No? No one gets my Captain von Trapp quote? FINE. It's not too early for the blueberries (they came into season about 2 weeks ago), but that's one of my favorite scenes in my favorite movie of all time, and it's about berry picking. And lies. What a combo.
I digress. What does I digress mean, anyways? Seems like it would be appropriate here. Wait, this is supposed to be a food blog? Ok, ok. I'm going berry picking with the girls on Sunday (girls? I have girls? this is very, very new). Exciting because it means a) I have real live friends b) I'm going BERRY PICKING!! and c) I am fully planning on making a raspberry pie on Sunday evening. One summer in my adolescence, we picked raspberries in Omaha. I tried making a pie that night (my first and last since then, I believe), and it totally collapsed on the kitchen floor for some reason (or maybe I dropped it). Sad day. I'm back to redeem myself!
We got this beauty as a wedding gift at one of my showers:
and I can't wait to use it!
Here's the plan (I'm on a Bittman kick, what can I say?):
Blueberry and Other Berry Pies
from How To Cook Everything by Mark Bittman
5 cups blueberries (I'll probably use raspberries), picked over, briefly rinsed, and lightly dried
1/2 to 1 cup sugar, depending on your taste and the sweetness of the berries, plus a little for the top of the pie
2 tablespoons cornstarch or 3 tablespoons instant tapioca (increase either by 1 tablespoon for blackberry or raspberry pie)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch ground allspice or nutmeg
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon minced lemon zest (optional)
1 recipe Pie Shell for a Two-Crust Pie, bottom crust fitted into a 9-inch pie pan, top crust transferred to a rimless baking sheet, both refrigerated
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits
Milk as needed
1. Gently toss the berries with the sugar, thickener, salt, and spices. Stir in the lemon juice and optional zest and pile into the rolled-out shell, making the pile alittle higher in the center than on the sides. Dot with butter. Cover with the top crust. Decorate the edges with a fork or your fingers. Refrigerate while you preheat the oven to 450.
2. Place the pie on a baking sheet and brush the top lightly with milk; sprinkle with sugar. Use a sharp paring knife to cut two or three 2-inch-long vent holes in the top crust; this will allow steam to escape. Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 and bake another 40 to 50 minutes, or until the pie is golden brown. Do not underbake. Cool on a rack before serving warm or at room temperature.
Oh, did I forget something? What? You want the crust recipe too? So greedy. It's unclear from his notes in the book whether you make one whole giant ball and then divide it in half, or you do the whole process twice if you're making a 2-crust pie, since this recipe is originally just for 1 crust, and he writes a little bit about 2 crusts at the end. I might play it safe and do the whole thing twice. I've already modified the quantities to include both batches.
Flaky Pie Crust for a 2-crust pie
From How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus some for dusting work surface
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into about 16 pieces
About 6 tablespoons ice water, plus more if necessary
1. Combine the flour, salt, and sugar in the container of a food processor; pulse once or twice. Add the butter and turn on the machine; process until the butter and flour are blended and the mixture looks like cornmeal, about 10 seconds.
2. Place the mixture in a bowl and sprinkle 6 tablespoons of water over it. Use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to gradually gather the mixture into a ball; if the mixture seems dry, add another 1/2 tablespoon ice water. When you can make the mixture into a ball with your hands, do so. Wrap in plastic, flatten into a small disk, and freeze the dough for 10 minutes (or refrigerate for 30 minutes); this will ease rolling. (You can also refrigerate the dough for a day or two, or freeze it almost indefintely.)
3. You can roll the dough between two sheets of plastic wrap, usually quite successfully; sprinkle both sides of it with a little more flour, then proceed. Or sprinkle a countertop or large board with flour. Unwrap the dough and place in on the work surface; sprinkle its top with flour. If the dough is hard, let it rest for a few minutes; it should give a little when you press your fingers into it.
4. Roll with light pressure, from the center out. (If the dough seems very sticky at first, add flour liberally; but if it becomes sticky only after you roll it for a few minutes, return it to the refrigerator for 10 minutes before proceeding.) Continue to roll, adding small amounts of flour as necessary, rotating the dough occasionally, and turning it over once or twice during the process. (Use ragged edges of dough to repear any tears, adding a drop of water while you press the patch into place.) When the dough is about 10 inches in diameter (it will be less than 1/3 inch thick), place your pie plate upside down over it to check the size.
5. Move the dough into the pie plate by draping it over the rolling pin or by folding it into quarters, then moving it into the plate and unfolding it. When the dough is in the plate, press it firmly into the bottom, sides, and junction of bottom and sides. Trim the excess dough to about 1/2 inch all around, then tuck it under itself around the edge of the plate. Decorate the edges with a fork or your fingers. Freeze the dough for 10 minutes (or refrigerate it for 30 minutes)
6. When you're ready to bake, prick it all over with a fork.