Ah, I’ve been absent for so long! So much happened between October and March – how time flies! I’m now not only Gourmari, but also Gourmommy!
That’s right: I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy on 4 January 2017!
We are thirty six years apart, almost to the minute. The act of labor and birth, let me tell you, is quite an adventure. I rarely think there are occurrences in life that you cannot relate to unless you actually live through them yourself, with your own blood and sweat. But, the process of pregnancy and birth are definitely hard to convey to third parties (particularly men who don’t even have the same anatomy), so I do think it’s really difficult for those of us, who haven’t been a part of the birth process, to fully understand what it’s like. I could explain all day, and it would still not do the experience justice.
Nothing could have prepared me for what happened that day. I am glad I spent most of my pregnancy not thinking about it too much. I didn’t google or research the topic to death (something I tend to do for everything else – on any other topic I’ll read at least three books), which was also quite beneficial. Let’s just say: it took twenty hours, was incredibly painful and in the end it all had to go very fast due to unforeseen complications.
We are very happy all went well and that I was able to avert any actual intervention by the doctors, because my husband, my mother, the midwives and the medical team made me give more than even I knew or believed I had in me then (sans PDA or any other serious painkillers – at some point I seriously doubted my decision on this topic, hahahaha). My memory of the day is very fuzzy, but I do know that all the things I thought would matter that day didn’t matter at all and that I lost all sense of time shortly after midnight when the contractions began. I have huge respect for all mothers and our bodies. Don’t be fooled, we perform quite the miracle in making another human and in nurturing it during the days, weeks and months after birth and I truly believe all cultures should appreciate it much more than they do. All of it is truly amazing! I’m also very thankful for the advances in female healthcare (we’ve still got lots of work to do!) and for midwives in particular. They work a very stressful job with huge responsibility, require a very wholesome set of people skills and get paid very badly. My birth midwife was one of the kindest, most empathic and competent people I have ever met. She really helped shape the atmosphere and ensured that I felt safe and in good hands the entire time.
Birth is also very stressful for the babies (we hardly ever talk about this), and so we’re even happier that David did a fantastic job of dealing with the complications and completed his journey into life outside the womb unscathed. It was also a lot of work for him and toward the end I am sure he was very, very scared for his life. He’s a very happy and healthy baby though and recovered very quickly from the entire ordeal.
Like me, he’s a morning person and he fills the days with sunshine. We love him so much and while we wish he would remind so small and cute forever, we cannot wait to see him grow up, explore the world and unfold his personality.
Anyway, so this explains why I’ve been out of sight from the blog for a couple of months. But I’m determined to get back into the swing of things now, so watch this space for lots of new content! Prepare to chop, grind, boil, cook and bake with me again!
The best way to celebrate: PIE!
And what better recipe than to start than with a rich and delicious pie, because you know: life is short and sometimes it’s also hard. Pie just makes everything better!
Everyone can use a break and a little something sweet – not just on Sundays! If you make this: spread the love. It’s a huge celebration in carbohydrates, sugar and fat. And yes, the cherries also taste really good! I not only fed six hungry people for coffee at my house with this pie, but also my neighbors with a slice, too and had two pieces to spare for the husband and I to enjoy the next day! It’s also really easy to make this pie in a vegan version – and equally as rich and delicious!
Also, if you feel like this pie, but want to have it without all the work and the sin, I suggest eating cherries right out of the freezer: best guilt-free indulgence out there! Just be sure to purchase the kind that actually tastes good, there are huge differences. We find the organic kind has much better taste, probably because their cherries are actually ripe. It’s like eating ice-cream!
And then there’s also the option of not eating anything, and just enjoying cherry-themed music such as Cherry Pie by Warrant or Snowcherries from France by Tori Amos or Save tonight by Eagle-Eye Cherry! So let’s go!
Gluten-free Vanilla Cream-Cherry Pie with Almond Streusel
For the crust (24cm cake tin; my favorite is currently a flexible one by Städter, the cakes come out looking so pretty):
250g gluten-free flour mix (I used two parts Harina de Reposteria by AdPan and three parts Schaer Mix-It)
150g butter (cold; use 200g margarine for a vegan version)
2 eggs (cold; omit for a vegan version)
one tsp gluten-free helpers (two tsp for a vegan version)
one sprinkle of salt
For the Cream:
600ml milk (I used whole fat; for a vegan version use soy vanilla milk and omit the sugar)
1,5 packages of gluten-free vanilla pudding (for 500ml milk each)
4 tbsp sugar
For the cherry filling:
900g frozen cherries
the second half of the vanilla pudding powder not used above
two tbsp corn starch
If you have a very sweet tooth, you can also add extra sugar to the cherries (but I don’t recommend it).
For the streusel:
300g gluten-free flour mix (proportions as described above)
100g sugar (you can substitute parts of it with vanilla sugar or just add a bit of vanilla from the inside of a pod)
200g-250g butter (cold, for a vegan version use margarine)
200g sliced almonds
Turn your oven to 170°C.
Prepare the pudding according to the package directions, but use more vanilla pudding powder, as described above (will render a much firmer filling and keep the cherries from dropping into the pudding during the baking process).
Place the water, the second half of the vanilla pudding powder and the cornstarch into a pot and bring to a boil whilst whisking constantly until the mixture has thickened. Turn off the heat, add the (still frozen) cherries and mix using a large spoon until each cherry is covered by the boiled cornstarch.
Now make the crust: Place all the ingredients for the crust into a bowl and carefully knead into a dough of rough texture. Basically, you don’t want to knead it too much after you have incorporated all the ingredients, and perhaps even place it into the fridge or freezer for a couple of minutes before going on to the next step (particularly on a warm summer day or if you have the heating on).
Grease the cake tin (and place it on a baking tin on which you have spread out baking parchment) and form the pie crust, about five centimeters in height. You can use a bit of extra flour to form the crust (basically just enough to keep your fingers and the dough apart) in case your dough is too sticky. You can also dust the dough with a bit of gluten-free flour and place a piece of plastic foil between the dough and your fingers.
Ensure the height and thickness of the crust is even on all sides and that you have a nice finish on top.
Stir the pudding (it will form lumps, but don’t worry, they will disappear during baking), and evenly distribute it inside the unbaked pie crust.
Add the cherries and also evenly distribute them.
Now make the streusel by placing all the ingredients into a bowl ad kneading it into a dough of rough texture. Again: don’t knead the dough too much after you have incorporated all the ingredients. the streusel loosely on top of the cherry pie filling until the entire pie is covered.
Bake the cherry pie for about an hour, until the streusel are golden.
Let your Cherrie Pie cool off entirely (preferably overnight) prior to serving it. If you cut the pie while it is still warm, the pudding and the cherry-filling will still be in a liquid state and your beautiful pie will fall apart!