We just finished watching Pushing Daisies on Blu-Ray (alas, it got cancelled after two seasons). It’s a show made for the format with super-saturated colors and a very stylish look that really sparkles on a high definition television. The main character of the show is a pie-maker and seeing all the great pies on the show triggered an interest in making pies as something more than the occasional apple pie for a potluck or baking a pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. So, at least for now, I’m making pies on the weekend.
Pie number one was a double-crust peach pie. The peaches were a little under-ripe, and I think the filling had too much almond extract in it, but it was still really good. The crust is a very simple butter crust (½ cup butter, 1 2/3 cup flour, 5 T ice water for a double-crust or 1/3 cup butter, 1 cup flour, 3 T ice water for a single crust), with 40% whole wheat flour. I’ve also started using chilled vodka for some of the ice water. According to Cook’s Illustrated it acts as enough of a binding liquid to allow you to shape the dough, but when it bakes the alcohol evaporates, leaving a drier and flakier crust than if you’d used water.
Blueberry / cranberry pie
Pie number two didn’t quite come out as expected because I wasn’t able to get the quantity of blueberries that the recipe called for, and I mis-calculated the difference between a 9” and 9 ½” deep dish pie plate. I wound up adding a sliced peach and apple to the top of the filling so I’d have enough fruit to fill the pie, but either I didn’t add enough cornstarch for the additional fruit or I didn’t bake it long enough so it’s a bit runny. It tastes great, though (I mean, pie, right?). The cranberries are actually lowbush cranberry (sometimes called lingonberry), which isn’t quite the same thing as the berry most people buy in the supermarket around Winter Solstice, but they do offer a nice tartness and red color to the purple-blue sweetness of blueberries. And they’re local, from the Farmer’s Market.