Sunday, February 08, 2015

The Baking Bible: Black and Blueberry Pie

So this week is a catch-up week for the Alpha Bakers, which means we can either bake a recipe we missed, or redo one we messed up, or bake a variation, or take a week off. I have missed three projects to date, so I decided to play catch-up.


Out of all the projects I missed, I had already halfway begun the Black and Blueberry Pie so that is what I chose to finish. I had made the pastry then got pretty sick so I froze the dough for another time. In the meantime, the bakers had some problems with this pie so in retrospect I'm glad I got to bake it at a later date when I can benefit from all of the others experiences. (Thanks, guys!)

So here's a recap of the shenanigans: some of us lamented baking a summer berry pie in the dead of winter when fresh berries were hard to come by and in poor quality. Rose chimed in that we could use frozen berries no problem, just leave them frozen and bake for a longer time, tenting the pie with foil once the crust browns. So we all said, "hooray" and then things unraveled. Most bakers had very runny pies with unthickened juices, ack! Those that did not, were those that had defrosted their berries. Rose chimed in again, reminding us that we would have needed to bake the pie for longer and to tent the pie with foil once the crust was browned, and added that the cornstarch in the filling wouldn't activate until the filling had reached 212°F. Then a day or two later she suggested next time to defrost the berries, reduce the juices by half, then mix in all the cornstarch and stuff and then bake the pie. Vicki made a second pie and tried this method, with winning results.

Rose said she based her "frozen berries are ok" on her Blackberry Pie in The Pie and Pastry Bible, which she recommends baking frozen as frozen blackberries tend to be sweeter and have softer seeds. I went back and looked at that recipe, and there again she mentioned if baking with frozen berries the pie would need as much as 25 extra minutes to bake thoroughly, plus the foil tent and the 212°F. So I decided to try to bake the pie with frozen berries as she had intended and see if it could be done. Why not.

The cornstarch, sugar, and lemon zest and juice are mixed together then the frozen berries are tossed in. This sits for about 10 minutes to let the berries juice out a teeny bit, then they are tossed around again to evenly distribute the cornstarch and stuff. Then the filling is dumped into the pie, the top crust is laid on, and the pie rests for 1 hour in the refrigerator. Then the pie is baked, and after about 35 minutes as the crust is browned, a large piece of foil with a vent cut in the top goes over the whole pie and now you wait until the juices are bubbling thickly at 212°F. My oven must be low because this took almost another hour!

focus on the perfect filling! not the lack of flaky pastry!

Well, it did work! However there was some spilling over of about 1/4 cup of juices due to my poorly crimped pie crust, and I don't know if that influenced my filling results. My pie crust overall was very sad as I lost my patience rolling it out and all the butter softened and my crust was 100% NOT flaky. The filling? Perfect! The crust? Sigh. I am not a very patient person, and this is why pie crust and me are not friends yet. But let's focus on the filling. It worked! Hooray!
 
look at the ooze :( you should see the bottom of the pie plate!









13 comments:

  1. Hi Jen , love your black and blue berry pie, it looks lovely what a great ideas for the Catchup is to make your pie that is black blueberry pie, your pictures are nice.

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  2. Your pie looks delicious, Jen!! I also baked this pie this week. Pie crust is so worth the effort. Sometimes it's my favorite part of the pie! I will get my results up tomorrow. I hope you will take a look when I do! Best wishes--Michele

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  3. Oh thanks for all the conversation recap on the frozen berries drama. Your pie looks great. I'm sorry to hear about the pie crust - I hope you'll try it again though, this is the best pie crust!

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  4. I share your pastry angst. Repeat after me: by the end of this project, we will conquer pie dough!

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  5. Oh my gosh that makes me want a piece of that pie again! Favorite filling ever. Crust was a bit of a sticky wicket. I wonder if freezing the dough since it had cream cheese made a difference? Or could be Mercury in retrograde is not through with the shenanigans.

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  6. Jen, you pie looks great! When can I come over? HE HE I am making a pie tonight for my catch up and have taken some extra time to do some research on pie dough as I also had issues with the Black and Blueberry Pie dough. I have two excellent resources that I am using as my basis for education; one is Patricia's blog from the Black and Blueberry Pie at www.butteryum.com; she gives excellent step by step instructions with dynamic pictures to walk us through the process; the second is a website someone referred us to ( Sorry, can't recall who recommended this site but it is amazing!) http://www.joepastry.com/category/pastry-components/pie-crust/perfect-pie-crust/ Hope this helps and Happy Baking!

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  7. Flaky crust or not, it still looks delicious. Someday pie crust will be your friend!

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  8. For the record, I think your pie crust looks wonderful - too bad you didn't like the way it turned out. I've been making pie crust for years and years and I have to say, the making by hand technique given for that particular pie isn't easy at all. I'll never make one that way again, that's for sure. Anyway, so glad you liked the pie filling. Here's to making up with pie crust some day ;).

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  9. I agree with Patricia, your crust looks great! And your filling looks fantastic too - so perfectly baked. Yum. Looking over everyone's posts is making me crave all the bakes of weeks gone by...pie and gingersnaps, oh my!

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  10. Your pie looks perfect to me! Actually, the filling is more important right? I mean the crust is so thin, so getting the filling right is the way to go imo. :)

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  11. I wish I had as much success with my pie as you did with yours. Gosh, your filling stayed in tact! I think it looks wonderful. Congratulations Jenn.

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  12. I too suffer from a sad lack of patience which translates to less than perfect baking. I think you might be selling yourself short though since the pie looks good to me. I can't believe how much we've baked already, the pie seems so long ago!

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