Yesterday was Thanksgiving here in the US. I have so much to be thankful for. I have an incredible family. I am healthy. And, the Universe is very generous with wisdom, lessons, opportunities and gifts. We spent the day at home working and playing together. It was truly a rare event in our busy lives.
I woke at about the same time as usual thinking about pie, acorn pie. I love pecan pie. However, I wanted to make a pie with something I could grow or forage near my house. I thought that surely there must be a recipe online for acorn pie. I did not find one, but thought that I could modify a classic pecan pie recipe (thank you, Molly Watson). I would substitute acorns for pecans and honey for corn syrup.
I had the honey in the cabinet. It was the honey I harvested from my hive this spring. But, the acorns ... well, I didn't have any. So at 0830 or so, I went outside to take care of the animals. Afterwards, I walked up the road to see if I could find any. There were a few that I gathered, but there were not enough lying out in the open. I decided to try and kick the wet leaves around to see if there were acorns hiding beneath, kind of like a turkey would do. I found very quickly that the hidden acorns were easily found. Within 30 minutes, I had gathered 3 pounds of raw acorns.
I brought the acorns into the house, gathered supplies to shell them, and set about the task. I settles upon cutting each in half and then in half again, effectively quartering them. The meat could then be removed fairly easily. Of course, it took 2 hours to shell all of the acorns. All in all, I only found about 1 dozen that were bad and needed to be thrown out. The rest ended up in the bowl for further processing.
The acorns were then boiled in about 12 changes of water to leach out the tannins that make them bitter. This took a considerable amount of time. We would sample a nut every couple of water changes to check if they were ready. It was not difficult and did not require full attention, just periodic intervention. Finally, at 16:30 they were ready to go into a pie.
Wendy made a crust for me with lard she had rendered from the cow share we purchased. I whipped up the filling. Finally, it went into the oven for 40 minutes. When it came out, it looked exactly like a pecan pie. I set it aside to cool, while we cleaned up from all of the other cooking.
After it had cooled, we sampled it. It is good, but does not taste like pecan pie. The acorns still had a hint of bitterness. And, the honey we harvested has a strong flavor and aroma. Overall, I am pleased with the outcome and will enjoy it until it is gone. I took a lot of effort to make, but was the perfect accompaniment to our wild turkey, home-grown squash, home-grown jerusalem artichoke in "Jerusalem Artichoke Quick Bread", home-grown and hand-ground indian corn in "Indian Corn Pudding", locally grown mashed potatoes, and locally grown cranberry sauce.
My MooseBoots journey has again proved satisfying on a very deep and personal level. Many people would have opted out of making the pie because of the effort involved, but I really wanted to make this pie. I succeeded and learned a whole lot along the way about acorns, turkey behavior, and acorn processing. For me, it was akin to 8 hours of meditation. I am grateful for this opportunity and for the ability to share it with all of you.