Hold the Door County Cherry Pie

Tyler Holt is one of my all-time favorites. You might be thinking, is Tyler Holt that Game of Thrones character from season 3, who I totally forgot about until he returned out of nowhere, saved Jon Snow’s life, and subsequently became the new Commander of the Night’s Watch? Oh, no, you’re thinking of Eddison Tollett. We’re going to digress for a minute before we get all Thronesy up in here.

Tyler Holt is my boyfriend’s brother, but you can address him by his real name, Big Ty. Big Ty is an attender of music festivals, a rider of bicycles, a drinker of fine beers, and sometimes, a drinker of not-fine beers. Tyler’s a real fudging sweetheart. Big Ty is obsessed with Door County (Wisconsin) pies. For Thanksgiving last year, he even talked about having one shipped to Des Moines for $100. I’ve never technically had one, but I’ve always been intrigued by a pie that someone is willing to drop a Benjamin for. We’ll get back to talking pies later. It’s Thrones Time.

I’ve never cried at a Game of Thrones episode, which is a little surprising, I guess. I’ve gotten a little misty here and there (RIP all tha direwolves!!!), but I’ve never full-on cried. Following the episode where Melisandra burned Shireen alive at the stake, which admittedly, was a pretty terrible thing to do, I scrolled through an ocean of broken heart and cry-face emojis on Facebook. I felt bad because, honestly, I was more affected by the dragon that got shot by an arrow that episode. So, people, if you think you can get to me by setting a mildly disfigured, yet adorable, child with an admirable love for literacy ablaze, you are sorely, sorely mistaken.

I cried over Hodor, though. It wasn’t even the shock of it—I re-watched the episode, and I cried again. If you think about it, Shireen and Hodor have a lot in common: they are outcasts. They both are selfless and innocent. They both loved helping people. The core difference is, Shireen was an unknowing victim whose death was completely senseless–but Hodor knew his fate, and he loyally served Bran anyway. He was not just a sweet, bumbling stable boy: his actions were deliberate and intentional. Hodor lived–and died–with purpose and honor.

I asked my friends, Dave Murphy and Tim Paluch, to talk a bit more about it:

Tim Paluch: That was my initial thought too–Hodor knew his fate his entire life. Perhaps that’s why he was so resistant to ever fight. Because he knew that during a fight, which he knew eventually would have to happen, he would die.

I disagree about what you said about Hodor’s death. I was far sadder over Shireen, mainly because it became obvious early on that she was going to suffer this fate. Hodor’s death completely surprised me. And I never really felt a huge attachment to him, to be honest. If a dragon died it would crush me more than either.

Dave Murphy: The reason why this hits so hard is that Hodor was good and pure. It reminds me a bit of Shireen’s death in that they weren’t scheming or in a battle. They hadn’t betrayed someone or gotten involved with the wrong people. They were just people who wanted to live their lives in relative peace surrounded by the people they love. Those aren’t the people who should die, and yet here we are. I didn’t cry with Shireen, I just got mad at everyone. I had a hard time getting hyped up for this season because of Shireen. But, this season has been really good, and I think my sadness towards Hodor is in line.

Enough whose-death-was-sadder talk. It’s Bold Prediction time!

Julie Cusack’s Bold Prediction: In Season 5, all the storylines kept building and building, and I was getting antsy for stuff to actually start to happen. That time is now! Stuff is happening! I think Season 6 is going to continue on this upward trajectory, and something really bad is going to happen next episode to either Margaery or Loras. Gramma Olenna is gon b pissed and murder some more people with necklaces.

Adam Holt’s Bold Prediction: Benjen Stark is going to come back!

Dave Murphy’s Bold Predictions: Euron makes it to Meereen, but gets rebuffed by Dany. We all laugh at him because his name is basically “Urine.” Then, he gets stabbed by, let’s say, Daario. Zombie Hodor makes us all sad again. Bran wargs into him again and that’s how they overcome the Wight army. Zombie Hodor and Bran then become friends like Shaun and Ed at the end of Shaun of the Dead. Tommen is probably already dead by the time I end this sentence. Jon Snow wins.

Leslie’s bold prediction: Frodo is finally going to discover the magical powers of his ring.

Alexia Madara’s Bold Predictions: Jon Snow is the literal embodiment of The Song of Ice & Fire (he has ice [Stark] and fire [Targaryen] blood), which would make him the reborn form of Azor Ahai, the one true leader and savior from the long winter. Melisandre had been said to see in her vision that Azor Ahai was “man, then wolf, then man again.” Every time she asks to see who Azor Ahai is, she says that he “only is shown snow.” She is misinterpreting her vision, as she always does. The idea of man, then wolf, then man again suggests Jon will warg into his direwolf, Ghost, at some point. This would also be the perfect opportunity to reunite Jon with Bran (through their wolf pack, which is also an opportunity to reveal more of Jon’s powers…).

Tim Paluch’s Bold Prediction: What if the Ice Night King guy wants to get Bran so badly because he wants to go back in time to prevent the wall from ever being built?

Hold that theory

Hold da theory

Holda ory



I also think the last image of the season 6 finale is going to be the wall falling down.


Things we mostly agreed on this week: Hodor’s death was very sad and shocking. To pay tribute to our favorite giant, and to make Ty Holt incredibly happy, this week’s Game of Thrones recipe is Hold the “Door County Cherry Pie.” My friend, Amy, argued that Door County is mostly known for its blueberry pies, but ‘cherries’ in French is ‘cerises,” which is prett-ay prett-ay close to Cersei, so I’m taking some creative liberty here. Unlike my other recipes, I don’t imagine anyone in Thrones would actually eat a cherry pie, but it was more important to me that we give some big-ups to our main man, Hodor. Since the death of Hodor overshadowed a lot of other plot points, including the loss of yet another direwolf, Summer, I bought this sweet wolf cookie cutter to give our fallen angel a little nod. Also, please stop killing the direwolves, you guys.



Cherry Pie filling

 2- 2 ½ lbs fresh cherries, pitted
1 to 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 tablespoons cornstarch
1 lemon squeezed

½ tsp ground cinnamon

1/8 tablespoon almond extract (optional)

Red Wine (optional)

Place cherries and sugar in a sauce pan on medium heat, covered. Cook until a considerable amount of juice is released from the cherries (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat. In a separate bowl, combine sugar, cornstarch, and cinnamon. Add to the pot and stir. Add the almond extract and lemon juice. Return the mixture to heat, stirring frequently until thick.   Taste the mixture (careful–it will be incredibly hot) and if too sweet, add a few tablespoons of red wine to temper the sweetness; I like things less sweet, so I went for it. Let cool completely in the refrigerator before using.

Pie Crust

2 ½ cups flour

1 cup butter

1 tsp salt

¾ cup ice water

1 egg white, optional (for egg wash during baking)

The secret to great pie crust (or biscuits, or any pastry, for that matter!) is that everything has to be really, really, really cold. For the butter, I freeze each stick for 15 minutes and grate through a cheese grater (I even put the cheese grater in the fridge for a few) in order to get the butter as finely shredded as possible, while not melting it. I then put the shredded butter in the freezer for about 5 more minutes because it needs to be, well, really cold. In a food processor (I even put the food processor blade in the freezer! That’s how seriously I take this really-cold business), pulse the flour, salt, and butter for about 30-45 seconds. Put the flour mixture in a large bowl, start to add the ice water, a few tablespoons at a time and mix with your hands. The other secret to good pie crust is that you shouldn’t overwork it, so don’t you dare try to knead the dough. Mix until just combined. If the mixture is too dry and crumbling after adding the ¾ c of ice water, you can add a bit more, a tablespoon at a time. It shouldn’t get too wet, or you will wind up with Play-do. Divide dough into 2 balls and tightly cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 4 hours.

On a floured surface, roll out a ball and place the crust at the bottom of the pie pan. With a fork, gently poke the bottom and sides of the crust. Place the cooled filling inside the pie. For the top layer, if you are going to make the pie look wolf-y, roll out and press the cookie cutter down, off to the side of the crust. Place crust on top of the pie and seal down the edges with the flat side of the fork. Place the cutout of the wolf on the pie.

Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Pull out of the oven and brush on the egg wash, for shine. I’m like a raccoon (I like shiny things), so I highly recommend this step. Wrap tin foil around the edges of the pie bake another 25 minutes. Cool, on the counter, uncovered, for at least 2 hours before cutting.

Overall, was this pie $100 good? Nope, but it surely was $30 good and not too sweet at all. The cherries took way too long to take the pits out with a toothpick, so next time, I will buy a cherry pitter. Most of all, I love this wolf cookie cutter (bought for $14 on Amazon from a seller named The Fussy Wolf, I kid you not), and I’m excited to make you all some wolf bread in the future.




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