Blueberry Lavender Pie


 

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 - 

From 'Four and Twenty Blackbirds pie book'

Pie Dough
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

Filling
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

To finish
1 large egg
1 tsp water
Turbinado / Raw sugar for sprinkling
 

- PROCESS -

PIE DOUGH

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. 

ASSEMBLY

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.

Lavender and Pistachio Brioche Doughnuts


 

Doughnuts are another thing on the list of "things I only recently realised are very easy to make at home". This list also includes ice cream, almond milk, mozzarella cheese, and a whole heap of other things. 

Recently Richard's parents were visiting, and we took them to Chelsea Market in NYC. It has to be one of my favourite places in New York, aside from the green market. There are so many amazing things all jammed into one building and its just the best! We got some teeny baby doughnuts from The Doughnuttery, and one of the flavours was called "Paris Time" - Vanilla, pistachio and lavender. If you know me you know that anything Lavender gets me all heart-eyes, and these were no exception. Of course as soon as we got home I had to recreate my own version.. so here we are! 

Brioche doughnuts bring a whole new element to the doughnut game - they are buttery and tender and just the right amount of sweet to hold up against being drowned in pistachio and lavender sugar. Normally I have a little bit of whatever I make then give it to friends, our staff at the studio, the doormen, etc (If you live in NYC and like baking hit me up because theres always extra), but not these. My goodness. The combination of brioche, pistachio and lavender is one of my favourites. 

If you are planning on making these, you will need to make the dough the night before and give it its first rise at room temperature, and then the second in the fridge overnight, then shape the doughnuts and give them their third proof the next day before frying and sugaring them. You could also use non brioche dough if you wanted these to be ready the same day you make them - Deb's recipe is my favourite. The dough recipe I have used here comes from the Bouchon bakery book, which is soon becoming one of my most reached for books. All the recipes are in grams, which I LOVE (My brain works in kilograms and grams, and I struggle so so hard to swap over to pounds and ounces), and the recipes are so well written and easy to follow. If you are looking for an amazing pastry book, this is my current fave! 

 

 

 

Lavender and Pistachio Brioche Doughnuts
- Makes 8 -

Doughnut recipe from 'Bouchon Bakery'

Brioche Doughnut Dough 
518g (3 1/2 cups plus 3 Tbsp) All purpose flour
10g (1 Tbsp) instant yeast
74g (1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp) Sugar
9g (1 Tbsp) Salt
212g (3/4 cup plus 1 1/2 tbsp) Whole milk, at 75f/24c
111g (1/4 cup plus 3 Tbsp) eggs
9g (1 1/2 tsp) vanilla paste
55g (2 oz) Unsalted butter, in cubes, at room temperature

Canola oil, for frying

Pistachio Lavender Sugar
300g (1 1/2 cups) sugar, divided
35g (1/3 cup) raw pistachios
2g (1 Tbsp) Culinary lavender

 

- PROCESS -

LAVENDER PISTACHIO SUGAR

In the work bowl of a food processor, pulse the pistachios, lavender and 200g (1 cup) sugar until it resembles fine crumbs. Pour into a small bowl and add the remaining half cup (100g) sugar, and stir to combine. Set aside and store in an airtight container until ready to use.

DOUGHNUTS

Place flour and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, and stir to combine. Add Sugar, salt, milk, eggs and vanilla paste, and mix on low for 5 minutes until combined. The dough will look sticky. Mix for a further two minutes. At this stage some pieces of dough will be sticking to the sides of the bowl. Add the butter a cube at a time, mixing well until each piece is well incorporated. Scrape down the bowl and hook, and mix for a further 15-20 minutes, scraping down periodically.

Turn the dough onto a well floured work surface. Avoid adding flour if necessary - add only enough to prevent sticking. Shape the dough into a rectangle, with the short side facing you. Fold the top side down toward you two-thirds of the way down the rectangle, stretching slightly, then repeat with the bottom side, stretching lightly again. Lightly oil a bowl. Place the dough, seam side down into the bowl. Cover with a cloth and leave at room temperature for about an hour. 

Re-flour your surface, and turn the dough out onto it. Press it into a rectangle and repeat the stretching and folding process. Re-oil the bowl, and return the dough to it seam-side down. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. 

The next day, lightly flour your work surface, and turn out the dough. Roll it into a round about 12 inches in diameter. Place on a lined tray and refrigerate for 20 minutes, or freeze for 10 minutes, until the dough has firmed up enough to cut easily. 

Line a tray with a silpat or parchment paper sprayed with cooking spray. Using a 3 1/2 inch cutter, cut 8 circles out of the dough. Use a 1 inch cutter to cut holes in each circle. Use the 1 inch cutter to cut mini doughnut 'holes' out of the remaining scraps (These also work well for testing the dough)

Cover the doughnuts with plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray, and leave in a warm place for 1 to 1 1/2 hours until doubled in size. Place approximately 3 inches of oil into a deep pot or dutch oven, and heat to 350f/177c. Place a cooling rack over a sheet pan, and have the pistachio lavender sugar on a plate nearby.

Working in batches of two, carefully lower the doughnuts one at a time into the oil. Fry for 1 minute, then flip and fry for an additional 2 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oil and place on the rack. When the second batch has finished cooking, transfer the first cooled doughnuts into the bowl of sugar and generously cover both sides with sugar. Tap lightly to remove excess sugar. 

Repeat frying and sugaring process with the remaining doughnuts. Doughnuts will keep for one to two days in an airtight container, but are best eaten on the day that they are fried.

Blackberry and Lavender Tart


 

Its SO HOT. Like, stay inside all day with the air conditioning on hot. I'm not great in either super hot or super cold weather, and on crazy hot days I get a serious case of the angries. The only thing that makes really hot days bearable is trips to the Greenmarket in Union Square. Its probably one of my favourite places in the whole of NYC. I love the seasonality of it. I love every part about it. 

One of these trips, where we bought some amazing blackberries, coincided with the arrival of two new cook books, Tartine, and Bouchon Bakery. I don't think I will ever get over the novelty of Amazon Prime. Both are amazing. I would love to expand my knowledge on pastry, and these books look like they are going to be a great starting point. That and I happen to have a good friend who is an amazing pastry chef, and doesn't mind when I bomb her with a million questions regarding flavour combinations, advice on blind baking, etc etc. 

This tart is a combination of two recipes from the books. The crust is a Pate Sucrée from Bouchon, and the filling is a play on the Blackberry Tart recipe from Tartine. I decided to go with a lavender pastry cream for the filling. The floral taste of the cream compliments the sweetness of the blackberries, and the almond meal in the crust ties it all nicely together. The pastry cream has a little whipped cream folded through it to give it a slightly more light and fluffy texture than regular pastry cream. 

If you can, I seriously recommend making some of the components the day before you plan to eat this. The pastry dough benefits from resting overnight, and the pastry cream needs to be cold when you work with it, so if you can, prepare both the dough and the cream the day before. Then the day of, bake off your tart shell, finish off the pastry cream, and assemble the tart. 

I made mine in a 13.75" x 4.5" rectangular tart tin with a removable bottom. If you wanted to you could make it as an 8 inch round tart instead - the quantities of each component needed are similar, although you may need more blackberries. Ideally I would have had slightly more berries to put on the top, but somehow some of them 'magically' disappeared from the fridge. 

This is best eaten the day that it is made, when the cream is fresh. But its also amazing the next day. And the one after too. Just saying. 

One more note: The measurements in the crust recipe are in grams, as dividing the cup measurements made the whole thing very confusing to follow. The majority of pastry recipes are in grams, which I am a huge fan of, as it makes everything so much more accurate, along with ensuring that inaccuracies don't come about by way of conversion mistakes. 

 

 

Blackberry Lavender tart
-Makes one 8 inch round tart, or one 13 x 4 inch rectangle tart-

Adapted from "Bouchon Bakery"/"Tartine"

Pate Sucrée
188g All-purpose flour
23g Powdered sugar (for the dry ingredients)
47g Powdered sugar (for the wet ingredients)
24g Almond meal
113g (one stick, or 4 oz) Unsalted butter, at room temperature. 
1/4 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, or 1 tsp Vanilla Paste
28g eggs

Lavender Cream
2 cups (500ml/500g) Whole milk
4 Tbsp (10g) Culinary Lavender
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup (115g) Sugar
1/4 cup (30g) Cornstarch
2 Large eggs, lightly beaten
4 Tbsp (55g) Unsalted butter
3/4 cup (175ml) Heavy cream, very cold
2 Pints (570g) Blackberries

- PROCESS -

PATE SUCREE

Sift All-purpose flour, 23g Powdered sugar, and almond meal into a medium bowl. Ensure that there are no lumps in the almond meal by sieving well. Whisk until well combined. 

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium until it is pale. In the book, they suggest beating it until it 'holds a peak and is the consistency of mayonnaise'. Add the 47g of powdered sugar, and mix briefly to incorporate. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and mix again on high for one minute, or until fluffy. Add vanilla seeds from the bean, or the vanilla paste, and mix on low until evenly distributed throughout the mixture. 

Add the dry ingredients in two parts, mixing well between each addition. Add the egg and mix for another minute or so until cohesive. Transfer to a work surface. Using the heel of your hand, smear the mixture on the surface. Repeat this process until it is evenly mixed and well combined. Shape the dough into a rectangle, and wrap tightly in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or preferably overnight. 

Roll out chilled dough until it is 1/8th of an inch (3mm) thick. Transfer to tart tin, carefully ensuring it is right into the corners. Trim excess dough from edges of tin with a small knife. Keep these scraps in case you need to do a patch job later. Place pastry lined tart tin in the freezer for 30 minutes. 

Preheat the oven to 350f/180c.  Line the tart pan with parchment paper, allowing some to overhang the edges. Fill the paper with rice or beans, ensuring that the tin is evenly filled. Bake for 25 minutes or until the edges are just starting to colour, then remove the paper and beans and bake for another 5-10 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown and cooked through. Remove from the oven and rest on a wire rack until completely cool.

PASTRY CREAM 

Place milk in a medium saucepan with the salt. Heat until small bubbles appear at the sides of the milk, and it just starts to steam. Add lavender, stir well, cover, and allow to steep for 20-25 minutes. Strain the lavender from the milk, and return the infused milk to the pan. 

Prepare a heat resistant bowl with a sieve placed over it for straining the pastry cream. In another bowl, whisk together the corn starch, sugar, and eggs. 

Heat the infused milk on a medium heat until it is just close to a boil. Whisk frequently to prevent it from catching. Remove from heat, and pour about a quarter of the milk mixture into the egg/sugar/cornstarch mixture, whisking constantly. Add another quarter of the milk, and whisk until well combined. This step tempers the eggs to ensure that they will not scramble when added to the hot milk. 

Add the egg and milk mixture back into the saucepan, and place it over medium heat. Whisk until it reaches the consistency of lightly whipped cream. Watch this stage very carefully, as this process happens very quickly. Pour the mixture through the sieve into the prepared bowl. Let the pastry cream cool for approximately 10 minutes, or until it is 140f/60c. While it is cooling, cut the butter up into tablespoon sized chunks. Add the butter to the pastry cream one chunk at a time, whisking until completely combined. Let it cool for a few minutes more, then place plastic wrap directly onto the pastry cream to ensure a skin does not form. Refrigerate until completely cold. 

In a stand mixer, or in a mixing bowl, whip the cream until medium-stiff form. You want it to have a similar consistency to that of the pastry cream, so that they incorporate nicely when you combine them. Gently fold the cream into the whipped pastry cream. Be careful not to over-mix. 

ASSEMBLY

Scoop the filling into the prepared cooled tart shell, and smooth off with an offset spatula. Arrange blackberries on top of the filling. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Just before serving, if desired, dust lightly with icing sugar.