Moonshine is a real part of Appalachian culture, and because of this, I wanted the scenes in Be Still My Soul that revolve around it to be as authentic as possible. I also wanted Gideon’s journey to be real. As the hero of the story, he struggles with putting alcohol above the people in his life, early on. But thankfully, there is no struggle too great for God to work and Gideon will grow throughout the book. Here is a brief scene that shows part of his journey:
Bert motioned to the still. The big pot, capped with a lid, seemed to be made of solid copper. A small hose poked out and curved down into a simple green jar, then, as if the hose couldn’t make up its mind, it bobbed out, running down into a galvanized pot.
Bert held up the offering.
Gideon hesitated. Battled. And when his heart lost, he reached for it.
With a chuckle, Bert drew it back. “Ain’t you gonna pay first?”
Pay? Gideon patted his pocket. “I don’t have any money.”
Bert set the jar beside him. “Aw, shucks.”
Even as he spoke, Gideon detested the desperation in his own voice. “I could pay you next time I see you.” Just walk away.
Bert shook his head. “I’ve been burned enough times by that promise.”
His men laughed.
Heat splintered along Gideon’s neck. He took a few steps back and folded his arms across his chest. He wanted to leave.
Bert took a swig, his eyes keen, focused. Gideon’s mouth watered, and he fought the urge, knowing his escape had already been granted. His thumb found his ring finger. The metal was cold to the touch.
Bert followed the movement.
Shutting off all his thoughts, Gideon slid the metal from his finger.
A subtle nod was enough for him to hand it out. Bert took it and studied it a moment, displeasure in his face. Gideon knew it wasn’t worth much. But surely it was worth enough.
Bert butted the quart jar onto his knee. “All right.”
Gideon stared at his ring in the man’s palm. Shame coursed through him, like the hot liquid itself. His fingers itched for the glass, and he forced his eyes away from the only thing Lonnie had ever given him. “Are you sure?”
Bert rolled his eyes and thrust the drink toward Gideon.
The jar was cool in his hand—the glass icy smooth—but the liquid burned as it slid down his throat. Instead of feeling satisfaction, guilt settled into the pit of his stomach.
“You know what? I changed my mind.” He held out the jar. “Keep it.”
Bert made a face—his annoyance clear. After hesitating a moment, he snatched the drink back. “Suit yerself.”
“I’ll take that ring back.”
I spent a great deal of research on moonshining. I’ve found the culture around it fascinating, the drink itself thought provoking, and the beauty of victory over sin–glorious.
A taboo topic, moonshine is, yes. Still, I’m a hands on research kinda girl. It’s one of my favorite things to do. But this was no rug braiding or soap making. We’re talking moonshine. Real, live Appalachian moonshine. And if I were to get my hands on some…what to do with it?
Well, other than the obvious *wink*
I did a little brainstorming on recipe ideas but had to sit on this awhile because, well, I just couldn’t find any moonshine in California, and I figured the “Adventures of Country Living : Moonshine Still” would be a little too authentic. Hehe. Not too mention I’d scare the neighbors. Then, recently some friends of ours were traveling to Tennessee…and the idea once again sparked. And yep…they brought me a little souvenir :D
Welcome to the Adventures of Country Living: Moonshine Pecan Pie. :)
Moonshine Pecan Pie with Butterscotch:
You will need one pie crust (I use Ina Garten’s recipe and LOVE it, but I know most folks have a family favorite, so use what you like best!)
5 Tbsp butter
1c. light brown sugar, packed
3/4 c light corn syrup
1/2 tsp salt
Heat this in a sauce pan until bubbling. Allow to bubble rapidly for about a minute, stirring gently. Turn off the heat and set aside to cool slightly.
Meanwhile, in a bowl, beat together:
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 Tbsp Moonshine
Now you’re going to want to temper the egg mixture. Add a few tablespoons of the warm sugar-butter sauce to the egg mixture and stir quickly, do this several times, mixing quickly and then pour all of the egg mixture into the sauce pan and mix well. Gently stir in:
2 cups pecans
1/2 cup butterscotch chips
(I had asked my hubby what he thought about the idea of me adding in butterscotch chips. He said that he’d never known butterscotch chips to make anything worse, so with those words of wisdom, I dumped them in :D And I am SO glad because they really give this pie something special.)
Mix the pie filling well and pour into the prepared (uncooked) shell. I wanted to do something fallish, so I poked around in my cookie cutters and found an owl that felt sort of festive, and I cut out a scrap of dough for the middle. :) Gently place the pie in the oven for about 1 hour @ 350 degrees. Allow to cool and set and enjoy!
Before I go, I just want to say one more thank you to all of you who joined us for the Hope Chronicles this week and for visiting my blog here for Lonnie’s letter! We drew the winners and I’ve announced them there at the end of the comments! :)