We are baaaaack! It's a super weird feeling. Each time we are in New Zealand I don't want to leave a little more than the last time, and this last trip I was somehow homesick before we even got on the plane to come back to America. Rich got a fever on the plane and was super sick, so we got minimal sleep. I of course managed to catch it off him, and it turned out to be this gross super cold so we have both spent the last week hiding away trying to fight it off. Not quite the idea I had in my mind of hitting the ground running and jumping straight back into routine to combat homesickness, but these things happen.
It feels like this year has already been all allocated! I had a grand plan to somehow make it to Italy this year, but I already feel kinda stressed about fitting it in! My goodness. It just feels like we are busy already?
What is coming up soon though is Pie Day! The 14th of March is the big day! I find it kind of funny because in New Zealand we write the date with the day first, so if we had it our way then pie day couldn't exist, but for now this is the one time I am grateful for the confusing way America writes things. I was looking through my instagram the other day, and for pie day last year I made my very first Pie crust! It was a total piece of crap and 100% fell apart, but I was very proud of myself. I like to think I have come a little way in the grand scheme of pie in the last year - it's currently one of my favourite things. I love how versatile it is, it's easy to make ahead, and provided you have dough and some form of fruit, you can totally make a recipe up on the fly. I have a couple of pie ideas hiding up my sleeve, so I will try and get them all up before the 14th!
This one is super simple - a blueberry lavender pie. Although blueberries aren't in season in America at the moment they most definitely are in New Zealand. They tend to be readily available still in supermarkets in the U.S. though, so if you were wanting a little hit of summer in this gross winter, this is for you too! Blueberries alone are amazing, but accentuated with a subtle hint of lavender, this pie has another level of flavour to it. If you are not a lavender person by all means feel free to leave it out. (I love it, but totally understand that some people think that it tastes like hand cream). The fruit cooks down to an amazing jammy texture, and pairs so well with the flaky pastry.
I used pie stamps on the top of the pie - they are a really easy way to make the top look super pretty. You could do a simple lattice, or just cut out rounds with a shot glass and arrange them on the surface of the fruit. Anything goes really, provided you end up with some sort of crust arrangement on the top of the pie!
Blueberry lavender pie
- Makes one 9 inch pie -
2 1/2 cups (310g) Flour
Pinch of Salt
2 tsp (8g) sugar
2 sticks (226g) cold butter, cut into cubes
1 cup (240ml) cold water
1 cup ice
1/4 cup (60ml) Apple cider vinegar
1 medium apple
5 cups fresh blueberries (approx. 1 Kg)
2 Tbsp (30ml) lemon juice
1/2 cup (100g) sugar
1/2 cup (50g) packed brown sugar
1/4 cup (40g) flour
1/2 tsp lavender essence
1 Tbsp finely ground culinary lavender
1 large egg
1 tsp water
Turbinado / Raw sugar for sprinkling
- PROCESS -
Place flour, sugar and salt into a large bowl. Cut butter into chunks, and add to the flour. Toss lightly to coat. Working quickly, using a pastry blender or your fingers, cut the butter into the flour mixture until there are only pea-sized chunks left. You want a few lumps of butter remaining to keep the pastry nice and tender.
Combine ice, water and cider vinegar in a bowl. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of the ice water into the flour and butter mixture, and using a stiff spatula or your hands, mix in well. Continue adding water a tablespoon at a time ( I normally need about 10 tbsp) until you have a dough that holds together well, but is not too wet. Squeeze together with your fingertips to make a homogenous dough. Shape into two discs and wrap in plastic wrap. Rest in the fridge for at least two hours, or preferably overnight.
On a lightly floured surface, roll one disc into a circle slightly larger than your pie dish. You want it to be approximately 1/8 inch (3mm) in thickness. Line the pie dish, leaving the extra dough overhanging. Trim the dough so there is about 1 inch overlapping the edge of your dish. Fold the dough back on itself, and crimp the border of the pie using two fingers of one hand and the thumb of the other. Roll out the second disc of dough, and cut out shapes using a cookie cutter or pie stamp. Place the shapes on a cookie sheet / baking tray. Refrigerate both the lined dish and the tray of stamps until ready to use.
Peel the apple, and then roughly grate. Place in a large bowl. Add the blueberries, lemon juice, sugar, brown sugar, flour, lavender essence, and culinary lavender. Mix well with a stiff spatula or your hands to combine, crushing some of the blueberries in the process.
Pour the filling into the prepared pie dish. Arrange the stamped dough on the top of the fruit, making sure that there is a small amount of overlap. Rest the pie in the fridge for 15 minutes to set.
While the pie is resting in the fridge, preheat the oven to 425˚f/ 220˚c. Place a baking tray on the bottom rack of the oven.
Whisk together the egg and water in a small bowl. Brush the surface of the pie with the egg wash, and sprinkle liberally with turbinado / raw sugar. Take care not to get filling on the pastry.
Place the pie on the baking tray in the oven. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the pastry has begun to go golden brown. Move the pie and baking tray to the middle of the oven, and decrease the temperature to 375˚f / 190˚c. Bake the pie for a further 35 to 40 minutes, or until the pastry is deeply golden and the filling is bubbling.
Cool completely on a wire rack before serving.