Pie. I could dig out the very dated quote from Mrs. Dull's "Southern Cooking" (1928), which was along the lines of "men love pie, and so we womenfolk need to please our men by baking them" but really, I love pie for myself, and don't need any excuse to bake one. This time the pie was younger niece's birthday celebration. It's so nice when the relatives are willing to accept upcoming baking assignments for their celebratory desserts!
The Black and Blueberry Pie the Alpha Bakers are blogging this week is simple and wonderful, and would be even more simple (though not so wonderful, even with my non-expert pastry skills), with a pre-bought pie crust. The recipe uses the same cream-cheese crust as the Luscious Apple Pie which I baked before the group got started. The dough was drier than I remembered in the mixing. I did add a bit more cream to the food processor before dumping the crumbly mix of flour, cream cheese, butter, etc. into a bag. It looked like a mess, but with enough pressing and pushing the crumbs became a mass that could be formed into two lumps for rolling out.
The dough chilled overnight, then the next day I rolled out the bottom crust, got it into the pan, and refrigerated it. I then rolled out the top and cut some berry-ish decorations, then slipped that crust onto a baking sheet and first into the freezer briefly, then the fridge to chill so the design wouldn't stretch when placed on the pie.
Then it was time for the very easy filling. The dry mixture (sugar and cornstarch, mostly) goes in a bowl, add lemon zest and juice are added to get a slurry. Dump in frozen blackberries and blueberries, stir, and turn the entire mix into the prepared crust. (Fresh berries are fine too, but it's winter in the northern hemisphere. Not getting good fresh berries right now...) On goes the top crust, after moistening the edge for a good seal. I had to let my top crust warm a bit before it could be tucked under and then crimped into a decorative edge. The pie then goes back to the fridge for another chill before baking.
The pie bakes on a stone at the bottom of the oven, with a edge protector. Rose calls for a foil ring, but I used a silicone protector which I'd used on the apple pie as well as other recipes. However, when my pie was done my decorative crimped edge emerged from under the shield pretty much flat. It was also a little too brown, which is somewhat contradictory--if the silicone was too good an insulator and kept the heat from setting the crimped edge before it semi-melted, you'd have thought it would have kept things from getting too brown. But maybe not....Rose thought the silicone ring was the likely culprit, anyway. It caused some problems with the apple pie too, so I guess it needs to be chalked up as an unsuccessful experiment. Or maybe I can put it on after the pastry has set but before it started to really brown.
Flattened edge or no, the pie was a big hit, even with all the chocoholics next door. I served it with some barely sweetened whipped cream which gave just the right accent to the sweet berries and pastry. A la mode, with the pie warmed a bit, would also do well, but the birthday girl opted for whipped cream.