Add on the domestic goddess aura and a sexy if slightly nuts whiff of Little House self-sufficiency, and it becomes clear why this happens so much. Also, pie is delicious.
This week's pie was the Black & Blueberry pie, a mixed berry with a cream cheese crust. Unlike some of the Alpha Bakers, I make a lot of pie, and I love it. I don't find pie crust daunting, and I like to make it with my hands. I don't mind runny fillings, (John Thorne says they're the way to go, and he's always right), and yet pie always carries with it a certain anxiety that doesn't come up in most other baking circumstances.
Pie is more than a set of instructions. It's a skill. A physical skill. Because of this slightly mystical truth, pie gets a lot of reverence and a lot of fear. It's not hard, it's just not easy to get right. Pie can turn and bite you in the ass. Every pie is different. I realize that to the true baking personality (or the true librarian) this unpredictability can be painful, even destabilizing. Luckily, I'm more the kind of baker (and librarian) who is caught up in the story and careless of some details, so pie is my kind of game. Also, pie is so, so delicious. I would rather have pie than cake any day, but that's another story (never mind).
It's a story about fruit. We can talk about it when it is not winter any more.
Black & Blueberry pie. A fairly straightforward double-crust pie, made with Rose's cream cheese enriched pie dough. I like this pie dough, but it hasn't become my one and only. An all butter crust still has my heart. The cream cheese crust is very friendly, though, and holds a very nice shape without getting too tough. I can't bring myself to put it in and out of a bag and the freezer as Rose instructs (sorry Rose, I know your detailed instructions really do get unexpectedly perfect results, I just can't be perfect about pie. Talk to me when we're back to wedding cakes), but my hands-in technique yielded some quite acceptable pie crust action. Substitution alert: I misread the amounts I would need so the final product had subbed in mascarpone for 1/3 of the cream cheese (richer, but not devastatingly so), and I used leftover coquito (condensed milk, evaporated milk, coconut milk, and rum) for the three tablespoons of heavy cream. Alcohol is good in pie crust--some people swear by vodka.
I also mis-read the filling amounts a bit so the final mix was 12oz frozen blackberries and the rest frozen blueberries, with a handfull of cranberries and strawberries thrown in, making this a Black & Blue & Bloody pie (Black & Blue & Bloody new band name I call it). I didn't change the ratio of other filling ingredients because I judged it close enough, and so it was. I added the berries to the cornstarch (all right, it was tapioca), sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest straight from the freezer, then let the pie rest filled for roughly the recommended hour and had no problems. There were plenty of juices but it wasn't runny at all. I would have possibly opted for a runnier pie and a slightly less thick tapioca twinge, but that's a personal preference. It did run enough to resemble a very satisfactory crime scene.
We had it for brunch, along with a very excellent quiche. My friend 'BeeBo,' below, is a big fan of blueberries.