Uli Yeomans shares a family recipe for a festive pear pie. Dairy-free!

[New City Magazine – December 2021, page 22]

I looked up, involuntarily as the thunder of low flying aircraft appeared out of nowhere: the Red Arrows flying in brilliant double formation directly overhead! Of course, it was a practice run for the big occasion when our town would host the G7 Speakers’ Conference convened by our MP Sir Lindsay Hoyle, speaker of the House of Commons.

The main day of this conference coincided with the 90th birthday of our friend Hugh from the nursing care home. Hugh emigrated from Ireland a long time ago and over the years had been an active, much appreciated member of our Christian community. Now we are his adopted family, and five of his closest friends had welcomed him at a surprise lunch in the garden. Graced with ‘just right’ weather, there were flowers, cards, presents, and words like ‘truly wonderful’, ‘gracious’, ‘golden’ were interwoven with his rambling memories and a tuneful song or two from his lips. His soul was well satisfied at this party to celebrate his advancing years.

Though they were noisily audible, we didn’t see the Red Arrows fly past, as the flight path went directly over the park and old hall from which Nancy Pelosi, flanked by other famous politicians, had emerged to watch, along with an invited crowd of locals. We saw video clips of the event later on the national news.

That same evening we also heard about friends celebrating a ‘big’ wedding anniversary with their whole local community, and also – most moving of all – that a young man from that community had died unexpectedly, leaving a loving family and everybody else grief stricken. The contrasting events of that special day reminded me of ‘the different beauties of giant oak trees and quietly decomposing nurse logs’, as recently published in New City by Elisabeth Öhlböck, (Nurse Logs, October 2021 p16).

Christmas, too, will be celebrated in many different ways and many of us will miss recently departed loved ones. Raising our inward eyes of faith heavenwards, we can perceive gifts of love, light, hope, rebirth falling silently into the stillness of our hearts. These will satisfy our soul, too. They are gifts to be shared.

My sister recently sent this festive dairy-free recipe for pear pie.


for the pastry:

▶ 100g sugar

▶ 120g coconut fat

▶ 300g self-raising flour

▶ pinch of salt

▶ 2 egg yolks

▶ 8 tbsp water

for the filling:

▶ 1kg ripe pears (6 medium), peeled, quartered, cored, thinly sliced

▶ juice and grated peel of a lemon

▶ 50g sugar or 2 tbsp honey

▶ ½ tsp each cinnamon, nutmeg, ground ginger

▶ 50g lightly toasted chopped walnut kernels

▶ 30g sultanas


Combine pastry ingredients, knead and keep cool. Gently stir together filling ingredients, preheat oven to 210°C and proceed to make up the pie. Bake for approximately 35 minutes.

Photo: courtesy of Uli Yeomans

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