Tag Archives: Summer

Blueberry Pie with Basil-Infused Cream

2 Jul

What would summer be without blueberries? What would Laura’s birthday be without pie? Lackluster at most. ;) That’s why I took this opportunity to bake up something I’ve been wanting to for a looooong time–a blueberry pie filled to the brim with blueberries bursting with juice.

My goal was to make it as I tasted it before at my friends Nancy and Elliott’s house. Their pie was deep. It was running all over with sweet juice. We had to eat it in bowls! We even poured basil-infused cream over the top, creating rivers of deliciousness. It was epic, my friends, epic.

I’ve been thinking about this pie ever since Nancy and Elliott hosted a “family meal” at their house for us starving college kids. That means more than a year ago! Laura’s birthday was the absolutely perfect time to bake one up. She is pretty epic, having raised my fiance to be the most wonderful guy in the world, and all. :)

Laura is beautiful. She is kind. She is hilarious and sweet. She is devoted to loving others with fierce strength and gentle compassion. I first met her when she was helping organize our high school’s PSAT (she probably doesn’t remember that!), and now she just finished teaching my first Bible Study Fellowship class. Can you believe it?! It’s been 8 years! Throughout that time, I’ve come to know her, adore her, and look up to her as a woman after God’s own heart, who’s completely in touch with both her status as a perfect child of God, and as a humble human in need of grace.

I wanted to make this woman one EPIC birthday dessert! And knowing that she lacks an affinity for cake, but loves pie, that gave me one more reason to make this treat. You should, too! It’s a great recipe to have under your belt, it’s universally appealing, and it has a super high deliciousness to easiness ratio. Serve it with the basil-infused cream, and you’ll have fireworks (haha, get it? tomorrow’s 4th of July?!?) going off in your mouth. Whoever is around your dinner table with sing your praises with their mouths full of buttery crust and berries. Make that garble. They’ll garble your praises. :)

Flaky Double Pie Crust
2 C. + 2 Tbsp. All-purpose flour
1/4 Tsp. Salt
Pinch of sugar
12 Tbsp. Cold unsalted butter
3 Tbsp. vegetable shortening
4 Tbsp. Cold water

  1. Whisk together the flour, salt, and sugar together in a bowl.
  2. Add the shortening and the butter in 1-cm slices.
  3. Using a pastry blender (or two knives, or your fingers), cut the butter and vegetable shortening into the dry ingredients until it looks like crumbs.
  4. Sprinkle the cold water into the mixture and toss with a fork until its is moistened evenly and comes together in lumps.
  5. Gather the dough into two balls. It’s OK if one is larger than the other one; that one can be for the bottom crust.
  6. Place the balls onto plastic wrap, flatten slightly, and wrap up. Refrigerate for 4 hours.
  7. After the resting period, flour your board and rolling pin lightly, and roll out the bottom crust to about 1/8-inch thick. It should become about a 12-13-inch diameter circle.
  8. Roll the dough around the pin, lift, and bring it over the pie plate. Unroll the crust and gently ease it into the plate. Stretching it will only cause the dough to shrink back to its original when baked.
  9. Cut off the overhanging outer edges, then chill the shell in the refrigerator for additional rest while you prepare the filling and top crust.
  10. Roll out the top crust to about 10-inches in diameter in the same manner, and place in the refrigerator.

Adapted from Chez Panisse Desserts

Blueberry Filling
3 Pints of Blueberries, washed
1 c. Granulated Sugar
1/4 c. All-purpose Flour
Pinch of Salt
Juice of 1/4 lemon
1 egg for wash
1 Tbsp. cream for wash
Additional sugar for dusting (coarse sugar or turbinado sugar looks lovely)

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 F.
  2. Make sure the berries are clean and dry, and no stems remain. Toss with 1 c. sugar, flour, and salt in a bowl.
  3. Squirt the lemon juice directly onto the berries and toss again.

Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Blueberry Pie

Assembly

  1. Take the pie shell out from the fridge and fill with the berries.
  2. Brush the edges of the bottom crust with water, then cover the berries with the top crust. Pinch together the crusts with your favorite design, or merely press the tines of a fork all around the edge.
  3. Cut a vent or two in your top crust with a sharp knife. I chose an “L” for Laura. Cover the crust edges with one of these doo-dads, or with foil.
  4. Position the oven rack in the lower third slot. Place the pie on a baking sheet to catch leaks and bake the at 425 F for 30 minutes.
  5. Whisk together the egg and cream wash. Reduce the oven heat to 375, quickly (but carefully) remove the pie and its crust shield, and brush the wash over the top crust. Sprinkle the sugar garnish all over the top. Replace the pie in the oven quickly.
  6. Bake for an additional 30 minutes or until the crust is a golden brown. Remove the pie onto a wire cooling rack for at least 30 inutes before serving. In the meanwhile you can prepare the basil-infused cream.

Basil-Infused Cream
1 pint heavy whipping cream
1 c. loose basil leaves

  1. Submerge the basil leaves in the cream in a saucepan and heat over medium-low heat until the cream just begins to steam.
  2. Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow to cool.
  3. Remove the basil leaves from the cream, and taste. If it is not strong enough to your taste, add new basil leaves and use the same process (bring to just steaming again, and let cool again).
  4. Refrigerate before pouring over warm pie… HEAVEN.

Sorry, no picture of the cream! We were too busy digging in :)

<3 ATP

Goodbye, Summer…

20 Aug

My friends, summer is swiftly passing us by. If you’re like me and LOVE summertime, I urge you to make this pie as quick as you can and savor the last sweet blueberries of the season! Also, ignore the unsightly uneven crust edges. It’s what I like to call “Artisanal.”

The recipe is SPOT-ON, and with good reason! The crust and the filling recipes both came from one of my favorite cookbooks, Chez Panisse Desserts, by Lindsey Remolif Shere. If you haven’t heard of Chez Panisse before, it is the restaurant founded by Alice Waters, who started the California Cuisine movement earlier in the 70’s. Ms. Shere was the pastry chef at Chez Panisse and wrote this book for the great benefit of our tastebuds, and to the detriment of our lovehandles :)

This image is from a while ago, when I still lived in my apartment at college. Every Tuesday we’d have Bible studies at my place, and this is one of the treats I baked for the occasion. My guests were definitely fans! Make it soon, for your parents, your neighbors, your book club! They will feel like they’re eating dessert at one of the best restaurants in America.

Blueberry Meyer Lemon Cream Pie
1 c. Pastry cream (Halve this recipe)
2 1/2 c. Milk
– 1/3 c. Flour
– 6 tbsp. sugar
– 6 Egg yolks
– 1-2 tbsp. unsalted butter
– 1-2 Meyer Lemons
1. Scald (heat to just under boiling) the milk
2. In a separate heavy saucepan, mix flour and sugar
3. In a third bowl, beat the egg yolks until thick and light-colored
4. Whisk the hot milk into the flour and sugar. Cook this over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture has boiled for 1-2 minutes.
5. Whisk a little of the milk mixture into the eggs to heat them up (I have learned that this is called tempering the eggs, and will prevent the hot milk from cooking the eggs into solid lumps in your custard). Then stir all of the eggs into the cooking mixture.
6. Cook, constantly mixing, until the pastry cream begins to hold a slight shape. If you have one, a thermometer works well to monitor the cooking. It should cook to 170F. (Ms. Shere notes that you should not undercook the cream, otherwise the enzymes in the egg won’t be cooked, and your cream will break down. You should also never let it boil.)
7. Remove from heat, stir in the butter and grate in the Meyer lemon zest.
8. Push through a medium-fine strainer to remove the lumps, and whisk occasionally while cooling to prevent a crust from forming. Then, chill this in the refrigerator.

Notes: Beating the cream after it cooks will thin it out, so if you over-cooked it, this will help to return it to the right texture. The cream should look shiny, and mound lightly. When I made this cream, it took less than 15 minutes.

Short Crust Pie Shell

Don't be afraid if it doesn't look like dough. Just have faith and press it together!


This was supposed to be a tart shell, but I put it in my glass pie pan, and called it a pie. I’m a rebel like that.
Makes 9-inch Pastry shell
– 1 c. Flour
– 1 tbsp. sugar
– 1/4 tsp. salt
– 1/4 tsp. grated lemon zest
– 1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold
– 1 tbsp. water
– 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1. Mix the flour, sugar, salt, and lemon peel together.
2. Cut the butter into 1/2-inch slices and work it into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender (or your hands, or 2 dinner knives), until the butter is in small cornmeal-sized pieces, and coated in flour. This technique, “to cut in the butter,” makes a non-homogeneous mixture where the butter remains in small chunks throughout the dough, ensuring a flakiness to the pastry crust.
3. Separately mix the water and vanilla together, then work it into the dough until it is blended and will hold together if you press it. A good crust should not be too shaggy looking, but should definitely not be too wet either. I prefer to err on the shaggy side, however!
4. Gather the dough into a ball and let it rest for 30 minutes. This period ensures that the gluten proteins in your flour have time to relaaaaax, and that your crust won’t shrink in the oven.
5. Press the pastry evenly into a 9-inch pie pan and bake at 375F for around 25 minutes, or until it is lightly golden brown.

Blueberry Topping
      – 1 pint blueberries
– 2-3 tbsp. strained raspberry, red currant, or blueberry jam (I used boysenberry because that’s what I had. Still yummy!)
– 1/2 tsp. Kirsch, optional
1. Wash the berries and make sure there are no stems, leaves, or bad ones in the mix.
2. Pick a saute pan that is large enough to hold the blueberries in 1-2 layers on the bottom. Cook the jam in this pan until it is slightly less runny.
3. Toss the blueberries and the Kirsch in the jam over high heat very briefly, until they are coated and just barely warm.

Put it All Together
1. Smooth out the cooled pastry cream with a whisk, and spread it in the pie shell evenly.
2. Set the blueberries over the pastry cream with a spoon. Serve immediately!
3. Take a bite, close your eyes and envision you’re still in summer. MMmmmm

Who do you know that would enjoy this pie? :)


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