...but much more rewarding.
In return for sharing the goods from his garden with me, I offered to make my friend from work whatever his heart desired. His response was immediate: blackberry pie, made with the berries he planned to pick that weekend. (Apparently I've built my reputation as a competent baker since he didn't seem to doubt for a second that I could do it.)
The berries he picked were gorgeous, but of course, the filling wasn't my major concern. Made-from-scratch pie crusts can be fickle beasts and the risk of failure is always looming. I'm pretty confident of my tried-and-true recipe, but since I hadn't made it for, oh, about a year, I was understandably apprehensive. (You may recall when I wimped out not too long ago...)
Good news--everything turned out fine. I know you're relieved. I sure was. Although I didn't get a taste, my friend said that he first ate a modest slice, decided to have a bit more, and ended up eating a third of the pie in one sitting. That's what I'm talkin' 'bout. Ah, the power of pie.
My crust recipe uses all shortening, and it's the only recipe I've ever tried. The result is a very flaky, very tender, very delicious creation. I think I'll branch out next time and try half shortening, half butter, as I've read that the butter really imparts a terrific flavor. (Well duh, Grace--how could it not?)
Breathtaking and Blissful Blackberry Pie
(a fantastic fusion of this and this)
5 cups blackberries, the more gorgeous the better
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
pie crust (see below)
In a large bowl, gently toss the blackberries with the sugar. In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch, salt, and lemon juice to make a slurry. Add the slurry to the berries and gently toss to coat. Take care not to crush the berries, for they are quite sensitive and fragile. Let this mixture sit for about 15 minutes.
My Go-To Pie Crust
(an amazing amalgam of a recipe from a card that came with my Longaberger pie plate and Cooking Light)
2 c flour
1/2 T sugar
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 c shortening, chilled
1 small egg, beaten
1/2 T vinegar
1/4 c ice water
In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, and salt. With a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in the shortening until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Mix together egg, vinegar, and ice water; add to the flour mixture. Mix until the dough is moist enough to form a ball--you may not need all the liquid. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.
Divide dough in half. Gently press each half into a 4-inch circle on 2 sheets of overlapping plastic wrap; cover with 2 additional sheets of overlapping plastic wrap. Roll 1 dough half, still covered, into a 12-inch circle. Roll the other dough half, still covered, into an 11-inch circle. Place the dough in the freezer for about 10 minutes or until the plastic wrap can be easily removed.
To assemble pie:
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Remove the top 2 sheets of plastic wrap from the 12-inch dough circle; fit dough, plastic wrap side up, into a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate coated with cooking spray, allowing the dough to extend over the edge. Remove remaining plastic wrap. Toss the berries once more and then pour into dough. Brush the edges of the dough lightly with water.
Remove the top 2 sheets of plastic wrap from the 11-inch dough circle; place, plastic wrap side up, over filling. Remove remaining plastic wrap and press the edges of the dough together. Fold edges under, and flute. Cut 4 slits into the top of the pastry using a sharp knife. If you're feeling fancy, brush the top and edges of the pie with milk and sprinkle with sugar.
Place the pie on a baking sheet and bake at 425°F for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F (do not remove pie from oven), and bake an additional 40 minutes or until golden. Cover the edge of the crust with aluminum foil if it begins to get too brown. Cool on a wire rack for as long as possible. Serve with vanilla ice cream. Seriously. That's a direct order.
August 28, 2008
...but much more rewarding.