Seattle is having a heat wave. It’s predicted to be 100 degrees later this afternoon. This is not the Pacific Northwest weather to which I have grown accustomed.
I am sweating. My sweet 14 year old dog, Lady, has been panting for days. Glasses of iced lemon water are helping to keep us all hydrated through this anomaly.
Simply put, I just don’t do heat! Cool, gray and mist are near and dear to me.
The up side is that this weather brings on the sweet fruits of summer and our kitchen counter is regularly laden with whatever is fresh at our farmers’ markets.
Right now it is berries.
Pies are calling to me.
But with the mercury rising, how will I keep my hands and those of my students cool long enough to make a light crust?
I place bowls of well chilled water next to each student. We dip our hands in regularly to keep them cool, drying them well before working with the dough again. I urge them to work quickly and lightly and on occasion call out, “Keep your hot hands out of the bowl!”
One of the crusts falls apart…badly…but, not to worry. We dip in the water and with cool hands quickly gather the pieces, roll again and urge the many to become one…one beautiful pie crust…flaky and delicious.
How did prairie women do this before days of refrigeration?
Up at the crack of dawn, enjoy a brief cool…and quiet…moment before the day heats up with the sun, kids, chores and the unexpected.
Back to class. In an informal procession, we carry the pies to the hot oven, place them on the racks, close the door quickly keeping the heat inside.
We adjourn to the deck and enjoy slices of the pie I baked early in the morning to share. We laugh, eat and share stories.
The timer sounds and we check our creations. The pies, all four of them, come out of the oven just fine. Everyone has a big grin and lots of photos are taken with these prizes of summer. Three new pie-makers born who will carry the craft forward.
Cold hands, warm heart…perfect crust.