Fall is the time to bask in the sweetness of tasty little desserts, bursting with seasonal ingredients, like warm little apple and pear hand pies with bourbon-caramel, fresh from the oven; it's also an ideal time to contemplate and create the life that is longed for, and to seize the present moment in all of its fullness.
I feel privileged to have an awareness of how full my heart feels presently, and to be glad in it; and a big part of the reason for that fullness and gladness is that we are in my favorite time of year, my favorite season, the fall.
For me, there is nothing quite like the fall, as it has this amazing way of filling my being with grand optimism, gratitude, curiosity, and the extraordinarily cozy feeling that if I just peer deep enough within myself and bring what I find up and out, giving it voice through conversation with God, that I may be pleasantly surprised at what I discover.
Maybe it's feeling that cool, crisp air sweep caressingly over my skin; or perhaps it's that golden-blue light that stirs me up and becomes the perfect companion for late-evening contemplation; or maybe it's that the offerings placed upon my kitchen table are a bit sweeter and more fragrant, more ready and willing to comfort me to my core, like freshly-baked and still-warm apple and pear hand pies that contribute so wonderfully to my fullness of heart.
Yes...it is all of that.
It is also the quiet and gentle invitation that this lovely and illuminating season places before me, an invitation to retreat just a bit into those corners of my heart where my deeper desires reside, and to ask myself if I've been living as abundantly and as voraciously as I know that I am capable of.
Lately, I've been thinking a lot about how to “up” this game of life a little more; how to live more consciously, more lovingly, more authentically, while also doing away with unnecessary (and often confusion-causing) expectations that get placed upon things (and people) that they shouldn't.
It's good for me to take a magnifying glass to all areas of my life, those areas that make up the totality of who I am (wife, mother, friend, co-worker, creative) and see where some freshness and rejuvenation can be injected, and also where some “old items” or antiquated ways of going about things can be taken to the recycling center and turned into something new.
There are too many things that I long to do with the time that I have been given, too many things that I'd love to explore, experience, and taste.
And to take a deeper look and make sure that I'm not giving in to fear about the unknown, or fear about what it will take to accomplish something, or fear of abundance, even— that is what it's all about for me right now.
It's about knocking down misconceptions, grasping this present moment that is ripe and juicy with potential, and saying “yes” to life in a way that I haven't before.
It's about expecting more from myself, and about owning what I have and trusting that it is useful and needed, and then charging full steam ahead into living my life more fully and grandly.
There's no time like the present season to enjoy the many sweet bites that life so generously has to offer; and there's also no time like the present to get rid of any mindsets that may be detrimental to progress, to get rid of any fears that lurk in quiet corners like specters, and to grasp this life with both hands in order to live as abundantly as possible.
Taste what's good and pass it on.
Apple and Pear Hand Pies with Bourbon-Caramel
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Makes about 14 hand pies
Pie Dough Ingredients:
• 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted cold butter, cut up into small pieces
• 1/2 cup ice water
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
• 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
• 2 granny smith apples, peeled and very finely diced
• 1 bartlett pear, peeled and very finely diced
• 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/4 cup brown sugar
• 1/4 cup salted caramel sauce (I love Trader Joe's brand)
• 1 tablespoon bourbon (you can omit this, if desired)
• 1 egg, whisked, for egg wash
• Turbinado sugar, for dusting over tops
-To the bowl of a food processor, add the flour, salt, and cold butter, and pulse until the butter is crumbly, about 20-30 seconds or or.
-Mix together the ice water (make sure it's just ice cold, but with no ice pieces in it), the vanilla, and the vinegar; while pulsing the dry ingredients, slowly pour in the water mixture until a moist dough begins to form, taking care not to over-process, just until combined.
-Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface, and form into a disc, then wrap in plastic wrap; allow the dough to chill in fridge for about 1 hour.
-Once the dough has chilled, roll it out on a floured work surface to about 1/8 – ¼” thickness; using a 4” cutter, cut dough circles out (you will gather up the scraps of dough and keep rolling them out until you get 14 circles), and place them onto your baking sheet(s) to hold ; place the dough circles back into the fridge to chill for about 15-20 minutes.
-While the dough chills, prepare your filling by combining all of the filling ingredients in a bowl, and tossing them gently together to coat everything well.
-Preheat your oven to 375°.
-To fill and assemble, place your dough circles onto your work surface, and add about 2 tablespoons of the filling into the centers; fold one half of the dough over to make a semi-circle shape, and press the dough to seal; use a fork to crimp the edges.
-Brush each hand pie with a bit of egg wash, then cut three small slits with a paring knife for steam to escape; sprinkle over a little turbinado sugar, then bake for about 28 minutes, or until golden-brown; allow to cool slightly before enjoying.