Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Pie--Glorious Pie!

Yes, this gorgeous pie is cooling on the windowsill. Ahhh. It was very much enjoyed!

Mulberry Rhubarb Pie
This recipe is adapted from two wonderful cookbooks. The filling is from A Midwest Gardener's Cookbook, by Marian K. Towne. This book really is a good companion for the Minnesota gardener.
The crust (I never quite understood all quest for flaky, tender crus
ts till I bit into this! It puts ready-made crusts to shame.) is out of The Lost Art of Pie Making Made Easy by Barbara Swell. This book is a hoot.

This will take a while. Makes bottom and top crust with lots leftover for pie-crust cookies (by far Gibb's favorite element of pie-day!)
2 cups flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. baking powder
a stick and a quarter of butter, cut into little pieces and frozen
a glass of water with some ice and a squirt of lemon juice in it

Work fast! The key is not letting the butter get warm!
Mix up all the dry ingredients. Rub and cut the butter into the dry ingredients. Take heart; once you get through this the rest is easy. I used to use a pastry cutter before I lost mine. This time, I cut it in with butter knives and then rubbed it in the tips of my fingers. After a while I gave up and used my whole hands. I worked quickly and popped it in the freezer to chill as soon as all the flour was mixed in. It made a beautiful crust!

Now mix up the filling.
Filling: be generous with the fruit now!
Mix up in a bowl:
2-3 cups mulberries, leave the stems on. If you try to take them off, the berries will turn to mush
1-2 cups sliced rhubarb. avoid the tough part at bottom of stalks
3/4 sugar
3 Tablespoons flour

I take that dough from the fridge or freezer. Pat it into 3 disks. Put 2 back in the fridge.
Put the dough on a floured silpats mat. (thanks, Grammers!) These are crazy expensive. I think a floured dish cloth, oil cloth, or saran wrap might work too. This keeps the dough from ripping as I pick it up and from getting stuck to the table.
Roll the dough out quick, sprinkling with flour if it starts to stick. Peel off the mat and into a waiting pie pan. I now cut around the outside edge of the pan with a butter knife to slice off the excess crust, which goes with the extra lump in the fridge.

Fill this bottom crust with fruit! Now I turn on the oven; almost done!
I take the next disk of dough and roll it out as before. Once it gets nice and big, I cut it into long strips a bit wider than a finger. This is the fun part, where I weave the basket-like top crust. I lay a few strips across the middle of the pie. Then I start to lay more strips going crosswise to the first ones, over and under. I continue likewise until the pie is covered in latticework strips of crust.

Just before the oven (375 F) I trim the top crust, pinch top and bottom crusts together (this gives that pretty crimped homemade pie look) and brush the top crust with cream. Put it in the oven.
In the meantime, make the extra crust into cookies.

Pie-Crust Cookies: My mom always let us make these. They finish baking long before the pie, and are great for impatient assistant chefs. If I had extra anything else on hand, I would have improvised another pie or tart with all the extra crust. Plus, if I've got the oven on on a summers' day, I want to fill up that oven to get all I can out of the heat.
Just roll out dough and cut into strips, diamonds, or with cookie cutters. Odd-shaped leftover cuttings just roll out again, or toss right on the cookie sheet. Brush with milk, cream, or water, and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Gibbie loves helping with this!
Pop them in the oven. Stay in the kitchen! They cook up quick, for excited little children who can't wait for pie.
The pie cooks for around an hour. I take it out when it's golden brown on top and the berries are bubbling merrily. I set it in the windowsill to cool. Serve with fresh whipped cream.

Pies are so worth the trouble to bake; the house may have been a disaster the day we made this, but the accomplishment of this triumph of summer fruit, this pie, sure made me lift up my head. It's also worth getting out the pretty plates.


Anonymous said...

the book is a hoot is it! A hoot and a holler?

Anonymous said...

oh, sorry that was my comment (mary)