Apple and Blackberry Pie


 

Haaaaaappppyyyy Pi Day! I have decided that if I had a day that was my spirit animal, today would be the day! How are you celebrating? There is meant to be a blizzard hitting NYC right about now, so I have a funny feeling that it will be a snow day! Everyone was at the supermarket getting their snow-day french toast ingredients (milk, eggs and bread), and the shelves were starting to be empty and the line was out the door. Thankfully I stocked up super early this morning after the gym, and didn't need any of the ingredients for french toast! (we are having pizza! haha). 

In the Spirit of Pi day I thought I would share a pie that encompasses a couple of different techniques. The thing that I love about pie dough is how versatile it is. The same dough can be worked in a huge number of different ways to yield different results. There is a knack to making the dough itself (my friend Erin, the queen of pie dough, just released a super helpful video talking all about pie dough and how to make it, what it should look like etc), but once it has come together, there are so many different options in how you decorate your pie, what filling you use etc. I have tried to demonstrate a few of my favourite techniques here - a basic lattice using cut strips, pie stamps, and a braid done using the pasta maker. 

- Cut strip Lattice: This is a super quick and easy way to decorate a pie. I like to use a ruler and a pastry wheel to help me cut my strips. One of my current favourite ways to lattice is in a herringbone pattern, which I have also used on this pie. 

-Pie stamps: These are my favourite way to add a super pretty yet super simple touch to a pie. The stamps that I use both cut out the shape and imprint a pattern onto the cut-out, so you can add leaves, flowers etc to the top of your pie. They are great for hiding messy ends of braids, little imperfections in your lattice, or just for covering the entire top of the pie for a slightly different effect.

-Stand mixer pasta attachment: This is the most recent technique I have developed for pie lattice. Using the pasta roller / cutting attachment means that you get very smooth, consistent strips of dough, perfect for a detailed lattice or a nice tidy braid. I have found however that by putting the pastry through the pasta maker it tends to make it quite tough and brittle, so you won't get as nice of a flaky tender texture to your pie pastry as you would if you rolled it by hand. For this pie I only used a small braid around the edge of the pie, as I wanted the lattice and stamps to still have the nice flaky texture.

I went with a super simple classic apple and blackberry pie. I increased the amount of pastry I would usually use for a 9 inch pie, because of all the elements included. If you were doing a simple lattice, or just a lattice and stamps, make the amount of dough used in this recipe instead. I did a fat (approx 1 inch strips) herringbone lattice in the centre of the pie. As always I followed the tutorial by the amazing Stella Parks. I then ran a small amount of pastry through the pasta roller and fettuccine cutter on my kitchen aid, and made three simple braids with the strips, which I placed around one edge of the pie. I finished off the pie by rolling out the excess dough from lining the tin, and cut out lots of leaves and flowers. I used these to cover any messy spots on the lattice, hide the ends of the braids, decorate the edges of the pie, which brought the whole design together nicely! I totally free-styled this as I went, which is half the fun of it - you don't know what it is going to look like until you are finished! 

So happy Pi day! Have a good one! Make some Pie. 

 

 

Apple and Blackberry Pie
- Makes one 9 inch Pie -

Pie Dough from 'Four and Twenty Blackbirds pie book'

Pie Dough
3 3/4 cups (560) Flour
Pinch of Salt
3 tsp (12g) sugar
3 sticks (340g) cold butter, cut into cubes
1 cup (240ml) cold water
1 cup ice
1/4 cup (60ml) Apple cider vinegar


Filling
600g / 1.3lbs apples, cored and sliced thinly
Juice of 2 Lemons
1/4 cup (50g) sugar
1 1/2 cups fresh blackberries
1/3 cup (85g) raw / turbinado sugar, plus more for sprinkling
1/3 cup (50g) all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Egg wash
1 egg, beaten with 1 Tbsp water

- 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 8-10 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 1/2 an inch overlapping the edge of your dish. Wrap the remaining pastry tightly in plastic wrap and place into the fridge for use later. Refrigerate the lined tin until ready to add the filling.

FILLING

In a large bowl, place the cored and sliced apples. Toss with the lemon juice, and drain off any excess. Sprinkle over the granulated sugar, and mix well to combine. Leave to sit for approx. 30 minutes to allow the fruit to release any excess moisture. 

Drain any excess liquid that has accumulated in the bowl, and add the blackberries, flour, raw sugar and cinnamon. Mix well to combine, and turn out the mixture into the lined pie dish. 

ASSEMBLY

Remove the second disc of dough from the fridge. Cut off a small fist sized chunk, and set aside to use for the braids. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the remainder of the pastry into a large rectangle, approximately 1/8 inch (3mm). Using a ruler as a width guide and a pastry wheel, cut the pastry into strips approximately 1 inch thick. Place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. 

Using a pasta maker, flour the dough set aside for the braids. Pass through the widest setting on your pasta maker multiple times, folding and pressing it back together between passes until it is smooth and homogenous. Decrease the thickness on the machine to the second widest setting, and pass the dough through several times. You want it to be at least 10 inches long (it doesn't matter if it is narrow). Pass the dough through the cutting attachment of the machine, and place the cut strips onto a baking sheet. Divide into three groups of three strands. Press the ends of the strands together, and braid in a simple 3 strand braid, pinching the strands together once your braid is the desired length. Repeat two more times for the other braids, and then place on the lined baking sheet. 

Roll out any leftover dough. Using pie stamps, cut out shapes from the dough, and place on a second lined baking sheet. 

Using the thick strips, follow this tutorial to create a herringbone lattice. You only really need the centre part of the pie to have the full effect of the herringbone lattice, so once you are close to the edges of the pie, you can leave them unwoven, as these parts will be covered by the braid or stamps. 

Arrange the three braids around the edge of the pie in your desired position. 

Arrange the cut out stamps around the pie, using them to cover any imperfections in the lattice, or messy ends of the braid. Press down lightly to adhere them to the pie, using a small amount of water on the backs of the cut-outs if necessary. 

Place the finished pie in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to firm up. 

BAKING

While the pie is resting in the fridge, preheat the oven to 400˚f/200˚c. Place a baking sheet on the bottom rack of the oven. 

Remove the pie from the fridge and brush with the egg wash using a pastry brush. Sprinkle liberally with turbinado sugar. Place on the baking tray and bake for 20-30 minutes, until the pastry is beginning to set and go golden. Reduce the temperature to 375f/190c, and cook for a further 30-40 minutes or until the pastry is a deep golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool completely. 

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.