Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Strawberry, Apricot & Bluebery Pie

Cook with what the farm is giving you.
And after a lazy, cool start in the spring followed by a quick warm up, the choices at our local farmer’s market are staggering. I cannot recall a season when, at one stand alone, you can find strawberries, blueberries, black raspberries, raspberries, apricots, cherries, peaches, and the first plums available at the same time. Which is how I arrived at the combination for this pie. I like the combination of strawberry and apricot (see archives: 6/3/12) and added blueberries.
No complicated thought process there.
For the beginning of pie night this year, I decided to use an all-butter pie crust. I’ve never been a fan. I’ll stick with vegetable shortening for the flakiness; lard is best but people run screaming from the room at the mention of that word. To be honest, when one of my nephews was little the mention of the word “lard” would reduce him to laughter. Some kids laugh at the word “underwear,” his was “lard.” And “blender.”
All-butter pie crusts usually include a little vinegar. You don’t taste the vinegar; it helps with the flaky quality of the finished crust.
None of this is complicated unless you have to work around a dog, a very big golden retriever who feels his presence will assure great results, even if it means he plants himself underfoot. Welcome to our life.

Strawberry, Apricot, and Blueberry Pie   

1 pint strawberries (2 cups)
1 pint apricots (2 cups)
1 pint blueberries (2 cups)
½ cup sugar
5 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water

Pie Crust
For one 9” double crust pie
The crust can be mixed by hand, or using a pastry blender, in a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a food processor. If you use a food processor, take care not to over mix the dough.
If you want to skip the butter, use an equivalent amount of vegetable shortening and omit the vinegar. Or use half butter and half shortening. Whichever you prefer.

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into ½” pieces, chilled
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
1 cup cold water (you won’t need all of it)

1. Place the flour and the salt into a bowl and mix to combine. Add half of the cold butter and mix until the butter forms a sandy texture with the flour. Add the rest of the butter to the bowl and continue mixing, leaving bigger pieces of butter in the flour.
2. Pour the vinegar into a measuring cup. Add enough water to make ¾ cup liquid. Add the water to the dough in small amounts mixing until the dough comes together and forms a ball. If the dough appears too dry, add a little additional water. Remove the dough from the bowl and divide in half. Shape each piece of dough into a flat disk. Wrap and refrigerate the dough for at least 20 to 30 minutes or overnight.
3. Rinse the strawberries under cold water. Remove the stems and cut the berries in half lengthwise. If the berries are large, you might have to cut them into quarters. Place the strawberries into a bowl. Wash the apricots. Run a knife around the apricot, cutting down from the top. Separate the halves and remove the pits. Quarter the apricots and place them into the bowl. Rinse the blueberries under cold water. Pick out any stems, if necessary, then place them into the bowl with the other fruit. Add the sugar and mix together. Set aside for 20 minutes.
4. Roll out the bottom crust. Remove one dough disk from the refrigerator. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll the dough out away from you in one direction. Give the dough quarter turns in a circle and continue rolling out the dough dusting with additional flour as needed until the dough is 1/8” thick. Lift and place the dough into a 9” pie plate. Trim the excess dough from the edge, leaving about a ½” overhang. Place into the refrigerator.
5. Heat oven to 450 degrees. After the fruit has given off some of its juices, mix in the cornstarch until evenly blended. Set aside.
6. Roll out the top crust. Cut a circle into the center of the dough. Remove the bottom crust from the refrigerator. Place the fruit into an even layer in the pie pan. Brush the edge of the bottom crust with some of the egg wash. Lay the top crust over the fruit, pressing the edges together. Trim away excess dough. Press the edges of the crust to thin them out and turn them under onto the rim of the pie plate. Crimp the edges together around the outside of the crust. Brush the top of the crust with some of the egg wash; sprinkle the top crust with some sugar if you wish.
7. Place the pie onto a baking tray and then into the oven. Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes; after ten minutes reduce the heat to 350 degrees and continue baking for an additional 40 to 45 minutes until the filling is bubbling. Remove from the oven. Resist all temptation to eat it until it cools completely. Serve alone, but c’mon, really? Break out the ice cream!

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