Homemade pie, with all of its wonderful little imperfections, is pretty stinkin great. It doesn’t look like that oddly perfect-looking pie from Village Inn, Stepford Wife-esque with its unblemished crust and crimped edges. No sir. The homemade pie might have a little burnt spot on the edge. Maybe the fruit inside spilled through the seam a little. There could be a couple tears in the crust like this pie has. But unlike that store bought pie that was probably made completely by machine, this pie, the handmade pie, is baked by a real live person. Probably someone you know and love. They tended the crust (we all know pie crusts need a little TLC) and made sure nothing got too warm before baking time. They picked out the best fruit they could find. They turned on their oven in the middle of summer when the last thing anyone needs is a giant box filled with 375-degree air in their non-air-conditioned house, spewing the leftover heat into the kitchen like it’s a fire-breathing dragon. This person baked you a pie. And that, as my mom would say, is a beautiful thing.
This pie starts out, like most good things, with butter.
This crust is a little different because while the butter is still cold, you’ll roll it out so it makes little strips of butter. It’s kinda tricky but that’s cool cuz we’re going for the flakiness here.
Then it goes back in the bowl, and you’ll add buttermilk.
Then it’ll need some time to cool off in the fridge. It’s hot outside, and pie crust can feel it too.
Now, it’s berry time. These babies will get tossed with some lemon juice and sugar.
When the crust is finally done chilling, roll it out on a floured surface, gently lift it into your pie pan, sprinkle some breadcrumbs in there to help absorb all the berry juice, and pour in the berries. You can see a few spots where i had to patch the pie crust. No big deal. That’s what the homemade pie is all about!
Then, grab the other piece of dough from the fridge and roll it out, lift on top, and seal the edges. I won’t pretend I know how to beautify the edge of a pie crust, so I’ll tell you not to worry about it. No one will notice, and if they do, they’ll forget as soon as they have a bite, And if they don’t forget, take away their pie and give it to someone else. (Not that I want to deny anyone a slice of this…but still.) Make sure to cut some vents in the top so the steam from the fruit juice can escape.
I realize it’s a little late in the season for blueberries (where did you go, summer?), but if you can find them, this would be the perfect send-off for them until next year.
Blueberry Blackberry Pie
Makes 1 double-crusted 9-inch pie
For the crust:
1 cup (two sticks, 8 ounces) unsalted butter, cold
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (5-6 ounces) buttermilk, cold
For the filling:
2 pints fresh blueberries
1 pint fresh blackberries
1 cup granulated sugar, plus a little more for sprinkling on top
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
a big pinch of salt
zest of 1/2 a lemon
juice from 1/2 a lemon, or more to taste
1/4 cup plain breadcrumbs or crushed graham crackers
1 large egg, beaten with about a tablespoon of water
First make the crust. Cut the butter into 1-inch cubes and chill in the freezer for 15 minutes. Measure out your buttermilk and place it in the refrigerator so it stays cold.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, and salt. Grab the butter from the freezer and toss it with the flour mixture until all the butter is coated.
Dump the cold butter and flour onto a large, clean area of counter for rolling. Using a rolling pin, roll the mixture so that the butter cubes become flat, thin sheets. Work quickly – the butter should stay cold.
Gather the rolled butter and flour, but them back into the bowl, and refrigerate for 10 minutes. When the butter is cold, remove the bowl from the refrigerator and make a well in the center of the mixture. Pour the cold buttermilk into the mixture all at once. Using your hands, bring the dough together, breaking up any clumps of milk and flour that form. The dough will be shaggy, but all the flour should be moistened. If it isn’t, add another tablespoon of buttermilk. Once it’s all mixed together, divide the dough in half and form each half into a disk. Wrap them in plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour.
At this point, you can keep the dough in the fridge for 3 days or freezer for 3 weeks before using it. If you want to freeze it, roll the dough into sheets and wrap them in plastic wrap, then freeze.
While the crust chills, make the filling. Rinse the berries and place them in a large bowl. Add the flour, sugar, salt, zest, and juice to the bowl and stir it all together gently. Let sit for about 5 minutes, then taste it and add more lemon if needed.
After at least and hour has passed, remove one of the pie crust disks from the fridge. Flour your work surface and rolling pin, and roll the crust out into a circle. Lift it into the pie plate and trim the edges. Leave bout 1/2 an inch of overhand all around.
Sprinkle the breadcrumbs or crushed graham crackers over the bottom of the unbaked pie crust. Slowly pour in the berries and spread them evenly with the back of a spoon. Have your egg wash ready and moisten the edges of the crust.
Place the pie plate with the bottom crust and filling in the fridge while you roll out the top crust. Make the top crust into a 12-inch circle. Remove the pie plate from the fridge and drape the top crust over the filling. Trim it back tuck the two crusts under so the dough is flush with the edge of the pie plate. The egg wash will act like a pie crust glue, keeping them together. Crimp with your fingers or the tines of a fork to seal. Cut 4 slits in the top crust to act as vents. Place the pie in the fridge to chill while the oven preheats.
Place a rack in the lower third of the oven, and a cookie sheet on another rack below to catch any juice that bubbles over. Preheat the oven to 425 F.
Brush the top and outside edge of the pie with the egg wash. Generously sprinkle granulated sugar over the top. Bake the pie at 425 F for 30 minutes. Then, reduce the oven temperature to 375 F and bake for another 30 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling up through the vents. If the crust starts browning too quickly, cover the pie loosely with foil while it bakes (the steam will still need to vent).
Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 30 minutes before serving. Don’t worry about it getting to cool. I brought my pie to a barbecue, it sat outside for about an hour and a half, and it still steamed when I cut into it. Enjoy and give yourself a pat on the back!
Summer is finally and officially here! The 4th of July has come and gone which means summer is here to stay and I couldn’t be more excited about it. Last week I moved (again) into a house that is going to be really great after a year of less-than-ideal living situations.
The sun is finally out and it’s been hot. The kind of hot that’s almost but not quite uncomfortable. Until you get a sunburn, in which case the heat is painful the next day.
Sunburns and sweat and moving aside, I can’t wait for the rest of this summer. It’s going to be great. If you’re looking for a good way to kick off your summer, this bread is a good one. Yes, you’ll have to turn on your oven, but this bread is pretty much a giant cinnamon roll studded with fresh summer berries.
This bread starts off with a yeast dough. We’ll mix the yeast with some butter and a couple other things to activate it, and then form a dough and let it rise.
While the dough rises, we’ll get the berries ready and make the buttery, cinnamon-y spread that will go on the inside of the bread.
The dough will be nice and puffy after it rises.
We’ll roll it out, spread the filling over it, and sprinkle the berries on top.
This is where things get a little tricky. We’ll roll up the dough into a log, rolling tightly so the berries don’t all end up at the far edge of the dough.
Then the log gets sliced in half and each half get turned up towards you to face you.
Then, the two halves will get twisted together.
Finally, the twisted dough will get shaped into a circle, and you’ll press the ends together so it doesn’t all fall apart.
Then, quickly but gently so the dough wreath doesn’t unravel, pick the wreath up and place it into a cast iron skillet, springform pan, or cake pan. Bake, and enjoy all the hark work you just did!
This bread is rich and dense without being too sweet. The butter-cinnamon filling adds a good amount of indulgence and the berries add little bursts of juice with every bite. This one does take a bit of work, but it’s more than well worth it.
Double Berry Cinnamon Bread
From Joy the Baker
Makes 1 loaf
For the dough:
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
3/4 cup whole milk, warmed to a warm lukewarm
1 large egg yolk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
For the filling:
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 cups fresh berries (sliced strawberries, blueberries, raspberries…feel free to use 3 or even more – I couldn’t find any raspberries)
1 large egg, beaten
Make the dough:
Combine the yeast and sugar in a medium bowl. Stir in the warmed milk, and then stir in the egg yolk and melted butter. Whisk the mixture until thoroughly combined. Let the yeast mixture sit for 5 minutes. It should foam and froth, which means the yeast is activated properly. If it doesn’t, start over with new yeast.
Whisk together the flour and salt in a large bowl. Pour the milk/yeast mixture over the flour and knead the dough until it pulls away from the sides of the bowl and starts to form a ball. Place the dough on a lightly floured, clean counter, and knead by hand for about 10 minutes. The dough should be smooth and a little damp, but not too sticky. Form the dough into a ball. Place it in a large bowl greased with olive oil, and cover. I like to cover it lightly with plastic wrap and then put a clean kitchen towel on top. Allow the dough to rest in a warm spot until it’s doubled in size, about an hour.
While the dough rises, mix the butter, sugar, and cinnamon together for the filling and set aside until later.
When the dough is almost done rising, preheat the oven to 375 F. Grease a 10-inch springform pan, cast iron skillet, or a normal 9-inch cake pan and set it aside, too.
When the dough has doubled in size, place it on a lightly floured counter and knead it twice. With a rolling pin, roll the dough into a 12×18-inch rectangle. It doesn’t have to be precise — get it as close as you can and make sure the two longs sides are the same length and the two short ones are the same length.
Put the filling on the dough in a few blobs, and spread it over the dough evenly, leaving about 1 inch of dough on all sides. Place the berries over the cinnamon spread, and press them into the dough a little bit.
Now, beginning from one of the long sides of the dough, roll it into a log. Be sure to tuck it under as best you can, and force the berries into the roll if you need to. The berries will make the log a little lumpy. Use a sharp knife or bench scraper to cut the log in half lengthwise, leaving about an inch of dough uncut at the top. If there is excess dough at the bottom with no filling in it, trim this dough (I didn’t do this but wish I had). To braid the dough, carefully lift the left strand over the right strand. Repeat this until you have used all the dough, straightening and adjusting the braid as necessary. Press the ends of the two strands together. Bring the two ends of the braid together, and press together.
Quickly and carefully transfer the dough ring to the prepared pan. Brush the beaten egg over the dough. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the bread is golden brown and the filling is bubbling. Let cool for 30 minutes before slicing.