The best 10 minutes of my week

So, you might think I’m crazy, but the best 10 minutes of my week were watching my pal Sarah race the 3K on an indoor track. Actually it was 10 minutes and 43 seconds (she’s super speedy), but for that small chunk of time I felt really lucky to be part of the running community. These lady racers trekked to the indoor track after work on a Thursday, not for money (they actually paid $15 to do this!), not for fame (the bleachers were mostly empty), or for any other reason than that they enjoy it. There’s something about being in the company of people who truly love what they’re doing – it’s contagious. Every runner I know has different reasons for doing the sport, but seeing my friends push their limits and challenge themselves really inspires me (hey, Sarah, that’s you!!). I also feel really lucky to be able to incorporate my social life so seamlessly into exercise. Sure, I occasionally enjoy going for a good solo run, but having company makes the miles genuinely FUN.

Sometimes my non-running friends or co-workers will express curiosity at my devotion to running “I hate running”, they say, “I can barely run a mile on the treadmill!”. I usually just smile and nod, but sometimes I want to try and change their minds. Of course running on the treadmill by yourself (especially if you’re out of shape!) isn’t much fun. But galloping down Riverside drive, cheeks pink from the brisk January night, and gossiping with your girlfriends? That’s something else entirely.

Apologies for getting a little mush on you all, but I just felt so happy to be where I was on Thursday night, that I wanted to share it. I ended up running 4 miles that evening (unplanned, considering I had run 8 miles in the morning) bringing me to 12 miles for the day. Shazam. The most I’ve run since the marathon. And I felt good! I suppose this is what happens when you take 3 days off.

Enough running chatter, I’ve also been baking things! One of my favorite things to make is homemade pie. Sure, it’s time intensive, but the results are very satisfying. But pie baking is tricky! It’s taken me years to figure out the process and while I’m still not an expert, I can share a few things that I’ve learned. First, some notes:

1) I ended up using a mix of all-purpose and whole-wheat flour for this crust, but if you’re a pie novice, use only all-purpose flour. Whole wheat can be tricky and often leads to chewy/tough dough.

2) I’m serious about keeping the butter/shortening cold. Don’t skip this!! And if you’re even more ambitious – refrigerate your flour, bowl, and rolling pin. This will prevent sticky dough.

3) I only added the dried fruit because I didn’t have enough canned cherries. I was worried about the results (dried prunes in a pie?!), but it turned out pretty well. Try it! I also generally use about 1/2 to 3/4 sugar that most recipes call for because I don’t like my pies too sweet. My rule of thumb – sweeter fruits (cherries, peaches, blueberries) need less sugar while other fruits (rhubarb, apples, pears) need more.

Now on to the pie!

You want to see bits of butter and shortening in the dough – do not overmix.

Cherry Lattice Crust Pie

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 cups flour (I used 1/2 all-purpose, 1/2 whole wheat)
  • 1 Tbs sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 stick of butter (8 Tbs)
  • 1/2 cup non-hydrogenated shortening (or LARD if you can find it)
  • 2 cups canned sweet cherries, drained
  • 2 cups canned sour cherries, drained
  • 1 cup of dried fruit (I used 1/2 dried cherries and 1/2 dried plums)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 Tbs quick cooking tapioca or cornstarch
  • 1 cup of ice cold water (you may use less)
  • milk and extra granulated sugar, optional

Directions:

1) First, make sure that your butter and shortening are really cold. I usually stick mine in the freezer for 15-20 minutes. This is important!! Cold butter/shortening (a.k.a. fats) expand in the oven and create air pockets betwixt the flour. These little air pockets make for a tender and flaky crust. If your dough is too warm it will end up tough and/or soggy. Beware.

2) Whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl.

3) Cut your butter and shortening into small pieces and either use a pastry blender (it kind of looks like a potato masher) or two forks to incorporate the fat into the flour mixture. Keep at it until the butter/shortening is the size of small peas.

4) Gradually add a few Tbs of cold water at a time until the dough begins to come together. I ended up using about 1/2 cup water, but you may need more or less depending on the humidity and temperature of your kitchen.

5) Form the dough into a ball and then divide into two. Flatten out the dough bowls into a slight disk shape and then wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least an hour.

6) Once the dough has chilled, flour your workspace and a rolling pan (to prevent sticking) and roll each dough disk into a circle that is a bit larger than your pie plate.

7) Use the rolling pin to pick up a dough circle and lightly press it into the pie plate. Use a sharp knife to cut the other dough circle into 2″ strips.

8 ) Pre-heat oven to 400 F and combine cherries, dried fruit, tapioca, and sugar in a medium bowl.

9) Add fruit filling to pie plate and then use remaining dough strips to weave a lattice top (alternate going under and over with each strip).

10) Use a pastry brush (or paper towel) to brush the lattice top with milk and then sprinkle with granulated sugar. This makes it look pretty!

11) Cover edges of crust with foil (to prevent over browning) and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 20 minutes or until crust is nicely browned and fruit is bubbling.

What were the best 10 (or 20, or 30) minutes of your week?

  • shannon

    wow you should enter a pie-making contest or something.. (do they even have those) that thing is gorgeeousss

  • The last 10 minutes of yesterday’s half-marathon…because I finished in 1:57:50, meeting my sub-2:00 goal! The second best few minutes were when my fingers finally thawed out afterwards. 🙂

  • The last mile of my 17-miler on Sat…because it was my fastest mile and I knew a hot shower and some chocolate milk were in my immediate future 🙂

  • I think that’s awesome to be able to be so happy for your friend and be inspired by her true love for running! I encounter the same thing from so many people (“Why do you run so much? Isn’t that the more torturous thing ever? I can’t run more than a mile”) and I have to admit I struggle with how to respond. I think, like you, usually I just kind of smile and don’t bother trying to explain myself.
    The best 10 minutes of my week were when I received an exciting phone call and then shared the news with my parents and boyfriend.

  • aw, so much runner love in this post. watching people work hard at something they love – and understanding the pleasure derived from all that grit – is totally satisfying. one day i’ll be back at it, but never on an indoor track. ya’ll are crazy for actually liking *that* kind of running, but of course i’m impressed anyway. good job, sarah. you truly are an inspiration!

    wow. you’ve certainly proved your baking skillz. lattice pie? dear god. when am i seeing you next and will there be pie leftover? 😛

  • @sofia – i’m going to bake another pie for saturday evening’s festivities!!

  • You are an expert pie maker – that looks SO GOOD! The best 10-20 minutes of my week most definitely involved running – both with your smiling face (!) on Thursday and finishing the half on Saturday. I wish I could see Sarah kick butt one of these weeks (boo to Thursday night class!).

  • At the risk of being hokey…lovelovelovelove.

    I feel lucky to be part of a community of people who believe that pushing yourself to your physical limits, even to the detriment of free time and money, is worthwhile. I feel incredibly lucky to have met amazing women who will do nutso things like run 15 miles through hangovers/heat/cold/wind/etc. And although I will say those 10 minutes and 43 seconds were NOT the best of my week, I felt very very happy to have you all there cheering.

    I would have preferred to have pie afterwards, tho.

  • i’ve been watching pushing daisies and it’s all about a pie maker. this post just makes me crave it even more! boo for you 😉

    i LOVE watching friends compete. i definitely get that tingly sensation (and get your mind out of the gutter 😉 ) seeing people i care about do well!

    the best time of my week? hmmmmmm. cuddling while watching pushing daisies with hot coffee in my hands. grrr now i want to go to that now!

  • Sarah

    This is exactly how I feel about running. When you come back from a great run, you feel like you’re walking on air. It makes you feel better than anything in the entire world, like you can do anything. I injured myself in November and this morning I ran farther than I have since I recovered, and I felt so so good. I felt fast, and energized, and I wasn’t hurting at all. I couldn’t stop smiling. It took me thirty minutes to get dressed after my shower because I started dancing around in my bathrobe while singing along to the Eagles. It’s awesome. I can’t decide whether the best ten minutes of my week were the last ten minutes of my run, or the time I spent dancing in my bathrobe. I guess take five of each. And I love this bloge because reading about running and talking about running reminds me of how great I feel when I run, and I get so excited and inspired I just want to lace up my sneakers and go out again!

  • Sarah

    P.S. I do believe that the lattice crust pie is the queen of all baked goods, and you seem to have achieved perfection. Those pictures look so good!

  • Megan

    wow megan! you did a wonderful job on that pie! it looks beautiful! The runners kitchen bakery, coming soon .. 😉

  • @Megan – I WISH the Runner’s Kitchen had a bakery! Maybe someday.

  • Your pie looks beautiful! I actually had great run for the first time in a long time! It’s amazing what happens when you follow your training and eat and drink before running in the am.

  • Your pies are soo impressive. I have NEVER made a pie. I am too intimidated. But I might give it a shot using your helpful tips. I can’t turn 29 without having ever made a pie – right?!

    PS – the love running intro. It’s so great to be a runner. 🙂

  • Beautiful pie and beautiful post lady! A pleasure to read 🙂

  • That pie looks BOMB and so perfect! Love. Best moment this week was getting through the last minute of my 7.16 mile run on Saturday…longest I’ve run since the Philly Marathon. I was struggling with knee issues but I am finally better! 🙂

  • Shady

    You’re blog inspired me to try running and you know what. I love it . . . despite the fact that I’m stuck at week 2 of C25K program (thanks reduced dorsal flexion and tendency to shin splints and foot injury). Regardless, running makes me feel awsome and accomplished in a way no other cardio workout can. So even though I’m a beginner and can only dream about running the way you and most of your readers do, it still makes me so happy and I look forward to my running day every week.

  • marci

    I had an 8 mile runners high last Friday afternoon that was unprecedented in my running history. The last 5 miles of that run were not so great, but those first 8 were amazing!

  • that pie looks amazingly beautiful. I am in awe of your pie making abilities!! 😀

    the last mile of Saturday’s half marathon was the best 8 minutes and 31 seconds in recent running memory. It was freezing cold, ice particles of frozen sweat in my hair, legs numb – all of my non-running friends swore I was certifiably insane. I was so happy because while I wasn’t pushing myself to the limit running all out, I was pushing myself to new temperature extremes haha – I was fulfilling my promise to myself for running through the winter and showing myself that I was sooo much stronger and hardcore than I gave myself credit for.

  • OMG that pie, looks amazing!!

    Oh and mush all you want about running, I love hearing it!

  • Kristan

    That is a gorgeous pie!!! I am so impressed. It almost looks too pretty to eat. Also love the post. It is so true. We’re lucky to be in such a great running community. I think my best moments of the week were all running related as well. Well running and dancing related.

  • First, that pie looks amazing! I love fruit-filled pies but hear making crust can be a bit difficult. I may have to try one, your recipe looks attainable.

    I ran in HS and college like you, and miss that team element and spending time with people who enjoy running as much as you do! Something about being crazy running in 10 degree weather together makes it better than doing it alone. I think I might look into joining an NYC running club…would you recommend CPTC?

  • Wow, that pie looks so professional and delicious! The best 10 minutes of my week were the end of the Packer game yesterday. Super Bowl baby!

  • I can feel the love in both your observations on Sarah and that pie …YUM!!! I love when running and social circles entwine, it just feels right. And I dig the paying it forward inspiration, it happens w/out you knowing too.

    The best 10 minutes of my week were set within 180 mins & spent with my running partner’s 6 mos. old baby. I can’t wait until the two of us can back on the roads with this adorable little girl in her BOB running stroller.

  • So true about keeping the dough cold. Makes a world of difference. I love the look of the butter/shortening chunks in your dough. I bet it was great!

  • My best 10 minutes were the last 1.5 miles of the Manhattan Half, I was pacing a friend and she was giving it her best and as we passed Tavern on the Green I was assured that my verbal abuse wasn’t annoying her but motivating her and that she would make it under 1:42 (the goal I had for her in my mind). It felt great to cross the finish line with her having given it her very best for a well earned PR on that cold day.

  • Nothing like a runner’s high. I always get them at the end of runs so I have to work for them! But it sure is worth it to feel like you’re flying!!

  • That pie looks like the best thing since sliced bread! It’s so colorful and with weather like this we all need a little color in our life. Don’t worry about the imparfections, they are the things that make food(and life) perfect!

    I love running in the cold. Give me -5 degrees over a treadmill anyday! You can always layer up and make yourself warmer, but the worst part is the snow! I can’t run with the snow/ice on the ground.

  • I don’t like fruit in my dessert, so I would eat that pie as the fruit component of my day and then have some chocolate cake. Either way, it looks amazing!

  • @Runeatrepeat – i always laugh when people say to eat fruit for dessert. i much prefer chocolate, but i suppose i can handle some pie as well 🙂

  • I would say the best 30 minutes of my week would be when my friend Adam gave me a really long piggy back ride around the show we were working. We stopped to talk to people, check out product, trade pro deals, and even picked up some coffees. Considering I spent 6 days on my feet, getting carried around for awhile was pretty amazing! 🙂

  • WOW! That looks divine!

  • this makes me smile. both the pie and the 10 minutes part. i love how much love you have for your sport – and it’s even more special that you have people who share that with you. i’m sure there’s a special bond that only you ladies can understand that forms when you hapily pay to go kick your own ass at an indoor track or run double digits in the freezing cold. i’m happy for you that you have that community!

    i’ll give you the best 10 seconds of my week: when i stepped out of the airport in florida into 75 degree sun. made the 4 am hungover wake-up call so, so, so worth it.

  • oh my gosh, that pie looks amazing! you’re a baking pro. 🙂

    i’m still waiting for the best 10 minutes of my week….. 😛

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