One of the great redeeming qualities of the Spring and Summer heat in South Carolina is the abundance of berries and stone fruits. Every Saturday at the farmers market, I load up on local peaches, plums, and berries. I know berry season only has a few more weeks so I am baking, cooking, freezing blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and raspberries by the pound. Many pounds actually.
My favorite way to eat them is simply not to mess up with them too much…Cut up with with a little lemon juice and creme fraiche. Sometimes vanilla bean ice cream. Lately it’s been with lots of lemon-lavender ice cream though. A whisper and a soft cloud with every bite. Sometimes, it’s simple compote with some honey and lemon-thyme or lemon verbena and we have that with a few shortbread cookies for dessert or a snack.
And then there are pies. Many days. Many pie days. Indeed. You know, with a nickname such as Tartelette that there are going to be quite many pies made around our house. I don’t know. It’s a never ending world of never ending possibilities. I always love seeing other people pie creations. They inspire. They make me hungry and then they make me head back into the kitchen to bake more pie…!
When I caught a glimpse of the Twitter conversation that Shauna, Garrett, Irvin, Justin and Ashley were engaged in one evening, I knew good things would ensue. Within a few short minutes, lots of people started telling them about their favorite pies, tarts, crust and fillings. I got hungry. Again. And decided to head to bed before being tempted to make a pie at two in the morning! I woke up to a delightful and spontaneous virtual Pie event taking place July 5th. I told you these guys were up to plenty of good.
So if you see an avalanche of pies on food blogs, Facebook and Twitter today, do not turn away. Do not worry about the state of the world. If anything it just became sweeter. Just give in. Read for a while and then run to make a pie!
I made one of my favorite pies. A simple mixed berries pies served with whipped cream and a bit of powdered sugar. I added some lemon verbena to the fruits and that pretty much sealed the deal for us. Different. Intoxicating and perfectly soft on the first bite. Evocative on the last.
Pies. People. Make pies…
I am heading out to Salt Lake City today where I will be teaching a workshop organized by Heidi of Foodie Crush, then heading out to Park City, to take part in Evo 11 conference. The line up of panels, workshops and speakers is pretty amazing and inspiring. You can follow along on Twitter with the hashtag #evoconf.
I have to take work with me (proposals and assignments are never truly on hold) but I do plan on taking plenty of notes and pictures to share as much information as possible when I head back. Have a great week!
Mixed Berry Pie:
Makes one 9-inch pie
For the crust (pate brisee)
2/3 cup millet flour
1/3 cup superfine white rice flour
1/4 cup sorghum flour
(or you can use 1&1/4 cup all purpose flour instead of the 3 flours mentioned above)
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
8 tablespoons butter, very cold and cut in 1/2 inch dice
2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup ice water
1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water (to brush on the top crust)
In a large bowl, mix together the millet, rice and sorghum flour. Add the powdered sugar and mix. Add the cold butter and mix with a pastry cutter or your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the water, one tablespoon at a time and mix until the dough comes together in a ball. Flatten into a disk in between your hands and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 30 minutes (you can make it the day before too)
For the filling:
1/2 cup blueberries
1 cup strawberries (cut in half or quarters – depending on size)
1/2 cup blackberries
1 cup raspberries
zest and juice of one lemon
1 tablespoon fresh chopped lemon verbena (optional)
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot
Directions: Place all these ingredients into one large bowl and mix together well. Let set for 20 to 30 minutes.
When ready to bake the pie, preheat the oven to 350F and position a rack in the middle.
Divide the pie into two balls, one slightly larger than the other. Roll the larger ball to 1/8-inch thickness on a floured work surface. Place in your pie plate and trim the excess all around the pan. Add the fruit mixture and spread out evenly on the bottom and pressing them down slighly. Roll the second ball of dough to also 1/8-inch thick and cut 1/4-inch strips from it. Layer them on top of the pie. Brush with the egg wash and bake for 30-40 minutes.