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My daughter Beth moved to Pennsylvania in June and graciously offered to host Thanksgiving dinner this year. Free of my usual duties for the holiday, my granddaughter Sydney and I thought about how we could help out with dinner. A pie might be fun, but what kind should we make? “Cherry,” she exclaimed. “Remember the cherries we got in Door County? I bet they would make really good pies!”
At five years old, Syd is the perfect age to begin mastering some basic baking tasks. Unfamiliar with my daughter’s new kitchen, Syd proved to be a useful helper as we began the process. First step is to find all of the ingredients. Of course, our jar of Door County cherries is the most important ingredient, and we took that out first. Syd then helped find the bowls, measuring spoons, flour, sugar, butter and rolling pin.
With newly washed hands, we were ready to go. Syd loved using the cool tool that we used to “smash” the dough, in other words we blended the butter, shortening, flour, water and salt together. We formed it into a ball and placed it in the refrigerator.
While waiting for the dough to chill, Syd suggested that we play one of her new games. Thirty minutes later, as usual, Syd managed to win both games. Let’s get back to business, I suggested, and we returned to the kitchen to check out the dough.
Sydney stuck her finger in the dough and declared that it was ready, and asked to try a bit. “It might give you a tummy ache. Let’s wait before we sample the pie,” I answered. We divided the dough in two, and patted one half of the dough down on the flour.
Syd couldn’t wait to start rolling out the dough and quickly grabbed the rolling pin. She did stop long enough to listen to my suggestion about rolling it smoothly out to the edges.
With the bottom crust completed, out came the jar of Door County cherries. Proving much too heavy to hold, we used a large spoon to scoop out the cherries and filled the waiting crust. “Can I try a little bit?” she asked again. Well, who can resist those Door County cherries? Taking a spoon, she scraped every bit of cherry that was left in the jar, and quickly ate it.
At this point Syd, considering herself an old pro at pie making, again insisted on completing the top crust herself. We gently placed it on top of the gorgeous cherries, and then proceeded to close up the edges. I whispered in her ear about my extra special topping for the pie, first a wash of milk, then a sprinkle of sugar. She smiled, agreed that sugar on anything sounded wonderful and said that she would keep my secret.
With all of the finishing touches complete, we carefully placed the pie in the oven. Syd suggested another game while we waited for the pie to bake. After putting in so much work in the kitchen, a game sounded like a good way to relax.
Having your daughter host Thanksgiving dinner is one of the many changes that a mother/ grandmother looks forward to experiencing. Being able to create and bake a pie with your granddaughter is one of the many blessings that I will add to my Thanksgiving list this year.
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