Every week, my yoga teacher has a theme for the class, and talks about that theme as we move through our asanas. This week the theme was surrender, and how surrendering, the right way, brings us to anandam, or bliss. She was careful to say that surrendering wasn't about "giving up," but about becoming more aware ... about noticing where we are, coming to terms, accepting. In asanas, surrender can help us to move more deeply into the pose: we breathe in, and surrender the breath and our bodies on the exhale, offering up the difficulty, allowing the breath to go where it needs to go, and suddenly--often--the difficulty dissolves.
I confess that surrender is not easy for me. I have been bred into a culture in which surrender is about giving up, not about letting go. And as we all know, I'm a control freak. But when I think about the challenges before me right now, this approach--shifting my perspective away from the obsessive "I"--makes so much sense: surrendering to the situation at work means giving up control over the spring, but also possibly allowing for a new opportunity to present itself. Surrendering to this pregnancy means giving up my need for control over my body, and allowing my body to do what it will do.
Making pastry doesn't sound like it would involve surrender at all, I know. I grew up in a house where my mother would bar the door of the kitchen when making her pies, because she'd be swearing like a sailor the whole time, and was convinced that our presence in that space would make the end result even worse. But this recipe allows for letting go a little bit ... knowing that if the dough cracks, you can always fix it, and you might end up with something even better in the end. (I also like using a pastry cloth and sleeve like this one, which makes transferring it to the plate a lot easier.) This pie is wonderfully fragrant (S. eats it for breakfast, and I think that's perfectly acceptable), and is especially good if you can find some ripe apples, and perhaps even climb a tree to pick them. When you're up there, make sure you hold on. But then, take stock of where you are, breathe, and let go.
Spiced Apple Pie
2 c. flour (I use at least half whole wheat pastry, sometimes all whole wheat pastry)
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. oil (canola or olive)
1/4 to 1/2 c. boiling water
Combine flour and salt. In a glass measuring cup, combine oil and water. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients, and fork together until the dough starts to form a ball. It should be smooth; if it's too sticky, add more flour until it bounces back just a bit when you poke it. Divide into two balls.
Filling (Combine all ingredients in a large bowl:)
3 lbs. apples (8-10 medium), peeled and sliced
3/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. flour
1 T. lemon juice
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. nutmeg
1/4 t. cloves
1/4 t. allspice
Roll out one of the balls of dough to the right size for a 9" or 10" pie pan. You'll want it to hang over the pan just a bit. Fill with the apple mixture. Roll out the second ball of dough so that it will cover the first, and flip it on. Seal edges and crimp together. Cut a few decorative holes in the top to let the steam escape.
Brush pie crust with: 1 T. milk (soy is fine) and sprinkle with 1 t. sugar.
Bake 30 minutes. Wrap edges with aluminum foil and bake 30 minutes more, or until bubbly. Let cool completely before slicing.