Saturday, July 02, 2011

Blueberry Saturday (and peach and lemon)

blueberry.saturday

5 PIES is my contribution to our upcoming long weekend at my parents' house. I was planning only 4- two blueberry and two peach- but I had all this leftover crust that could not be wasted (never), so I got out my good ole Betty Crocker classic cookbook and looked for something that I had the ingredients for- erhh something that between myself and my neighbor, Karen, had the ingredients for (thanks Karen- even trade I think, we just gave your Josh two of our Wii remotes). Anyhoo, I have some words about baking. I am not big on baking. Maybe because I am not big on sweets or cakes too much. Except for pie. I lurve making pie. I make such a gianormous mess that the finished pie ends up being the apology to my husband for making such a mess of his kitchen (It is his kitchen- he cleans it, I cook in it. He can have it. I will happily keep cooking.) In general I like to cook a lot. Free style with of course our favorite, simple, memorized standards thrown in. Baking requires getting measurements just so, and chemical reactions that I don't have the desire or patience to understand and that's not so much my thing. Yet I find (and this is why I like it) that I can pretty much just throw a pie together (easy as..... that's right, pie). Jeff's eyebrows formed a bracket parentheses over his morning coffee cup today when he watched me pour sugar straight from the bag under my right arm into a giant bowl of blueberries as I stirred with my left and balanced my mom on the phone on my shoulder chatting away about other food we're planning. I'm not bragging, (nkay, maybe a little) its just that for me to like any kind of cooking/baking/preparing it has to be able to be done pretty much like the above described scene and still taste great. I have over the years (ugggh that makes me sound so old) figured out how to make a few kinds of pie taste great, so I thought I would share some of my little maybe-not-secrets, but special to me ways of making a couple.

Double Pie Crust:
2/3 cup softened Kerry's Irish Butter (not softend in the microwave, just leave it out for a bit first)
2 cups flour (I use White Lily)
6-7 tbsp of water/orange juice mixture (equal parts)

Chop the butter into about a dozen pieces in glass bowl. Pour the flour over it, and keep chopping through the butter, which will start to blend the flour. Once butter pieces are about the size of grapes, move to using one of those dough blender things with the wires until the floured butter balls are about the size of peas. Then sprinkle in the tbsps of water/OJ over everything as you toss the dough with a fork to mix- don't try to stir. Once the dough is about like crumbly sugar cookie dough, dump it (even if it feels too crumby) onto a generously sized sheet of wax paper. Fold opposite ends of the wax paper up over the dough and press into the dough using the wax paper to press from opposing directions instead of your bare hands. Do the same from the other two directions. Continue to knead the dough in this manner, pressing it into a firm shape with the wax paper, (it shouldn't take more than about 7 or 8 good presses) then wrap it up in the wax paper and stick in the fridge for at least 30 min before you use it. When you're ready to use it, let it stand at room temperature for about 5 or 10 minutes before dividing and rolling out.

Blueberry Filling:
The amount of blueberries I use depends on the size of the pan obviously, but I like a heaping amount, so I usually have more than I need- maybe 4 cups or so. I do just pour sugar in until it looks about right- if I had to guess I would say about 1 or 1-1/2 cups. I also drizzle in about 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, 1/2 tsp finely grated lemon peel, and about a tbsp of flour.
~or~
Peach Filling:
Same as above on amounts of fruit, sugar, and flour, but I also use about a tsp of cinnamon and sprinkle about 1/2 tsp almond extract

My American grandmother always made so many pies for us ravenous grandchildren. Tons. Some visits she would make up to 8 pies or so. I guess I'm getting there myself. With today's leftover crust I decided to try a Lemon Meringue pie. I know. You have to be pretty precise about the glossiness and peekiness of your meringue peeks and all but I actually really enjoyed making it. I'll get back to you if its good, it sure looks all fluffy, toasty and delicious. The house was so quiet while Jeff went to retrieve four kids from a week-long camp, Roman napped and Eleni cuddled with a quilt in front of some cartoons. For once I wasn't sewing or stitching during that peaceful time. But was covered in flour, apron over my nightgown, jumpy on coffee, nibbling on leftover bacon, and teaching myself how to make a new kind of pie using my own and borrowed ingredients.

I felt so happy, if not just slightly American.
Happy Independence Day!
xo,AM

37 comments:

  1. Uuuuh, YUM!! Think I'm going to add that recipe to my queue. Bluuuuueeeeeberries. mmmmm.

    Lily
    http://tiny-yellow-bird.blogspot.com/

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  2. Isn't pie the BEST? Rhubarb is my all time favorite. We're having the big family meal at our house, but I'm making a chocolate eclair cake for dessert. It's too hot to bake in Michigan today. :-) Happy 4th!

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  3. In my opinion, pies are so much better than cake. Maybe it's just the nostalgia factor, since my grandmother and my mother made pies, not cakes, for the most part. Lemon Meringue Pie is worth every extra effort. And it never seems to matter to me if those meringue peaks (or calf slobbers as my grandfather described them) were perfect or not. They still delight my taste buds.

    Happy 4th! Stay safe.

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  4. I love me a good pie!
    You made blueberry and peach, but have you ever tried blueberry peach pie? it is divine!!

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  5. Oh, you've just reminded me that I forgot to pick up peaches from the farmer's stand today. Darn! Happy 4th, Anna Maria!

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  6. Taking liberties in the kitchen! What a delicious way to mark Independence Day. Happy Fourth of July!

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  7. Classic Betty Crocker cookbook - that wouldn't be the one with the orange-y red cover, would it? Oh, but you're a bit young for that one. I got mine in the mid 1970s, and I just the other day saw a picture of the 1969 edition (looks the same as mine) which they said is worth $89!

    Mine definitely isn't. It's a mess.

    Enjoy your pies!

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  8. Yummy! Makes me want to make my own flour and fruit creation. Measuring is over rated and in my opinion, the mess is just evidence of stirring up some yummy love for your family. Have a great 4th!

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  9. Your description of why you don't like to bake is me all over. 'Cept it's also the reason I don't quilt (all that measuring!), so you've obviously overcome on that front.
    Happy Independence Day! :)

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  10. You make it sound so easy! Why do they always make it sound hard? Why do our moms always shake their heads in admiration of someone who's mastered the terribly difficult art? Anyway, I'm going to make pie tomorrow. There.

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  11. Looks amazing! I'll have to try this recipe when its berry season again in australia :)

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  12. This is such a happy holiday, not a lot to do but BBQ and bake pies and sit around in the dusk waiting for fireworks...summer is here!

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  13. Yum! Leftover pie crust was always made into pie-dough cinnamon rolls in my house growing up. Roll out the pie dough, slather with butter, cinnamon and sugar. Roll up and bake. Slice as you eat! :)

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  14. Sarah- same here, we called them doodaddles :)

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  15. Homemade pies are the best- especially with cherries picked from my grandparents' tree! I'm like you, though, I'm not much on baking, so I have to REALLY be in the mood before I attempt all that mess!

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  16. Last summer I made peach-blueberry pie because I didn't have enough of either for one pie--they were perfect together!! It's my new favorite.

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  17. Your pie looks wonderful! And there is part of the reason your pies turn out so good - Southern Flour and butter I've never heard of. I used to lug flour back with me when I visited my family in WV because the biscuits are so much lighter and fluffier with it! But now that my father has passed and I don't go out that way anymore I have to use western wheat. :(

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  18. oohhh my mouth is watering that looks yummy ;-) Its lovely how things evoke lovely childhood memories, dee x

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  19. Shin Ae8:28 AM

    I love to bake, and all those chemical reactions, BUT I'm more of a free-form tart girl! Funny how some things seem so hard to master--I can't BELIEVE how neat your pie crust looks (I just can't do that).

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  20. that looks so delicious! i can't wait to try it!

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  21. A lovely lovely post. I know exactly what you mean about baking, it's too exacting, well except muffins, somehow they always work out. It's winter here but in summer I look forward to trying this with blueberries and peaches. It makes me nostalgic for my 5 years in NYC. Happy July 4th!

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  22. Anonymous6:11 PM

    You paint such a vivid "pie"cture but I wanted to see more photos of these great sounding treats.Definitely got my tastebuds working overtime-love it!
    Happy 4th of Julyxxx

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  23. ooo...you have me wanting summer (i just lit the fire here in that other hemisphere)...and i will be filing those recipes for our trips to the local orchard and home-picking. Thank you for sharing. All that talk about pies has me missing the US...

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  24. Thank you for enlightening me about fruit pies..such a simple and understandable post! I had always wondered how Americans can create so many pies for one event..now I know..lol!

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  25. You inspired me!!! My blueberry peach pie is in the oven and the house smells wonderful. I am terrified of pies but I tackled one today!! I used my mom's pie crust recipe and used what I had which is bluberries and 5 huge juicy peaches. Thank you! It was your photo that pulled me in. Beautiful! Happy 4th of July!!

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  26. I was just saying how I needed a good pie crust recipe. Can't wait to try yours. Thanks!

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  27. That sounds like the most perfect morning in the world. :)

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  28. It sounds like the next thing to do is a blueberry pie.

    Happy berry time from Finland.

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  29. 5 pies in one day! Wow! You go!

    You have an excellent arrangement with your husband. He should talk to mine. :)

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  30. You painted a cute picture for us...as you always do. I'm in the mood to make pie! And here I am in a Chicago hotel... :)

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  32. Oh my God this looks so good and i`m sure that it is delicious too. I think it is not a very difficult recipe so i will give it a try, thanks a lot for sharing.

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  33. This was my first time making this dessert...I had made it earlier in the day and refrigerated it. I took it out just before dinner and baked it off. It took much longer than stated in the recipe...Could this be due to the fact that it was "cold".

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