I’ve always said if you want to know what’s going on in my life, observe what’s going on in my kitchen. My girlfriends used to say they knew how my love life was going just by tasting the pies I baked. Dark chocolate and berries meant heartache while ginger apple or peach meant happiness. For me, every feeling and life event has a flavor. Some are happy like My Best Friend Got into Harvard Pie. Some aren’t like He Stood Me up on the 4th of July Pie. Some are more mundane like the recipe I’m about to share with you.
So of course I loved Adrienne Shelly’s 2007 film, Waitress. The story centers around a woman named Jenna Hunterson who bakes whatever she’s feeling into a pie. Though the details of our lives are very different, I found it easy to identify with this character because of the way she expresses herself through baked goods.
Some of her creations include “Pregnant Miserable Self-Pitying Loser Pie, lumpy oatmeal with fruitcake mashed in. Flambéed of course.” “I Hate My Husband Pie, you make it with bittersweet chocolate and don’t sweeten it.” “Earl Murders Me Because I’m Havin’ an Affair Pie, you smash blackberries and raspberries into a chocolate crust.” “I Can’t Have No Affair Because It’s Wrong and I Don’t Want Earl to Kill Me Pie, vanilla custard with banana. Hold the banana. . . ” “Baby Screamin’ Its Head off in the Middle of the Night and Ruinin’ My Life Pie, New York-style cheesecake brandy brushed and topped with pecans and nutmeg.”
In the film, a friend of Jenna’s offers her words of encouragement about her career. “You don’t even know what you are deep inside. You’re not just some little waitress. Make the right choice. Start fresh.” Replace the word waitress with actress or housewife and there I am. Another woman baking her feelings into pie and working on recreating herself so she can emerge a different butterfly. Or maybe a bat.
Recently it’s been so damn cold I’ve felt like Imma die if I don’t have some pie. So that’s what this recipe is: It’s so Cold Imma Die if I Don’t Have Some Pie Pie.
3 bramleys, 2 cox apples, 4 bosc pears, and 6 Jerusalem figs. It’s not a combination I’d usually put together but it’s what I had in my fruit bowl. So it’s what I used as I really didn’t want to leave the flat. Luckily, I also had some pâté brisée in the fridge because that’s just the sort woman I am. I peeled and sliced the apples and pears, cut the figs into thin rounds, added 3/4 cup of sugar, some butter, and a squeeze of lemon juice before adding a palimpsest of pastry hearts for a top crust. I brushed the pie with heavy cream and sprinkled it with demerara sugar before baking. Halfway through, I poured the liquid out of my pie. I put it in a pot and reduced it down to a syrup that I then poured over the pie. I finished baking it until it was golden and the top slightly glazed with my caramel fruit syrup. I ate it while it was still hot and washed it down with a strong cup of tea. And guess what? I lived. But only because of this pie.
*I feel the need to add this link to the Adrienne Shelly Foundation. She was the writer/director of Waitress and this NPO honors her memory by supporting women filmmakers. http://adrienneshellyfoundation.org/