Before you read this, here’s the thing that’s made me happiest in the past few weeks. Hope it does the same for you:
Want to know how behind I am? I made the pie I’m eventually going to tell you all about a month and a half ago! That’s like eight months in dog years! Or…wait.
So, excuses, excuses. I have lots of those! Everything seems to be falling apartment…oh, oops, Freudian slip there, ay friends? Well, I’ll leave it in, because MOVING SUCKS. Searching for an apartment, an affordable apartment, SUCKS. It’s scary and it SUCKS. And I’ve done it too many times in the past year. Sucks sucks sucks to you, apartment sitch.
Okay, so there’s the whole searching-for-a-new-home-for-the-millionth-frigging-time thing. There’s also the fact that I am currently sporting 23 GIGANTIC mosquito bites on my legs, arms and face. I look like a skydiving accident victim. F–k you, lone vampire who attacked me mercilessly.
There’s also kind of this random feeling useless and bad about myself thing that I experience, oh, about three times a year that seems to have decided to linger for much too long this time around. I’m your typical (I hope?) mid-twenties youngin’ who’s desperate for direction and meaning, who’s scared she’ll maybe never find it. Look at me being all open and honest with ya’ll! Feels good, huh? (No. Feels kind of embarrassing, but I cannot tell a lie.)
Anyway, at least I can feel good about the fact that I’ve finally maybe sort of mastered the art of the pie crust! I had help, of course, from a trusty food processor (Finally! Thanks Parents!) and a patient and adept boyfriend, who aided in the roll-out process. So, clearly, this was a team effort involving Ma, Pa and a boy named Jim. Hugs and smooches, you willing and unwilling participants. Let’s do this, starting with the pie crust.
Easy-With-A-Food-Processor Crust (makes enough for 2 crusts)
taken from Serious Eats
2 3/4 cups of flour, more on hand if necessary
2 tablespoons of sugar
1 teaspoon of salt
2 1/2 sticks, or 20 tablespoons, of cold butter, cut into small pieces
6 tablespoons of ice-cold water
Note: Before I continue, I must share this bit of nerdy, fascinating information with all of you. The author of the above recipe also developed a different pie crust recipe, which I have yet to try, in which half of the ice water is replaced with vodka. Vodka impedes gluten formation, which supposedly allows the dough to form a flakier, more layered and delicate crust. I haven’t tried it yet, but if any of you do, please let me know your results!
Combine 2/3 of your flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of your food processor. Pulse twice to incorporate all ingredients. Spread pieces of butter evenly on top of mixture, and pulse until small clumps begin to form, about 25 short pulses. Using a rubber spatula, spread the dough evenly inside of the bowl. Sprinkle remaining flour in bowl and pulse just until dough is slightly broken apart, 5 or so short pulse. Transfer dough to a large bowl. Sprinkle water over dough and, using rubber spatula, fold dough together until it forms a ball. Divide the dough in half, then form each half into a 4-inch disk. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate (at least 2 hours) if using within a couple of days or freeze for up to 4 months.
Typically, when rolling out dough that’s been refrigerated, it’s a good idea to let it rest on your counter for about 10 minutes. This gives the dough just enough time to soften up before handling. You don’t want the dough too soft, as this plus all of the handling you will be inevitably doing will disturb your crust too much. That’s uncool.
Then give the dough to a trusted adult to roll out. No joke, the arms in the below photo are white because they belong to my boyfriend, not me, as I am not capable of neatly doing anything. This is not because I am brown, please do not misunderstand my decision to point out my boyfriend’s skin color. Ah, crap. Please know what I mean.
Essentially, you don’t want to roll back and forth. On a floured surface, roll out from the middle of the disk of dough, trying not to “steamroll” too much over any areas, as this dough is pretty sensitive. Roll each disk into 9-inch flat circular-ish things. Line the bottom of a pie plate with one, then chill along with the top half, which, um, just kind of has to chill by itself.
Mixed Berry Pie Filling
4 ounces granulated sugar
1.5 ounces of cornstarch (a little more if you want a more gelatinous pie, a little less if you want a runnier pie)
24 ounces of mixed berries
Zest of 1 lemon
1 egg, beaten, plus one pinch of salt
Preheat your oven to 425ºF. In a small bowl, whisk together sugar, cornstarch and berries until berries are fully coated in the mixture. Pour berries into the pie shell, like so:
Cover with the top half of your dough, crimp the edges, and chill in refrigerator for at least 20 minutes.
Brush the top of the dough with egg mixture, and cut a few slits on top of pie to allow for air to escape. If you’ll notice, I cut something else in too (this was an Independence Day pie, just so you all know exactly how behind I am).
Bake on the lowest rack of your oven for 20 minutes, rotating the pie halfway through baking.
Adjust oven temperature to 375ºF, and continue to bake pie until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling over a bit, about 25-30 minutes. If parts of the crust begin to look to dark, you can carefully cover them with pieces of foil.
Allow pie to cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.
If you’ve checked out the original recipe, you’ll notice that I’ve cut the sugar in the filling down by half, as I’ve been tending to do in recent posts, to see if anyone misses it. This was given to my parents, sisters and boyfriend, and not one person complained (I know, I know, they all love me, but they all are also secure enough to yap and fret about anything. What I’m saying is they’re honest). Everyone went for seconds, some even with a huge dollop of vanilla ice cream on top of their slices. In fact, even my dad (who does not love the art of baking) was pleasantly surprised. Hell, he might be coming around to this pastime of mine! Papa, feel free to comment!
Also, since my household believes in recycling, we decided to shove the bit of leftover pie dough we had into a mini-muffin tin, and layer mini marshmallows, chocolate chips and graham cracker bits on top. Into the oven this lone mini-mini-pie went for 7 minutes at 375ºF.
And it was gone in three bites (only one of which was mine). YUM.