Easter. Passover. Spring. Renewal. Rebirth. Transition.
The transition from winter to spring is, truthfully, a muddy time. April rain stirs up the ground and leaves mud puddles. Mud puddles get a bad rap. When I was a nanny caring for my two young boys in my early years living in New York City, I learned to love the rain and the inevitable puddles. We'd break out their 'puddle boots' and just play. We'd jump in all the water filled gutters and splash each other by stomping in the puddles on the sidewalks. In fact, during our summers in Maine we actually had a game called Puddle Boots. On hot sunny days, we'd don the boots, turn on the hose, soak the ground until puddles formed, and play in the mud. Oh to be a child, right?
Transitions in life are muddy too. Our vision isn't always clear. Should I? Shouldn’t I? When’s the right time? How will things turn out? What if I do or say the wrong thing? So we stall and make excuses. Procrastinate. But at some point we just need to go for it. Take the leap. Trust that our body/mind/soul/heart will launch itself into the challenges and adventures that are meant for us. New jobs. New relationships. New homes. And trust that the universe will guide us to a safe landing.
There’s a glorious video captured by the brilliant photographer Jordan Matter. It's of the young Broadway dancer from the show Kinky Boots who performed a magical jump. I could watch it over and over again. There’s a trust to it. A fearlessness. (And yes, youth mixed with skill.) I watch this video and get inspired for the transition into the new season. He just goes for it! I couldn't get the embed code to work, but here are screen shots that give you the idea. The video is only 9 seconds long and is called Over The Hudson. The young dancer is Jeremy Villas. It's worth looking up to see for yourself.
I opened up my new home and launched into the new season with a collection of treasured friends and some of their stellar children. We feasted and exchanged Easter baskets. I didn’t really capture the day with photographs like I’d hoped to, but my girl Paige Davis curated a very thoughtful version of the day and shared it on her Instagram stories. (Don't forget to watch Paige host the all new Trading Spaces on April 7th on TLC at 8pm/7 Central )
Leap into spring, dear ones. Let new ideas hatch, welcome new life, new love, new opportunities. The universe will catch you. And if it rains and there's mud, (literal or figurative) welcome it. It goes with the territory. Put on your puddle boots, don't be afraid to get dirty, and jump! We’ve got a whole new season ahead of us. Let's bloom. I can’t wait.
As a throwback tribute to my dear boys and our adventures in Maine, dessert for the Easter Feast was a Wild Maine Blueberry Pop Tart Slab Pie. Yes, I made a giant PopTart! Some sweet tiny hands and her treasured bunny helped me decorate it.
Pop Tart Slab Pie
Serves 12 to 15
For the pie crust:
- 2 1/2cups flour
- 3tablespoons sugar
- 1teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
- 1/2 cup cold vegetable shortening, pinched off into clumps
- 1/4 cup ice water, plus more as needed
For the filling and glaze:
- 1 pound frozen Wild Maine Blueberries - check your freezer section, I bet they'll be there! (Or whenever you see them, snatch 'em up and put them in your freezer - they are treasures!)
- 1/2cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Juice from 1/2 lemon
- Cream or milk, for brushing the dough
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar, plus more as needed
- 1 tablespoon milk, plus more as needed
- 1/2teaspoon vanilla extract (I would use lemon juice next time so the icing is less sweet)
- Rainbow sprinkles!
- Pulse the flour, sugar, and salt together in a food processor. Add the butter and shortening and pulse until the fat has been cut into pea-sized pieces. Add the water and pulse to combine. Add more water if needed, a tablespoon at a time, just until the dough comes together. Divide the dough in two, wrap with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or as long as overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 400° F. Tear off two large pieces of parchment paper and tuck each into a 9- by 13-inch baking pan, creasing along the sides and corners so you know how large to roll the dough. Remove the parchment from the pan then, one at a time, roll out the two pieces of dough to about 10- by 14-inch on the parchment paper. It's okay if it's not perfect since you'll be tucking the sides over and under. You can cut off any excess pieces and patch up other corners or cracks if needed, too. Transfer the rolled-out dough, still on the parchment paper, back to the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.
- Toss the berries with the sugar, cornstarch, salt, and lemon juice.
- Tuck one of the rolled-out crusts with the parchment paper into the baking pan, making sure there is enough dough on all sides to form a rim/lip. Spread the strawberry filling evenly over the crust. Top with the other rolled out pie crust (you can use the parchment paper to invert the dough sheet over the strawberry filling). Carefully crimp together the edges and fold the excess dough over and under the edge, lifting up the parchment paper underneath to help with this process. If there was a lot of extra dough, you can trim it off, but you want to make sure the filling is sealed inside. Brush with milk or cream, if you like. Use a fork to prick the top crust evenly all around. Bake for 20 minutes.
- Check to make sure that the holes you made are still open (sometimes they shrink and seal up); if not, prick again with a fork—this is to ensure steam can exit. Rotate and return to the oven for another 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
- In the meantime, make the glaze by mixing together the confectioners' sugar, milk, and vanilla extract ( or lemon juice). Add more confectioners' sugar if the glaze is too thin, or dribble in some more milk if it's too thick.
- Allow the pie to cool before using the parchment paper as a sling to remove the pie from the pan and onto a large cutting board. Spread the glaze over the pie, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Immediately top with the rainbow sprinkles. Slice and serve.