Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Cranberry Blueberry Pie # 26

Well friends, I made it half way!

[insert applause, here]

Truthfully, I made it halfway a few weeks ago and I am proud to say that I'm well past that mark right now (I just haven't had enough time to blog about these pies...so, more to come this week).  

[insert another applause, here] 

Thank you, thank you.

I've been reading The Pie and Pastry Bible recently which contains a little different pie dogma than what I've previously been reading. I've experimented with a few of their ideas, one of which is placing your pie on the bottom rack or even on the floor of your oven for the first 15 minutes of baking. It supposed to give you a great bottom crust and keep it from getting soggy during cooking. I think it's a great idea, but I haven't had much success with it yet (and it definitely didn't work out well for this pie), but if you try it and it works for you, please let me know. I think I kept it on the bottom a little too long (for this pie and another one) and the crust became impossible to cut through. I swear it's got to work at some point.

Another little tidbit from this book is that it claims to have the first pie that was posted on the internet, a cranberry blueberry pie. 

Honestly, I'm not sure how anyone could gauge that this was the FIRST pie on the internet, but I feel compelled to put it back on the internet (and while I didn't try very hard, I never found this recipe in a google search). It also piqued my interest because we've had the best blueberries lately (I swear they shouldn't be in season yet) and we've been eating a lot of dried cranberries and fresh blueberries mixed into our morning breakfast. So, altogether, it seemed like a perfect pie to try.

However, my 26th pie was just okay. Ryan and the rest of the tasters gave the crust two thumbs up (the vinegar seemed to make it a little more delicate and gave it a good flavor) despite the hard bottom. Which only leads me to wonder if the crust reviews were positive because the cranberry blueberry filling had a weird texture (which I think is because I paired dried fruit with fresh fruit).

The bottom line is, it wasn't an awful pie, but definitely not my best. I would like to try it again with fresh blueberries and fresh cranberries, which I think would make a better combination--of course, we'd have to adjust the sugar level and not make this pie in June when fresh cranberries are unavailable in Manhattan (because believe me, I checked), but those are small details that I think would be worth working out in the future.

On another positive note, I'm happy to present the first internet pie recipe, back on the internet.
Cranberry Blueberry Pie
(adapted from The Pie and Pastry Bible)
Basic Flaky Pie Crust:
14 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 + 1/8 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
5 to 7 tablespoons ice cold water
1 tablespoon cider vinegar

2 tablespoons of milk
1 tablespoon of sugar

Cranberry Blueberry Filling:
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
pinch of salt 
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
4 cups Blueberries, rinsed and dried
1 cup dried cranberries

For Crust--In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, salt, and baking powder. Cut cold, unsalted butter into flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal or small peas. Add the cider vinegar and 5 tablespoons of cold water and use your hands to combine into a ball. If mixture is having a hard time sticking add two more tablespoons of cold water (or whatever is needed).

Once mixture is formed into a ball, split in two, form each side into a ball and flatten into two round discs. Wrap in plastic wrap and set aside in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

For Filling--In a medium bowl, stir together the sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt. Add the blueberries and dried cranberries and toss to coat them. 

Roll out bottom pie crust to a twelve-inch round. Gently move pie crust to pie pan and line so that the crust rests in the pan (no stretching and no folds) so it evenly hangs over the edge of the pie pan (about one-inch). Once bottom crust is in place, transfer the berry mixture to the pie shell. Cut the tablespoon of butter into chunks and dab over the top of berries.

Roll out top crust to a ten-inch round and drape over the berry mixture. Trim overhang to an even one-inch and tuck the overhang under the bottom crust border. Crimp the boarder using a fork or your fingers.

Cover the pie loosely with plastic wrap and freeze it for 1 hour before baking (this will keep the crust from shrinking).

Preheat the oven to 425F at least 20 minutes before baking. Set an oven rack on lowest level and place a baking stone or baking sheet on it before preheating. If using a baking stone, cover with a piece of foil to catch any juices.

Once oven is heated, remove pie from freezer, brush top crust with milk and sprinkle with sugar. Place the pie directly on the foil-topped baking stone or baking sheet (note: do not remove stone or sheet from the oven, just place the pie on top of it) and bake for 40-50 minutes until the filling is thickly bubbling. (Note: after 30 minutes, you may need to protect the edges from overbrowning with a foil ring.)

Cool the pie on a rack for at least 4 hours before cutting. When set. The berries should remain juicy but will not flow out of the crust

Will keep at room temperature for 3 days

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