Category Archives: Fruit Pies

Taking Blueberry to the Next Level

Blueberry pie was near the top of my list when I began brainstorming pies for this project. (I’m always looking for new recipes and regional favorites so please send them my way if you would would be so kind. I will gladly give you credit and invite you over for a slice if you’re local.) Blueberries are very easy to find around these parts and who doesn’t love the blurple tint it leaves on your lips, teeth, and clothes (if you’re a klutz like me)? Blueberries are awesome. Just sayin’.

While perusing a “Baking with Julia” cookbook, I found a recipe for a Blueberry-Nectarine Pie that sounded absolutely fabulous. I eagerly awaited the fruit coming into season and pounced once I found the best berries and nectarines at the market. I try to use fresh, local, organic fruit when I can because I like to keep it real. My recipe is slightly different than the original, because that’s how I roll.

Blueberry-Nectarine Pie

4 cups (2 pints) fresh blueberries
2 cups (3-4) nectarines
½-¾ cups sugar (depends on how sweet you like your pie)
1½ tbs flour
1 tsp lemon zest
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbs butter, cut into small pieces to dot top of pie

Place half of the fruit in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add sugar, flour and lemon zest. Stir to mix and bring to a soft boil. Simmer over low heat, stirring frequently until sauce thickens. Add lemon juice to taste. (I added all the lemon juice because I like the tang.) Remove from heat and stir into bowl with remaining fruit. Let cool as you roll out your crust.

Now, this is where you decide. Are you making your own crust, like the flaky pastry or the pate brisee? Or are you using a prepared pie crust? It’s up to you. I won’t judge you (in front of your face). I will just make fun of your behind your back. You do know that the Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust is made with lard, right? If you like lard, go for it. I prefer not to.

Once you have your prepared pie pastry, pour in the fruit and dot with butter. Add the top crust, crimp the edges, and slice vents for steam. Decorate with extra pastry scraps if you desire. I like to add hearts to my pies.  Bake at 375 degrees for 50 minutes.

I was told that this was the best pie I had ever made. I have heard this statement about my previous pies, so apparently my mad pie skills are improving with each new pastry perfection. That makes me very happy.

Blueberries and nectarines

I always make my fruit pose for a photo before I slice them up

Ingredient check list

Just a few ingredients make for a delicious melody in your mouth

In the pot

Simmer half of the fruit with sugar, flour, and zest until sauce thickens

Now we're cooking

Thick and lovely, look at those deliciously dark berries!

Fresh from the oven

Here's the finished pie, not perfectly pretty by oh, so tasty

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Once You Go Blackberry….

If I had to pick a favorite berry, it would definitely be the blackberry. The darker the berry, the sweeter the juice, right? I used to pick wild blackberries in a field near my childhood home in Sarasota. There was something dangerous and exciting about picking the berries, like we thought there was a slight chance they were poisonous and all of us neighborhood kids would be dead by sunset. As you can see, we survived. And those blackberries were exceptionally tasty. Mmm…. Danger tastes good. Plus blackberries are just so darn pretty.

Still Life with Blackberries

This is one of the pies I baked with my defective “perfect” pastry, the dough was too moist and just crumbled apart. Yes, I was sad but pie should not make you cry, so I sucked it up and enjoyed the deliciousness of my ugly pie.

Again, this a pretty standard recipe for all types of fruit pies. So easy and delicious.

Blackberry Pie

4 cups fresh blackberries
1/2 cup sugar
3 tbs flour
1 tbs lemon juice
1 tbs unsalted butter (cut up in small pieces)

Mix berries with sugar, flour, and lemon juice. Pour into prepared pie pastry. Dot with butter and top with lattice crust or whole crust sliced with steam vents and decorated as you wish. Bake in a preheated 350° oven for about an hour, or until bubbling and golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

Berries, sugar, flour, lemon juice, and love

Look how pretty all plopped in a pie

And here is my failed lattice top. *sigh* Looks more like snakes.

I will report that my official taste-tester declared this pie to be the best he’d ever had.  Two thumbs up and sweet declarations of yumminess. So my theory of taste over looks still stands. WINNING!

She’s a Peach of a Pie

It’s summertime so I’ve been all about the fresh fruit pies. Blackberry, Blueberry-Nectarine, and now Peach. These fruit pies are best served warm with vanilla ice cream. Mmm…. Pie à la mode. The filling is easy, really. Fresh fruit, sugar, flour, butter, fresh lemon juice. That’s basically it. The hard part is the crust. This is why people buy frozen or refrigerated crusts. Great in a pinch but isn’t homemade the absolute best? The homemade crust, even when it’s too crumbly and falls apart, is still delicious. I like the crust a little salty to play off of the sweet-tart fruit. Ice cream just takes it to the next level.

I used the butter and shortening pastry for the blackberry and blueberry-nectarine pies (recipes to come, be patient!) and Martha’s recipe for pate brisee for today’s peach pie.

Pate Brisee

2½ cups all-purpose, unbleached flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
3-4 tbs ice water

Using your hands, a food processor, or stand mixer, mix the dry ingredients. Add butter and coat with flour before mixing. Mix until a coarse meal forms. You will still see pieces of butter. Add water one tablespoon at a time until dough sticks together and forms large clumps. Pat dough together in a ball, cut in half, and form two discs on waxed paper or plastic wrap. Chill at least two hours or over night. Remove from fridge 15 minutes before rolling. May be frozen for a few weeks. Thaw in fridge.

When I made the pate brisee last night I was planning on making a single crust peach and creme fraiche pie that I found on Martha’s site, alas, I changed my mind and thought I would attempt my second lattice top. LOL. I really think the dough needs to have an egg yolk in it to make it a bit stronger to endure the “weaving” of a true lattice top. I saw a pretty twisty lattice design in my (was my Mom’s) Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, but this dough wouldn’t have held up for that. It baked up deliciously puffy in a sort-of lattice top (no real weaving; I faked it) and I accept that. Practice and experimentation makes perfect, right? More pie!

Here is my twist on the peach pie recipe in my Better Home and Gardens (LOL! I typed Better Hoes and Gardens the first time!)

Buttercup’s Peach Pie

5 cups (6 small or 5 medium) sliced peaches, local and organic preferred
¾ cup sugar
3 tbs flour
¼ tsp fresh ground nutmeg
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 tbs butter (dotted on top of filling)
Splash of Cointreau or other orange liqueur

Mix it all together and throw it in the pie crust. Top with a second crust with vents or a lattice top. Easy as pie. Bake in a preheated 400° oven for 40-45 minutes. First 20 minutes in the lower part of the oven, last 20 minutes in the middle. This will bake the bottom pastry faster to avoid the dreaded soggy bottom.  Time may vary as oven temps often do, so keep an eye out for the browning crust. Let cool on a wire rack. Tastes best served warm with vanilla ice cream, or fresh whipped cream, or straight up. NOM.

See pretty photos now?

Slicing peaches is easy as peach pie

Peaches are pretty

So few ingredients, so easy to make

More buttah? Yes, more buttah

Start on the lower rack, then move to the middle

Peach Pie

Looks good, right? You can hardly tell my lattice top is a fake. SHHHHHHH!