Monday, July 9, 2007

Vacation pix

From top to bottom:

The river.

Running with Aunt S.E. and the dog pack. If you click on it you can see the sweatband that Z. appropriated from my father and wore on her arm for half a week.

Evidence of my shame: yes, my fellow Fancy Pants U-ers, last month J. August sucked me in like a vacuum cleaner aimed at the Cantabridgian sidewalk.

Blackberries growing along the driveway.

The berries Z. didn't eat before we got home. Home from the driveway.

Here is a highly elastic recipe for berry pie:

1 1/2 cups flour--no more than half whole wheat, unless you're using whole wheat pastry flour
a couple tbsp sugar
a couple tsp spices: ginger and cinnamon are nice, maybe a pinch of clove
a tsp or so salt
8 1/2 tbsp butter (if you have vegetable shortening, you should use 5 1/2 tbsp butter and 3 of vegetable shortening, but considering how seldom I make pies I don't keep Crisc0 around.) Keep cold until ready to add to recipe.
cold water or ice water

Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl.

Cut up butter into very small pieces and add to dry ingredients. Use two knives or a pastry cutter to cut butter and flour mixture into pea-sized pieces. Then stick your (clean) hands into the bowl and rub the pea-sized lumps and the flour between the tips of your fingers until it's all blended. The movement of your thumb against your fingers should be like the gesture for "gimme money."

When the butter is JUST blended with the flour, gather into a ball and sprinkle a tbsp of cold water over the dough. Squeeze the water into the dough completely. Repeat this until the dough holds together. Flatten it into a disc, wrap it in waxed paper, leave it in the fridge for at least half an hour. Take it out for long enough to warm up a little before rolling it out.

Preheat the oven to 350 when you take the dough out.

Roll out on a floured surface until it is just a little bigger in circumference than the pie dish you plan to use. I usually flip it early in the rolling-out process so it doesn't get too stuck to the counter. Using the biggest spatula you've got, gently moved the dough to your pie dish.


Buy a pre-made frozen pie crust. This isn't cheating, because I just told you it's not.

In this case, preheat the oven when you start assembling the filling and topping and take the crust out of the freezer when you're ready to assemble the whole pie.

If you're making your own crust, assemble the filling and topping while the dough is in the fridge.

One quart of berries and/or sliced peaches, more or less.
brown sugar--optional, amount to taste (2 tbsp maybe)
half a lemon--optional

Gently mix the fruit and the sugar together in a medium bowl.
Squeeze the lemon over the fruit and sugar. Toss to coat.
It's good if you remember to take the lemon seeds out with the tip of a knife first. I always forget and have to pick lemon seeds out of my berries.

This is where things get very flexible. You can't go wrong with this topping, so survey your shelves and toss in what's around.

1-2 cups rolled oats
maybe 1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder OR baking soda NOT 1/2 tsp of both
generous dash of salt
nuts if no one is allergic
spices--again, ginger, cinnamon, maybe some cardamom.
brown sugar, 1/2 cup or more
I've put in dried cranberries if I'm using this in the fall with apples
about half a stick of butter, melted

Mix the dry ingredients. Add more of anything if it looks like you won't have enough to cover your pie. Pour in the butter and mix it all up.

Assemble pie. Bake until the top looks a little brown, maybe 25 minutes. I check frequently because I never remember to look at the time when I put something in the oven.


Julia said...

Making a crack about that tshirt would immediately expose the institution of higher learning with which I have been associated for the last 15 years. So I won't. But I waaaaaaaaana. :)

S. said...

That's what email's for--fire away backchannel.

Lo said...

Uh, is it just me, or did Julia seem to find a way of exposing? ;-)

(My dad and uncle fought a Fancy Pants U. war through clothing on my infant body, though it was all in jest, really, since we're an H. family.)

Co said...

Maybe for the sake of parity you should get Z. a t-shirt with the name of A.'s fancy pants U. on it, too. (Just teasing.)

S. said...

That would be "Don't Mind Us, We're Smarter Than Fancy-Pants" College, I think.

Right, Lo????

Julia said...

I think it's the "anything you can do we can do with more style, and also some things you can't" U :)

Although my sister just brought me Pink Martini CD, and I have never heard them before, and I like. So there. Some good things can come out of that school too, I guess...

S. said...

Julia, I didn't mean your Mystery U! I'm willing to believe that Mystery U *might* out-do and out-style us, at least from time to time, depending on whether my guess is right, but I think it's fair to say that A.'s college never made a style claim in its life.

Magpie said...

Yum, pie. I made a strawberry & sour cherry pie last weekend.

A few weeks ago I unearthed a box of "treasures" that included a hat emblazened "Impale Yale". You might guess where that came from.

Lo said...

Yes, we certainly are smarter. I'd better get to work on making sure Z is dressed appropriately...

S. said...

Magpie, I want to thank you for noticing that this was actually a post about a recipe!

And Lo, you're very welcome to pitch in on the wardrobing: she's a 3T but the shirt in the picture is a 4T, so you can see that bigger is better.

niobe said...


I remember a headline from somewhere (the Onion, perhaps): Winner Didn't Even Know It Was A Pie-eating Contest