour
1 tablespoon raw sugar
1 + 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean
16 tablespoons unsalted cold butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 of very cold water
Directions for pie crust:
Grab a medium bowl and sift flour into the bowl. Whisk in the sugar, salt, and vanilla bean seeds. Add the butter. Combine butter and flour with your fingers until the butter resembles small peas. Stir in the cold water, a little at a time, until shaggy dough forms. If the dough is too wet, add a bit more dough or if it is too dry add a just spoonful of water. Knead the dough into a ball. Wrap in plastic, refrigerate and allow to rest while you make the cherry pie filling.
Ingredients for cherry pie filling:
5 cups of fresh cherries, washed and pitted
1/2 cup of sugar
1/4 teaspoon of vanilla
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
1/2 cup water
4 tablespoons of cornstarch
Add cherries, sugar, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon to a medium sauce pan. In a small bowl mix together the water and cornstarch to make a slurry. Add the water/cornstarch mixture to the cherries. Stir to combine. Over medium heat, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. **Filling can be made several days ahead. Be sure to store in an air-tight container and refrigerate.**
Ingredients for crumb topping:
1/2 cup or 1 stick unsalted butter
3/4 brown sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
3/4 old fashion oats
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Directions for topping:
Add all of the dry ingredients to a medium bowl and stir together. Next, add the butter. Combine the butter and dry ingredients with your fingers until the mixture resembles wet sand. Set aside or refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to use.
Pie Assembly Time!
Preheat your oven to 350F. While the oven is preheating, flour a work surface. Divide dough in half. Roll out one portion of the dough into a 14-inch round. Place gently in pie plate, pressing into the corners. Trim the excess to 1+1/2 inch overhang. Fold the overhang to the middle to create a 3/4 inch border all around that sits on the rim of the pie plate. Refrigerate the pie crust for 20 minutes before proceeding. (While the pie crust is chilling wrap the second portion in plastic wrap and refrigerate for another use. Clean up a bit and before you know it the crust will be ready!)
Add filling to pie and spread evenly. Top cherry filling evenly with crumb topping. Brush a bit of heavy cream on the border of the pie crust. Place the pie in the oven on the middle rack and bake until golden brown and bubbling, about 50-60 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack. Serve with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream or as is. Enjoy!
**Pie can be kept at room temperature lightly wrapped in aluminum foil for a couple of days but I doubt it will last that long.**
5 Must Try Pie Links
Take advantage of peach season and make my peach ricotta pudding pie.
If a pie feels like too much work, try Whole Hearted Eats dark fruit galette.
Fall is just around the corner and I can’t wait to make Pastry Affair’s caramel apple crumble pie. Yum!