Tuesday, January 25, 2011


"Between the wish and the thing life lies waiting."

In those moments I know I'm deliberately procrastinating I inevitably end up of thinking about a novel I read years ago titled Waiting by Ha Jin. I can't remember the details of the book, only that it was about a Chinese doctor who waited nearly two decades for the courts to grant him a divorce so he could swap out the old-fashioned wife his family chose for him for his more modern girlfriend, a nurse at the Army hospital he worked at. Mostly I remember feeling frustrated with the characters, the plot, and the book in general. I thought it was a waste of my time, yet the book stuck with me. Maybe because waiting is something I've been guilty of... a deliberate inaction, a life lived in suspension. In truth we are all waiting. Waiting for something to happen. Waiting for things to change. Waiting for life to begin. Waiting for the perfect moment. Only there's never a perfect moment, just life. We believe that if we wait long enough things will be different or rather we'll be different. But that's never the case, is it? The only thing that's changed is the year and all the missing days in between. Days we could have been living. Days of just being.

There are some things worth waiting for, like pie for instance. The time it takes for you to make the dough, the filling, and to bake. Or the time it takes to set, chill, and serve. I say if you're going to take the time to bake something, do it well and be in the moment. Enjoy the process. It'll be worth the wait. The Shakers knew a good thing was worth waiting for, especially lemon pie.

Shaker Lemon Pie
2 large lemons, preferably Meyers
2 cups sugar
1/4 tsp salt
4 eggs, beaten well
4 tbsp butter, melted
3 tbsp all-purpose flour

1 egg white
Coarse sugar, for sprinkling
  1. Wash the lemons, then dry with paper towel. Finely grate lemon zest into a bowl. Slice lemons as paper thin as possible; remove and discard seeds. Add slices to zest, then toss with sugar and salt. Cover and set aside at room temperature for 24 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 425° F. Roll out half the dough 1/8-inch thick on plastic or a lightly floured surface. Fit into a 9-inch pie plate, trim for a 1/2-inch overhang.
  3. Mix the macerated lemon-sugar mixture with eggs, melted butter and flour until well combined. Pour into prepared pie shell.
  4. Roll out remaining dough into a 12-inch round, drape over the filling, trim to leave a 1-inch overhang. Fold the overhang under the bottom crust, fluting the edge to seal it. Beat one egg white until frothy and brush over pie crust, then sprinkle with coarse sugar. Cut steam vents into the top crust, and bake pie in the middle of the oven for 25 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 350° F and bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, or until the crust is golden. Let the pie cool on a rack and serve at room temperature.

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