Monday, November 4, 2013

Making Pear Pie After Sanding Floors

It was nice to come home from the dusty job of sanding the floor in the downstairs bedroom in the unheated farm house, to the clean and aromatic task of baking pies in an oven warmed kitchen.  It was also nice to find ways to use up some of the many ripening pears that I've carted home recently.    

Before sanding the floors, we rolled paint on the ceiling, and touched up the spackle work we did on the many many nail holes in the walls.  This is the only room in the house that had drywall that we deemed in good enough shape to keep.  After patching holes and really taking a close look at it, we nearly regretted this decision, although I'm sure we will be glad when we start putting walls back in the rest of the house.  One less room may be important.  It's funny to me that the people that installed the drywall over the old plaster and lath didn't take the baseboards off, they just put the drywall above, so it appears that the base boards are embedded in the wall.  Even funnier, in the bathroom they didn't bother to move the toilet away from the wall but instead just cut a toilet shaped hole in the drywall, so the toilet looks like it grows from the wall.  

These old floors are so nicked up and have so many layers of paint we aren't even going to try for a smooth finish, but instead are embracing the interesting texture.  The sanding we are doing is just to rub off the high points that would cause us to stub a toe and to rough up the surface so a new coat of paint will stick.  

Brandon replaced the soft rotten boards, but there were plenty of holes and other gouged out places for me to try my hand at using wood filler.  These big holes were the worst, and may have to be cut out and replaced if my wood filler doesn't work.  

I used a wire brush and the shop vac to get as much loose dirt and wood out as I could and then spread some wood hardener in the holes since they seemed sort of crumbly.  

Then I troweled the filler into the holes.  It starts to harden right away, which makes it hard to work with because I kept trying to smooth it and spread it and it would start to peel back out if I messed with it too long.  Hopefully, once it's dry I can sand it smooth and put some more on if needed.   

I decided to make pies for the annual chili cook off at the office.  I don't like the pressure of the competition, especially since we have so many great chili cooks, so I usually forgo the chance of a year of chili fame, and bring a non competitive dessert.  I chose two pear pie recipes, one with the exotic name of Pear Pie III, which is a pear and custard pie.  It was quiet easy, especially since I cheated and bought the pie crust.  Peeled pear halves are covered in a butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla mixture, sprinkled with cinnamon, and then baked.  

Oh boy!  The smell was fantastic!  And it looks pretty.  

Because there was no way a pie was going to make it past Brandon and out the door to the office without a slice being removed, I made two of the custard pies and we sampled one while it was still warm.  I used eggs from Joe's hens, and the custard was a bright yellow.  It was firm without being rubbery.  It was good!

I also made a pear pie like I would make an apple pie, only with pear slices and lemon juice.  I also mixed lemon zest in the sugar, cinnamon, and flour mixture that I layered with the pear slices.  The pears cooked to a soft texture, but still held their shape and the lemon made it nice and tart.  I wonder why I've never tried pear pie before?  Maybe only people with giant pear trees make pear pies?  That's me!

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