When I was a child and visited my Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles I would tag along as my family would walk along the gardens and talk with one another and admire the blooms of all the plants. There was a special fondness of flowers and I could sense their knowledge of many things that I did not understand.
In the past there seemed to be more thought and appreciation for flowers and trees than there are today. When we traveled anywhere, a short distance or a long distance, my mother would name the trees, bushes, flowers and the birds. She came from that impressive generation that seemed so sensible to me.
My mother would say, "oh there is a Grancy Graybeard tree", but I could never keep them straight like she did. For some reason I started calling it a Grancy Grayberry and still today I have a difficult time switching to the proper name.
When we visited family my mother would often come home with paper bags filled with sprigs and dirt. I did not understand all that they did when I was a child and now I wish I had paid more attention.
I grew up in a time where poultices were used and if someone was sick with an upper respiratory illness and you were around the older members of the family you might get a poultice packed on your chest and sent to bed or tobacco wrapped around a sting or bite.
My first herb was a rosemary and I have grown to love rosemary and it is so easy to root from cutting off a sprig and placing it in water and letting it develop roots.
Then came Thyme. I just love Thyme because it is low growing and makes little delicate flowers. I can rub my hands across it and smell the aroma and it feels like a living medicine chest for it is touted that it has the strongest medicinal qualities and quite the culinary uses.
Herbs have many uses such as Culinary, Household, Cosmetic, Aromatic and Medicinal. We grow Marjoram and oregano and they both look similar so I have had to learn the leaves.
It seems to me Herbs are easy to grow because once you plant them most of them become part of your perennial plants and hang around for a long time.
This is Pineapple Sage and the leaves have a lovely pineapple aroma. We have many herbs, too many to mention in this post but they are fascinating and reassuring to have them in the garden.
A herb garden can be grown on a window ledge or a planter, a small space around some bricks. Many herbs do not mind where they are planted and once you get them going, they may show up in other places in your yard or garden.
Last week we left off with the picking of the pears. Each year we look forward to that special pear pie and pear preserves.
I have already posted my pear pie recipe on my blog but it is made with the simple crust. This is the recipe for the pie filling. I want to share with you below this recipe for my most special pie crust.
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees
¼ cup all purpose flour
½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Dash of salt
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice that has been strained
2 tablespoons cut up butter
And I have an older post on my blog for a "simple" pie crust
My most "Special" pie crust below
Do not be intimidated of making a pie crust. Many people are afraid to make a homemade pie crust but don't be afraid to try and keep trying until you have it mastered.
I am sharing a very special pie crust that was handed down to me and is a treasure. It is buttery and flaky.
Cooking and Baking is a skill that we learn. We learn by doing.
A pie crust does not need to be overworked and it might get messy or sticky but learn that feel and then you will know how much dusting of flour you need or when to put it back in the fridge to chill.
But in the past many people did not have refrigerators and so they just did what they did because that was what they were used to doing.
Pie Crust ( Double Crust )
2 1/2 cups All Purpose flour
1 teaspoon fine salt
Pinch of baking soda
1 cup cold butter (two sticks)
1/2 cup ice water plus 2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
Place all dry ingredients into a large bowl. The way I do the butter is I put my sticks of butter in the flour mixture and I toss them around to get flour all over them and then I grate the butter and I keep dipping it into the flour as I go. This way I do not overwork the flour and butter getting it incorporated.
Then toss the butter in with flour mixture.
Then I get a handful of the flour butter mixture and I slide my palms together pushing the butter through the flour. I do this a bit and then I use my fingers to make it a powdery mixture. Think light.
It will not be like a ball of dough, it is powdery and part together. Then separate it in half. and take out part and put it on the clean counter or board.
Now press this together best you can
Lift this up and lightly flour your board or counter and start rolling. Don't give up, don't add more water.
I cannot tell you how thick because I just roll it to where it is not too thin to pick up and not too thick. I would sprinkle a little flour all along.
Lightly flour the top and your rolling pin and then roll the pie crust over your rolling pin and then into the pie pan.
Then roll it backwards to release the pie dough into the pie pan.
Place in the pan and trim off the edges. For the top lattice repeat everything except you will cut strips. Any leftover pie dough can be stored to make tarts.
I have made a photo video of my making our pie this week after harvesting the pears. This video will help you see the making of the pie crust. I hope this becomes your treasure pie crust. Grandma Donna
Click here for my video for this posthttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_xeccNL8hpY