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Wond'ring Aloud With Lemon Pumpkin Spice Pie

Pumpkin Lemon Spice Pie, Bellwether Farms Sheep Yogurt, Rachel Medanic
Sheep's milk yogurt makes this pie the BOMB!

So, it's almost Thanksgiving. Not only that, Thanksgiving is late this year--it mated with Hanukkah to give us one shazam we won't again experience until 2165! Even I feel slightly dogged by a hurried need to get December holiday decorations up--very unusual for me. What the heck is up? I can't really say but I do have to confess:  as I prep to be baking pies tomorrow to take over to our local community celebration hosted by Two Star Market in Oakland, I feel all the energy for giving, charity and thinking of others around me. It's stronger than before. Folks are more tuned in. I guess we can be thankful for the GOP's horrid approach to things like neutering food stamp program funds and making being poor even more of a horror.

The tune on my mind for right now is this lovely Jethro Tull love song from Aqualung. That album is as old as I am. The song ends with:  "it's the giving that makes you" in the context of an intimate relationship, but the sentiment carries much further. We are who we are through what we do. And while it's not that obvious all the time, it is the giving that makes us who we are.

"Wond'ring Aloud"

Wond'ring aloud --
how we feel today.
Last night sipped the sunset --
my hands in her hair.
We are our own saviours
as we start both our hearts beating life
into each other.

Wond'ring aloud --
will the years treat us well.
As she floats in the kitchen,
I'm tasting the smell
of toast as the butter runs.
Then she comes, spilling crumbs on the bed
and I shake my head.
And it's only the giving
that makes you what you are.

Oh, right! What's the dealio with this pie? Well, glad you asked! It's for those lactose intolerant folks (and the gluten free folks, too). Did you know that sometimes, it's cow dairy in particular that can be rough on the system? I've been perfecting this over the years and am so delighted by Bellwether Farms (here in Northern California's Sonoma). Their yogurt is key to how fabulous this pie is.

1 2oz. small ripe but not mushy yellow Bartlett Pear, peeled
¼ teaspoon grated Meyer lemon peel (save rest of lemon for later)
1 teaspoon butter
2 medium sized eggs, warmed (not directly out of the fridge)
14 oz. of canned pumpkin (you can try roasted fresh with drizzled olive oil but strangely the canned gave it better flavor)
½ cup Bellwether Farms vanilla sheep milk yogurt
¼ cup unsweetened soy milk
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tsp. fresh grated nutmeg
¼ tsp. coriander
1 teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup brown sugar (you might want more, I'm always cutting out 1/3 or more of sugar with everything I cook)
Remaining lemon zest
1 frozen gluten free or regular frozen pie crust.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a cast iron skillet with a cure, grill together the sliced pear, butter and ¼ of the lemon peel for 4 minutes until the pear is just slightly soft around the edges. Then combine pear/butter mixture from the skillet in a mixing bowl with the rest of the ingredients through the brown sugar. Mix well and then pour the mixture into a blender and blend until smooth all the way through. Grate in the remaining lemon zest and stir until just mixed.

Pour the mixture into the crust (just removed from the freezer) and bake 50-55 minutes or until the filling is firm. Let cool and serve. Watch that whipped cream if you're doing this to skip cow dairy!

I was going to title this post, "It's the Giving That Makes You." But I used that way back in 2006 for a story of giving away what you love and something that's beautiful and inspiring. Damn, I'm cannibalizing my own ideas AND not posting often enough. Jesus it's hard!

I've also written about baking for this event before--in 2011 called Band-Aids for Thanksgiving, in case you're interested.

Fill up the food bins. Do for others. Shop local businesses. Connect people together with what they need. You'll find meaning and fulfillment in these sorts of acts great and small.

Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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