Two-bite blackberry jam pies | for Thom, with love
I wrote my vows for Thom last night. I didn't intend on writing them this early except after we found what will probably be our ceremony/reception venue, I was overcome with urgency to get them out of my cluttered mind and onto something more permanent. Something I can tweak and alter and turn into even better words in the months leading up to the day we pledge to honor, respect, and love one another for the rest of our time on this planet. It was overwhelming and there were more tears than I expected, but seeing them on something tangible made my abnormally sluggish heart beat about 80 times per minute. And now I can hardly wait until the day I get to profess my undying love for that man in front of our closest friends and family in that pretty, flowy, offbeat wedding gown I found last month.
Sometimes, when Thom's gone and I have the house to myself, I remove the garment bag and slip into my dress, leaving my lower back partially exposed because I fear if I zip it all the way to the top, I may not be able to get out of it alone. I stand there, often times looking in the full length mirror, wondering what it's going to feel like when I put it on for real. But for now I let my imagination run wild and pull my hair back, put on coral lipstick, and dance around the house in that pretty gown because it calms my nerves and makes me forget about the weightiness that comes with trying to plan the celebration for the empire of love we've worked so hard to build.
I'm one of those who's of the belief that, with a wedding, it's all or nothing. We're either going to do this thing the way I've envisioned or we're going to scrap the hoopla and go to the court house and get on with it. Which I think about doing quite often because, as most of you are probably aware, attach the word WEDDING to anything and the price automatically quadruples. And although my ever generous father has stated time and time again that he's picking up the tab, it makes my guts hurt just a little when I see the list of estimated wedding costs and think about how that amount of money could be used for things like paying off student loans or traveling around the world for months on end or put toward a downpayment for our future house because we got approved for home loan. (!!!!!!) After six years of renting we decided it's time to stop paying other people's mortgages and start paying our own. Because if there's anything more stomach churning than looking at what it costs to execute a wedding, it's looking at the amount of money you've spent on rental housing over the past six years.
One would assume that the idea to buy a home would take time and careful planning. That we'd spend weeks sifting through documents and looking over numbers, trying to somehow make them work with our budget. But if I'm going to be honest, the idea to buy a house transpired overnight - which probably seems irresponsible, except it isn't because not only is my future husband an extremely sexy Jeopardy whiz, he's also an exceptional household finance regulator. (#WINNING) After an evening spent around the table with Laura and her main squeeze, devouring Thom's birthday cake and sipping on dark liquor while getting lost in conversation about their recent home purchase, we were so moved that we decided we were going to apply for a home loan. The next day we gathered the proper documents and walked down the street to the bank to apply for said loan, and an hour later we were approved and the search began.
So that's what's happening around here. I'm hustling and learning and planning and searching. But mostly I'm trying to remind Thom, in these heaving moments that feel like we may be way in over our heads (ahem, we are and it's OK), that my love for him is massive. Prodigious. All consuming. And when I can't find the words to accurately portray something as profound as what we've created - well, this is where pie comes in.
Pro-tip: This is always where pie comes in. And Beirut.
Notes: Feel free to use whatever jam you have on hand. Or maybe chocolate hazelnut spread? Sliced fruit? Anything will work, really. In fact, I think they'd be delicious with a scaled down version of my caramel apple pie filling. If you're not a fan of starches as thickeners, you can use flax seed meal or chia seeds to thicken the jam - one teaspoon should do the job (omit the water). All purpose flour will do the job, if that's all you have on hand, but I highly recommend the spelt (or rye) as it lends great texture to the little pies. If you prefer a super flaky crust, use 5 tablespoons of butter and only 2-3 tablespoons of water. If you're not into vegan butter, you can use coconut oil with success. Use 1/4 cup solid (not cold) coconut oil and only 2 tablespoons of water.
PS - THIS.
PPS - This marks the first time I've unintentionally written a blog post without a swear word.
SHIT. (had to)
TWO-BITE BLACKBERRY JAM PIES
1 cup whole spelt flour
1 tablespoon cane sugar
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 cup vegan butter, cold
3-4 tablespoons water, ice cold
1/2 teaspoon potato starch
1 teaspoon filtered water
1/4 cup blackberry jam
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Cut in the butter using a pastry cutter (or two knives) until the mixture resembles coarse meal with a few larger clumps. Add the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and mix with fingers until combined and dough is smooth (it may be slightly sticky, that's ok). Wrap with plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to two days.
While the dough is resting, prepare the filling by stirring together the potato starch and water. Add the jam and mix until combined. Store in refrigerator until ready to use. To make the pie filling process easier, freeze it.
Preheat oven to 375˚F. Line a small baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper; set aside. Line a flat surface with parchment paper and sprinkle with flour, then roll out the dough into a large rectangle until it's about 1/8" thick. Using a ravioli stamp, mark one half of the dough with light indentations (for jam placing reference). Spoon a teaspoon of jam filling into the center of each indention then fold the other half of dough over top. Gently press the dough around the jam filling so you can see where to make the cuts. Cut dough using ravioli stamp and transfer to prepared baking sheet. Roll out dough scraps and repeat cutting process (you can only roll these out one time before compromising the consistency of the dough). Arrange pie pieces on the prepared baking sheet, freeze for 10 minutes, then brush tops with soy milk and sprinkle with a pinch of sugar. Bake at 375˚F for 14-15 minutes. Store in a semi-air tight container for up to three days.
Yield: 15 pieces