This week, Boo and I bought a new cookbook. The truly wonderful The Pie Project by Phoebe Wood and Kirsten Jenkins. What? It’s getting colder up here on the Downs, and pie is just necessary to get us through the winter.
The book includes sections on hot pies, cold pies, and cheat’s pies, and is beautifully illustrated throughout, with clear instructions. It’s a wonderful addition to the recipe shelf, and will soon be (ok, is already) splattered with butter, flour, squished fruit and other mysterious baking stains.
The same day we bought the book, we tried out the recipe for Blueberry, Pear and Lemon Pie. Below are the instructions, with some pics from our adventure, and some notes on where we diverted from the recipe (and why).
Ou result was a picture perfect pie that tasted unbelievably good. The first slice out of the dish was, of course, a delicious debacle. But each slice after that came out beautifully. As Boo described it: it looks like the kind of pie that a naughty pixie would steal from a windowsill.
Indeed! Instead, two naughty ladies ate enormous slices and dripped blueberry filling all over their new winter pyjamas.
Serves 8 (or two, over several nights, with various accompaniments, while watching Fixer Upper).
- 1 kg blueberries (fresh or frozen)
- 3 hard, crisp pears [we used Beurre Bosc pears picked up that morning from the Toowoomba farmer’s market]
- 220 grams caster sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthways an seeds scraped
- finely grated zest of 1 lemon
- 3 teaspoons cornflour
- 1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon of water [we forgot the water. Eh. I like a good eggy egg wash]
- 1 tablespoon of demerara sugar
- 375 grams plain flour
- 55 grams caster sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 250 grams cold unsalted butter, cubed
- 60 ml apple cider vinegar, mixed with 125 ml cold water and 4 ice cubes
For the pastry, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Add the cubed butter and toss to coat. Tip the ingredients onto a clean work surface and, using a pastry cutter or flat-bladed knife, roughly cut the butter into the flour. [We did not do this: instead, we just crumbled the butter up into the flour, as you would when making a standard shortcrust pastry. Because the recipe says to, we left some of the butter chunks quite large, which helps the pastry become flaky as it cooks.]
Create a well in the centre of the flour mixture and add the vinegar water in 3 batches, working it in with your hands to form a rough dough (you may not need all the water). [We used about a third of the water mixture to form our dough]. Divide the dough into two pieces, shape into discs, and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for three hours. [Three hours! Aint nobody got time for that! We chilled the dough for one hour.]
For the blueberry filling, heat the blueberries, pear, caster sugar, vanilla seeds, and lemon zest in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 25 minutes until syrupy.
Put the cornflour in a bowl and combine with 3 tablespoons of the blueberry liquid. Stir until smooth. Return to the pan and cook for a further 5 minutes until thickened. Remove from heat and leave to cool completely. [In the original recipe, this comes later in the process – during the additional chilling period for the rolled dough.]
Working with one piece of pastry at a time, roll out on a lightly floured work surface to a thickness of 3mm. Use the first pastry sheet to line the base and sides of a 23 cm x 4 cm deep pie dish, leaving a 3cm overhang. Roll out the second piece of pastry to a thickness of 3mm and cut into eight 3cm wide strips. Chill both for 1 hour. [Chill! These ladies sure like to chill. I wonder what they do while their pastry is chilling? I’m imagining them on the back deck, glamorously sipping gin gimlets and discussing shiplap walls. We did not chill our dough again at this stage. At all. We were HUNGRY!]
Preheat oven to 200C.
Place the lined pie dish on a baking tray and fill with blueberry mixture.
Make a lattice top with the chilled strips, place it over the filling and press to seal. Trim off any excess pastry from the strips, then fold over the overhanging pastry to conceal the ends of the lattice strips and to seal. Brush with the egg wash, scatter with demerara sugar and bake for 20 minutes or until the pastry is turning a golden colour. Reduce the oven temperature to 180C and cook for a further 40 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and golden, and the filling is bubbling. Rest for 30 minutes before serving. [REST! Are they CRAZY! These girls must be so tough. That pie came out of the oven hot, bubbling, and smelling so goooooooood. I think we let it ‘rest’ for about 10 minutes before serving up generous slices with some home-made raspberry ice cream we had on hand. The next evening, we served it with dollops of creme fraiche. Both are excellent options. I’m sure store-bought ice cream would be just fine.]