Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Every Detail: Christmas Pie

Don't worry about anything;instead, pray about everything. Tell God every detail, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand." Philippians 4:6-7

This Christmas has been a difficult one as my sweet daddy is spending his last days with those who love him here on this earth. Recently, missing him, I went into his home office and looked around for pieces of my dad that I could cling to. On his desk were several things in his handwriting. One was the above verse. It brings me comfort and guidance for these days. My dad lived this in his life and is living it as he leaves us.

For the past 30 or so years my mom has made Christmas Pie for our family feast on the day we celebrate the birth of Christ. My dad always loved it and would look forward to that first bite. "Mmmm, Mmmmm, how sweet it is," he'd often say. "Mary, you've done it again." One year, rather than a cake on his May birthday, he asked for Christmas pie.

This year, with my mother spending her time by his bedside and with my hope to preserve some of the familiar traditions of our family, I made the Christmas pie. It wasn't the same, partly because my taste buds are dulled by sadness and grief but also because I forgot to ask my mom about every detail. It was still tasty and my family was kind enough to be enthusiastic about it. Mom shared her tips and next year's pie should be better and memories of my dad will hopefully sweeten the occasion.

These days by his bedside and in everything I am doing, I am recalling details of life with my dad. A big presence, my dad. Laughing, tearful, passionate, curious, intense, relaxed. All in the same day sometimes. Dad is dedicated to his faith, family and friends and all the small details in his life add up to one big picture of love. Dad knew the importance of showing up and being present. He was good at the details: handwritten notes to encourage us, times by our bedsides, prayers offered on behalf of many, trees watered and tended, books read and shared. Such seemingly small details make up his large life. I am truly blessed to be his daughter. My heart overflows with gratefulness for the holy details of an everyday life offered up by my amazing dad.

Christmas Pie
Make pastry shell for a 9 inch pie. Bake as directed.

For the filling:
Soften 1 T gelatin in 1/4 cup cold water.
Mix together in saucepan:
1/2 cup sugar
4 T flour
1/2 tsp salt
Gradually stir in 1 1/2 cups milk.

Cook over low heat, stirring until it boils. Boil one minute. Remove from heat. Stir in softened gelatin. Cool. When partially set, beat with rotary beater until smooth. Blend in 3/4 tsp vanilla, 1/2 tsp almond extract.

Gently fold in 1/2 cup whipping cream that has been whipped until stiff.

Make a meringue by add 1/4 tsp cream of tartar to 3 egg whites. Gradually add 1/2 cup sugar until it peaks.
Stir in 1 cup moist shredded coconut.
Pour into cooled baked pie shell. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup coconut. Chill until firm.

This recipe adapted from the Betty Crocker cookbook.

"How sweet it is!"

1 comment:

  1. I'm sorry about your dad died in 1988 and some memories are almost as fresh as yesterday. Your pie is almost like a holiday tradition we call Graham Cracker Pudding (or Fluff). Our mother (long gone since 1986) made it every holiday after falling in love with it at her sister's on the occasion of a family reunion.

    Food was always important in our family get-togethers and my mom was one of the best cooks I've known. It's so good to have these traditions to remember them. But I'm so frustrated to first be diagnosed with Diabetes II several years ago and am trying to stay off meds by following the diet. More recently I received a diagnosis of Celiac disorder (intolerance to more bread.) It's hard since bread was a comfort food.

    It's good to see you posting.