I have seen loneliness. That morning waking up to realize what I thought was a bad dream was in fact reality. It would soon play out as one of the worst years of my life to date. My dad would be in jail for the first time, I began college, my younger brother was to live with my mom who was just as unstable at the time, and my older brother worked hard to create stability while self-medicating with a heckalota alcohol.
I was 18, and it really sucked.
People ask, "What brought you to Washington?"
My response bent between needing to do something new to don't like Arizona weather to meeting Ben. So naturally, everyone associated me staying because of a boy.
Well yes, and no.
Sunday evenings were the worst. I would go to church religiously on Sunday morning hoping someone would adopt me and take care of me. I wanted a mom and a dad who were healthy and loved one another. What I wanted was wholeness. I felt like I stepped out of a freeway car crash with exposed wounds and a possible concussion, and all I had was people staring at me without help.
It's this image that irks me about Christian culture at times. I hear someone seriously needing help. Like tangible hands and feet business, and what is offered them? Oh some verse to quote God's ever constant care, or how "Jesus doesn't give us more than we can handle." I'm all for encouraging one another with truth.
Often times, I can seek out people before seeking out Jesus. That said, I do know when I am at my worst, it's the hands & feet of Jesus in human flesh, which I need the most.
Maybe you can relate? Maybe you can think of someone who is that crash site victim?
What I needed that year was someone to invite me into their home, make me a meal, and simply listen to me and comfort me. Sounds simple right! It's because it is. It's in the sharing of life, providing space for another person to be heard and affirmed where Jesus is.
Can I offer this humble pear pie as a means to building a bridge to your table? Make it, bring it over to a friend who needs a listening ear, or invite that person over to shower them with unconditional attention and love.
Grain-Free Pear Pie with a Lemon-Vanilla-Honey Syrup
Pie Crust (double) Ingredients:
5 cups blanched almond flour
½ tsp salt
4 Tb ghee
1 Tb arrowroot powder
Pear Filling Ingredients:
5-6 Anjou pears (2 lbs), peel, core & larger slices
2 vanilla beans
¼ tsp salt
2 lemons, zest
juice of one lemon
½ to ¾ cup raw clover honey
Making the Crust:
Combine almond flour, arrowroot powder & salt in a food processor. Pulse five times to combine. Add the ghee & egg, combine till it comes together. Separate the dough in two. Shape into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour.
Rolling & Preparing the Crust:
Take some parchment paper & place one dough disc on it. Flatten slightly with your palm. Place another sheet of parchment paper on top. Roll out working clockwise, while you continuously turn the parchment to get even rolling. The pie dough should be about 11-12 inches around, for you 9-inch pie plate. Remove the top parchment paper layer. Slide your hand under the bottom parchment, where the dough is laying on & flip it over (gently) the pie plate.
If your pie dough cracks, don’t despair. The good thing about working with almond flour is it is very pliable & isn’t easily ruined like gluten pie crusts where less is more. You can simply pinch and press the cracks together, much like playdoh.
Leave about ½ inch overhang around the pie plate, and fold it under to create ridges (or some other design for the edge crust). Do this by using the knuckles of your index & middle finger against the crust edge, and pushing in with the index finger of your other hand placed on the other side of the crust edge to push between (thus making a ridge). Repeat this until ridges are all around the crust edge.
Making the Pear Filling:
Combine filling ingredients in a medium saucepan, semi-poach approach with heat on medium to begin (first four minutes). Stir, then lower heat to low-medium. Simmer for an additional five minutes. Taste. It should have a slightly sweet & tang from the lemon & honey.
Fill the pie with the poached pear filling.
Creating the Top Crust:
Take the second dough disc and roll it out between two layers of parchment into ½ inch thick crust. Taking a small leaf, heart (or whatever cookie cutter you have) cookie cutter, cut out shapes in the dough. Make a circular pattern with the cut out dough pieces on top of the pear filling. Brush the top with a beaten egg.
Bake for 15 minutes at 400. Lower the temperature to 325 and bake for an additional 30-35 minutes, or until the crust is a nice golden brown.
**I recommend covering the pie crust edges with aluminum foil for the first 15 minutes.
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