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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Pie Days of Summer, Vol. 3 (with a scone bonus)

One of the things I love about going home is that mum and I usually stop at one of the local farms to buy fresh produce, flowers, eggs. These are sold at a little stand tucked into the bush that you can pull into and turn your car around in. All items are sold on the honor system: Take what you want, read the price, and leave the money in a metal box. This is what farm eggs look like:

Double yolker, oh my God:

While home I also picked what felt like 10 lbs of red currants. Mum has two bushes, and I picked for what felt like forever, and only got part way through one bush. It's hard to keep up with this shit. I took some home with me in my suitcase, and made scones as soon as I got home:

Red Currant Scones
3 cups flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup fresh red currants or cranberries
1 egg
about 1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 400. Stir together flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Cut butter into flour mixture using fingers or a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in currants or cranberries. Break egg into a measuring cup for liquids and beat well. Add enough milk to egg to make 3/4 cup, and stir to blend with egg.

Add milk/egg mixture to dry ingredients; stir gently with a fork until particles cling together. Mixture will be crumbly. Form a ball of dough and hand press into an oval about 1/2 inch thick. Cut with a knife into rounds or use a glass. Place on a cookie sheet, bake for 18-20 minutes or until lightly golden.

Recipe courtesy of Kitchen Sketches

They were very tasty. Fresh currants are tart so if you don't like sour things add a little extra sugar. I wondered how they would be in a pie, so I made one:

Blueberry and Red Currant Pie

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/4 cup ice water
1 cup cold butter

By now you are used to my recipe for pie crusts, but I've learned a few things along the way that I hope will help: Cut in cold butter and mush with fingertips (or in a food processor, but I like to kick it old school and women made pies long before there were food processors on the scene). and mix with the ice water added bit by bit until the dough just sticks together. Any more moist and it will get to gloppy. Divide dough in two, cover each round in plastic wrap, and leave in the fridge for 1/2 hour to 24 hours.

My fridge is really cold, so I need my dough to warm up a bit before I roll it out. Once it becomes warm enough that you can just see your fingerprint in it, flour a surface and roll out the dough until a round is formed. Don't worry if it begins to split, you can patch it up in the pan. Place into pie pan and patch as needed. Form around the edge. Put in filling:

1 1/2 lbs blueberries
1/2 lb red currants, picked clean
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp corn starch

Mix filling together and let sit for about 10 minutes.

Once the filling is in the shell, roll out the second round of dough and cut with a knife to form a lattice.

Brush the top of the lattice and edges of shell with the yolk of one egg and sprinkle sugar on top. Cook for 40 minutes at 400. Leave on the countertop or windowsill to cool overnight, just like in the movies.

Nothing is like pie really. It's becoming a real art form for me. I love them. I try very hard not to eat them. I almost always take them to work or to other people's houses. One piece is the most I will allow myself.

And berries grown by your mama taste extra fantastic :)


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