Thursday, July 20, 2006

ECL vs Pie, Round Two

This pie has been in the making since Monday.

and scene

I tell you a story.

My roommate, who is also an acupunk, has a patient who bought a fabulous house a year ago. This fabulous house sits near the top of Mt Scott, has a commanding view of the Portland metro area, and used to belong to some fruit-obsessed people. There is a small vineyard along the south end of the yard, a super cool vine of concord grapes growing along the west facing deck, and a long row of very happy, very abundant blueberry bushes. I mean, abundant.

So abundant that this client can go out and pick close to a gallon of blueberries off of one or two bushes. There are about twelve blueberry bushes.

She has been inviting everybody she can think of to help her out and pick blueberries. And so Monday around noon, my roommate and I ambled out of the house and off we went.

There were several different varieties of blueberries: tart little ones, big fat juicy ones that tasted like grape pez, and little tiny super sweet ones. I didn't care about separating the varieties; I just started pickin'. I think my favorite were the pez flavored ones.

There is something just so satisfying about harvesting these ripe, round, full, juicy, plump, blue, happy little berries. Something in me sighed a deep sigh and let go.


When I get happy I get chatty, and so I chatted away with the blueberry bushes, admiring how well they produced, complementing how round and juicy and blue their berries were, thanking them for letting me take some of their fruit. It was a most excellent way to spend a Monday.

My roommate filled three of those big tubs you get from New Season's (you know, not the pint size tubs, the ones that holds about 2 lbs of ground meat) , I filled a gallon ice cream tub and another one of those tubs.

I decided it was time to try another pie.

Pie dough, part one:
Again, I bitch about RLB's cryptic pie dough making instructions. For an author who spends as much time as she does perfecting recipes and figuring out how to make them foolproof, I just don't get what she's trying to instruct me to do when it comes to her flaky pie crust. But, the dough came together, and seemed to be a little bit better than my first try, so I flattened it into a disk and wrapped it up and shoved it in the refrigerator.

Filling, part one:
I decided to make the open faced fresh blueberry pie because it calls for less sugar, and you really only cook down 1/4 of the berries and you don't have to roll out two pie crusts. I also decided to make the white chocolate ganache (basically white choc whipped cream) to go with it. So, off to the store I went.

...And detoured into the mall where I made a return and purchased a few lacy underthings.

Pie dough, part two:
When I returned home with all of my purchases (food and lacy things alike) I set to rolling out the dough into a huge circle. I looked for my pie plate, and I looked again. And I looked again. Huh. Where in the hoohah is my pie plate? I'm still looking for it.

Seriously. I'm still looking for it.

This set me back a bit, but I decided I could use my cast-iron skillet as a pie plate, and so the rolling of the dough continued.

Rolling out dough with a vinegar bottle has lost its fun.

the rolling pin

After a bit the dough started to get too warm so I shoved it back into the refrigerator, and got called away to a birth.

I don't think I did much about the pie situation because I had a super busy day. I don't know how I got through it all. But I did. I think this is the day I bought, out of desperation, a pie plate from the QFC on my way home from work.

Decided to finish the pie. Noticed the pie plate was a little bigger than the recipe called for, and by golly, I think it might kind of be a deep dish plate too. Oh well. By this point, I didn't care. I just wanted to finish the freaking pie.

Pie dough, part three:
I finished rolling out the dough into what I thought would be a big enough circle. I used the plastic wrap that I was rolling it between to fold it into quarters, noticed the dough was sticky, thought about giving it another rest but decided, no, I'm finishing the freaking pie tonight, and placed the dough in the pie plate. And tried to unfold it nicely, but there was tearing and general noncompliance but eventually I got the dough patched up, in the plate and the edge folded under. Okay. Back in the refrigerator to rest up.

Pie dough, part four:
A couple hours later, I gathered up my courage and blind baked the pie shell. That part seemed to go well enough. After baking and letting it cool for 3 minutes, I brushed the shell with egg white, to form a barrier between the crust and the filling.

ready for the filling

Filling, part two:
I had previously (in Filling, the prequel) separated out one cup of slightly smooshy berries to cook down. Into the pan they went with about 1/2 cup of water and I brought it to a boil. I also prepared a cornstarch slurry, measured out the 1/2 cup of sugar and squeezed a little lemon juice. When the berries almost boiled over, I turned down the heat, stirred constantly, and waited for the juices to thicken.

cooking down the berries

This is where I learned about cornstarch. In all fairness, the book did say to stir constantly, but it didn't say stir constantly when adding the cornstarch or it will congeal in one big clump. Which is kind of what happened. I broke most of it up, the berry stuff thickened up, and I took it off the heat. I added a little more than 3 cups of fresh berries to this and gently folded everything together.

And into the pie shell this berry goodness went.

And off to bed this ECL went.

Brains called to wake me up and made me go to coffee with him. I tell you, I still feel all wonky from Tuesday's birth. We agreed on caffeine and then pie. Finally! Pie time!

White Chocolate Ganache:
In a double boiler I melted my 3 oz of white chocolate with 1/4 cup of cream. This part was fine. As the chocolate/cream mixture cooled, I began to whip up the rest of the cream and got all distracted talking to Brains and cleaning up the table. When I got back to the cream, it had whipped itself up quite thoroughly, a little too thoroughly, and when I added in the chocolate and whipped it up even more, the whipped cream began to break down. Into white chocolate butter and white chocolate buttermilk.

look ma, i churned white chocolate butter!

Oh well.

The pie was pretty damn good. Sweet, but not cloying. I actually would have added less sugar if I was thinking about it because I like things to be on the tart side. The pie crust was flaky, buttery (oh so buttery!) and maybe a little too tender. It didn't really hold itself together too well. But it was Good.

lookit how pretty that pie slice is

The creamy stuff, separated as it was, was really good, too. The creamy tanginess complemented the blueberries well.

As Brains said, when he started in on his second piece, "holy antioxidant pie, Batman!"

I think that pretty much sums it up.

pie, ready for eating


  1. Anonymous21/7/06 00:31

    mmm... i would love some of this juicy plumpness you speak of. if im good, maybe i can get me some!

  2. yes, if you are good. or naughty. that works too.

  3. um, who is the perv lurking on your blog, dyanara?

  4. Hmmm. Can't say that I'm that into adding sugar to the mix. The secret is to take some the berries and cook them down with a pear or two. Blend the cooked mixture, and then reduce to 1/3 the orginal amount. Oh, and add Ge Gen (Aka Kudzu) powder as a thickener. Way better than drugs and almost better than sex...

    I won't even get started about the topping. Just not a topping sort of guy...

  5. My pie story is now ready for consumption...

  6. Given all the trauma involved in making this pie, it looks pretty good to me.

  7. thanks, BBC. I've been following your bread escapdes with much interest!