Hey folks, so it would seem the summer has finally decided enough is enough and disappeared, and the outside world has become decidedly more chilly and blustery. Far from being a sad thing, these next few weeks are some of Sam and my favourite weeks of the year. It’s finally time for yummy warm autumnal recipes with lots of pumpkin and squash, wrapping up warm in coats and scarves and thinking about what we are going to do for Christmas. OK maybe the last bit is getting a little ahead of ourselves, but it’s all good good as far as we’re concerned.
In the spirit of the season Sam has been knitting mittens for just about everyone she knows, and I’m sure if she manages to down the knitting needles for long enough she may tell you about it and share her pattern at some point. Meanwhile I’ve been whipping up a bit of a squash frenzy, working my way through every type of gourd I can get my hands on in just about every meal; butternut squash, pumpkin, onion squash, gem squash… if only I could get my hands on a spaghetti squash! Any ideas where one might find that in Edinburgh? If you ask me, any which way we cook it, you can’t help but feel all snugly and autumn-y eating something with squash at its heart.
Embracing the season, and maybe a little bit longing to be back in Maine – the home of the worlds best blueberries in my very humble opinion, I decided the time had come to make pie. In fact I spent some time salivating thinking about it all last week at work (I think I may need a pie therapy group of some description). I’m sort of saving myself on the pumpkin pie front as Thanksgiving is still a little way off and don’t want to break into the stockpile of Libby’s Sam has mysteriously left sitting on the kitchen counter, so figured blueberry was surely the way to go.
My thoughts on good pie are fairly simple – deep = delicious. With this in mind I grabbed all the blueberries I could possibly squeeze into a single pie dish and set too baking. Here’s how you can do it too…
For the pie crust:
2/3 cup cold butter
1 cup icing sugar (confectioners sugar)
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
2 tablespoons milk
pinch of salt
For the filling:
5 cups blueberries
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons corn starch
1) Dough ya think we should make a pie crust – In the bowl of your stand mixer cream together the butter and icing sugar until smooth (make sure you start on a low speed or you may find yourself breathing in a lot of sugary air).
Next add the egg yolks, vanilla and salt, then with the mixer on medium speed gradually add in the flour just until the mix starts to look like coarse breadcrumbs.
Finally trickle in just enough milk to make the mix clump together into a more manageable dough. Empty out the dough onto some cling film, wrap up tight in a disc shape and leave in the fridge for about 30 minutes to rest.
2) Rolling time – Grab the dough out of the fridge and cut it into two equal chunks. Roll out the first into a disc about 4 inches larger in diameter than your pie dish, slightly less than 1/4 in thick. Carefully transfer the dough into the dish and work it into the sides, leaving the excess to just dangle over the edge. Pop the dish into the fridge to rest again while we make the top.
Roll out the remaining dough to a similar thickness to the base and slice into strips about 3/8 in wide. Here’s the fun bit! On a piece of baking parchment, lie alternate strips of dough equally spaced next to each other, leaving about an inch between each strip. You should end up with what looks like a round barcode.
Next taking one of your remaining strips at a time carefully weave under and over the strips on the baking parchment until you have a beautiful lattice top for your pie. I realise there is still the little matter of placing your new creation on top of the pie but we’ll get to that in a bit.
3) Blueberry-tastic – The pie filling couldn’t be much easier to make. Get a large bowl and add all the filling ingredients in one, give it all a good stir and you are all done.
4) Construction time – Take your pie dish out of the fridge and fill to the brim with the blueberry mix.
Next comes the slightly difficult life choice about how best to transfer a lattice onto the top of a pie. Some people like to opt for the sliding approach, whipping the baking parchment away as the lattice slips onto the top. But, I’m a big fan of the flip and drop technique, holding the lattice in my hand before flipping it upside down onto the pie – the choice is yours!
Once you have successfully transferred your top, trim and crimp the edges to suit your fancy and apply an egg wash for extra golden goodness.
5) Bake – Pop the pie in the oven at 200 C ( about 400 F) for about 50 minutes or until golden brown. If the pie looks like it’s getting too much colour early on in the bake, just turn the heat down to about 180 C (360 F) and it should finish baking through without colouring too much more.
I can’t really tell you just how much Sam and I enjoyed our blueberry pie although it’s usually a good sign that by the time I get around to posting about something it’s already all been eaten. I hope you are all enjoying autumn (fall) as much as we are here, especially all those lucky folks in New England where I’m sure it’s beginning to look a whole lot red, orange and amazing just about now!
P.S. Does anyone have any amazing squash recipes I might not have tried yet?