Nice to have a place

Archived | October 10, 2011 | By

Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. I listened on the radio as I drove home from one of the longer road trips I’ve taken in a while. Mr. Sundberg took the kids out for a morning at the orchard with the corn maze and an afternoon of pie baking (he’s decided apple pie is going to be his thing for this part of his life) and I thought I’d take a drive to see leaves and pick up some pumpkins and some bulk cinnamon at a little place up north.
It was the day. It must have been. The warm wind, the sun, the music, all those gorgeous leaves. I found myself at Betty’s Pies just past Two Harbors, and figured I may as well keep going. Why not? And I did. I’m serious. Several hours later, there I was crossing the border into Canada (I keep my passport in the car for such occasions) and I kept on going. All the way into the Municipality of Neebing, past a number of quaint little churches, to AJ’s — a tiny little café and bakery about 30 minutes into Canada. I went in to get something to drink and there were two lovely older women having coffee who said I could ask them anything. I can’t tell you their names, but they were warm as could be, I sat and had a cup, and we exchanged the short version of our stories.
They told me Thunder Bay was only 25 minutes or so, and so there I drove, and had a delicious meal of Greek gyros and souvlaki while looking out into a city I’ve never before visited. I contemplated as I ate driving another stretch to Toronto, to visit James, my son, the artist, who has now opened a pastry shop with his partner, but thought, no. Another day. This day was for me, for an adventure, for quiet, and what would Mr. Sundberg think?
The drive home was over six hours, and that made one glorious day. I called ahead to warn I’d be home late, and I was, and when I got there, waiting on the counter was a pie. An apple pie, with a note reading, “We missed you. Have some.” And I did.
It’s good to get away. It’s good to see things. It’s good to explore, and be a little bit unconventional. Better yet, though, is the return. To home and snoring and the creaking of the porch swing in the moonlight. To pie, still warm, waiting there. Wish I could share it with those border patrol people. They sure were a professional bunch, but friendly. I feel safer now, having met them. And having found my house again, hidden away on this big ol’ planet. Nice to have a place. Sure is.
Here’s the recipe I’m making this week, the week when the temperatures leave the 80s and head for the 60s and the weekend’s pie is all gone.
Almond Apple Tart
1 sheet frozen pie crust
1/2 cup almond paste (5 ounces)
1 large egg
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
5 cups apples, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons apricot preserves, heated
Preheat oven to 425 F. Coat a baking sheet with non-stick spray.
Press dough out into rectangle on baking sheet and prick with a fork to prevent bubbling.
Bake until it begins to brown, about 10 minutes; remove from oven.
Meanwhile, in food processor or blender, combine almond paste, egg, flour and sugar. Process until smooth, and fold in 2 cups apples. Spread mixture over dough. Layer top with remaining sliced apples. Brush with apricot preserves; broil about a minute until apples begin to wilt. Cut into squares and serve.