Pie project


I have continued my journey with pie, but I’ve been having so much darn fun with it, that I haven’t been reporting too much.  I’m getting closer to my perfect crust, and it’s fun to try different fillings each week.

Here is the pie history:

May 13 – Rhubarb Streusel.  Sadly, I have no photo of this pie, because I took it to Green Bay, where friends hosted us when I ran the Green Bay Marathon.  I forgot to take a photo.  Trust me when I tell you the pie turned out far better than the marathon.

May 20 – Apple Crumble.  No, apples are not in season in May, at least not in the Midwest, but I had a hankering. What can I say?

May 27 – Peach.  The dog ate it. I’m not kidding. Here’s a photo of the dog who ate my pie. Damn dog.

June 3 – Apricot galette. It exploded in the oven from the custard you add during the last 15 minutes of baking. But it was delicious. I actually didn’t share this one. Sometimes, I think it’s a miracle that I don’t weigh 300 lbs.

June 10 – Mixed berry. To date, the best pie I had made, including crust.

June 17 – Plum blackberry streusel. A Bon Appetit recipe. Messy, but the unique flavor was well worth having purple fingers.

June 24 – Open-faced blueberry. This has been my favorite pie so far.  It uses 4 cups of blueberries (though I think you could definitely increase this to 5 or 6), but you only cook one cup of the berries (or 1/4 of the berries you’re using if you increase the total amount) with some sugar and thickener, then mix it in with the fresh berries, dump it in a baked pie crust, and let it set for a few hours. Eat it with some lightly sweetened, freshly whipped cream. Summer doesn’t get better than this.

Did I say this was my favorite pie so far?  OK, I thought so.

June 30 – Peaches and Dream pie from the cookbook Baked Explorations.  It’s basically a way-too-sweet peach custard pie. My verdict? Blech. Others seemed to like it well enough, but you won’t find it being made in my house again.

July 1 – Run for the Roses, aka Kentucky Derby pie. It’s got chocolate, pecans and bourbon in it. Need I say more? This was supposed to be one of two pies I brought for the 4th of July (my sister doesn’t eat fruit), but it turned out to be a grief pie. My doggie nephew Bruno was laid to rest on July 3. He was the sweetest little Italian greyhound, who loved to give kisses, but a tumor got the best of him.  We miss that lovable trouble-maker. Understandably, my sister and brother-in-law were in no mood for July 4 festivities, so they stayed home, and I brought them this pie to comfort them.

July 1, part deux – Strawberry cream cheese pie. This is the pie I brought to the 4th of July festivities at my parents’ home. Again, I sadly have no photo of this pie, and it’s too bad, because it certainly was a beauty. I used strawberries I picked myself from a farm just north of the city, and that definitely put this pie over the top.  It had a cream cheese base layer, a cooked strawberry layer, and an uncooked strawberry topping.  My dad went nuts over it and asked me to make it again next year for his birthday. No problemo, padre!

July 8 – Peach streusel. The organic peaches were wonderful and juicy, and I used more than the recipe called for, but didn’t increase the thickener. Oops. It was a little soupy, but unlike the Peaches and Dream pie, this one was indeed dreamy. Tip: Don’t make a streusel for a peach pie unless it’s going to be completely consumed the day it’s made. It gets soggy and unappetizing after day 1.  Stick with a top crust instead.

July 15 – Open faced apricot pie. I’m finding that I’m quite fond of apricots. This pie was lovely and fragrant. Too bad I dropped half of it on the garage floor, and had to throw it out along with the pie plate that shattered and shot like shrapnel all over the place.  Sweeping up that mess was no fun. The raspberries were from a roadside stand. (I love writing that!)

July 22 – Cherry-rhubarb. I used the last batch of Cherryland’s Best Door County Cherries that I froze from last year for this pie.  This one was a beauty.  Randy took it to work (after I sampled a piece), and it was gone within 2 hours. Yeah, it was that good.

Here’s the piece I sampled. How’s that for discipline!?

I also made a savory Zucchini-Ricotta galette this week, which we had for dinner yesterday. I wasn’t that excited about it, but we have zucchini up the wazoo from our CSA, and it seemed like a good way to use it and exceed my pie quota for the week. I’m an over-achiever like that. I also got a little wild with the crust, and used a mixture of unbleached all purpose, whole wheat pastry, and spelt flour. It was incredibly flavorful. I dare say it’s a repeater, though I would probably amp up the cheesy base with some spices or herbs next time.

So there you have it. I may have been slacking off in the writing department, but the pie-making has been full-speed ahead.

A word about my crusts.  Flour is a big deal.  Turns out, so is sugar.  I love the texture that pastry flour gives a crust, but I can only find whole wheat pastry flour in the stores.  So, if I use it, I add a couple of teaspoons of sugar to the crust.  If I don’t add sugar, the crust seems a better fit for a savory rather than sweet filling. You can skip the sugar if you use a white flour.

But pastry flour is more expensive.  A good alternative is bleached all purpose flour.  I know, the idea of using bleached flour is a little unappetizing, but it has less protein which makes for a more tender crust.

Don’t use White Lily flour for pie crust (though in cakes it’s great!). I actually discovered this a number of weeks ago, but in an effort to use up what I had bought, I mixed the White Lily flour with unbleached All Purpose flour for a couple of the pies I made.  It’s just too soft and delicate.  It’s a pain to roll out and crimp, and it doesn’t hold up to fruit fillings. I’ll stick to using it for cakes and muffins.

If you want to knock your friends’ socks off with your crust, use an Irish or European butter, which has a higher fat content than American versions. You CAN taste the difference.  One of my favorite crusts to date has been made with Kerrygold butter.

At the end of the day, you can use regular butter and unbleached all purpose flour for your crust, and it will still be loads better than your average store-bought version.  Before this here pie journey, that’s how I made pie crusts whenever I made pie, and it was great! The crust is perhaps a little crunchier, but it’s homemade. You bring a homemade pie anywhere, and people are not going to start asking you what kind of flour and butter you used. They’re going to Mmmm and Ahhh about it, as they should.

Happy pie-making.

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I’ve nearly finished dumping everything perishable in my refrigerator and freezer, which stopped working last night.  Yes, my heart hurts from throwing out homemade yogurt, pork jowl, beef tenderloin, homemade chicken broth, and all manner of other items that I was planning to use over the next few weeks.

Luckily, I had pie to comfort me.

The crust was made just like a basic butter pastry crust, but I subbed plain yogurt for water, at Rose Levy Berenbaum’s suggestion.  I can see why she recommended it–the tangy flavor of the crust does complement the tartness of the lime filling, but 1) it was a devil to work with, cracking all over creation, and 2) I missed the stage-center flavor of butter, which in this crust is masked slightly by the yogurt.

In all fairness, I used another type of flour, so that could have contributed to the difficulty I had keeping the dough in one piece.  On a whim, I decided to use self-rising White Lily flour that I found at a local grocery store in the area (Sendik’s, for those of you who live in Milwaukee).  It’s a bleached white flour with leavener added.  I understand it’s very popular in the South. Since I usually add 1/8 teaspoon baking powder to my crusts, I thought, why not? But it feels very soft. Almost cake flour soft, so it might not work out for me.

The filling was dreamy. It was actually supposed to be a lemon pucker pie from Berenbaum’s Pie and Pastry Bible, but since I had an overabundance of limes from our Casa de Collett Margarita Party (the best margaritas in the Midwest!),  limes it was going to be!

I started by making a lime curd*.  Then I made a stiff meringue*.  Then I folded the curd into the meringue (I keep wanting to spell merengue! Let’s dance!).  Voilá!  Filling done.  I dumped it into my fully pre-baked pie crust, and into the oven it went for about 20 minutes until the top was golden.  It was actually half golden, and half light brown, because my oven is terribly uneven and I forgot to turn it 10 minutes in.  But it was still pretty… until I cut into it.  That meringue-curd filling stuck to the knife no matter what I did!

But I still ate it.  So did my colleagues.  Pucker up, buttercup.

* Note:  these are not the recipes I used, but they’re close and will serve you well if you want to try them. 

We have just finished cleaning up the last dishes from our 5th annual Cinco de Mayo party.  We still have to put the furniture back in place, but I’m feeling good about having a clean kitchen again.  So good in fact, that I’m making me some homemade yogurt this morning.  Mmmm.

Despite the hefty amount of preparation that went into my Mexican feast, I still managed to squeak out my weekly pie.  In the spirit of Mexico’s sweet victory against Napoleon in the 1862 Battle of Puebla, I made a sweet treat:  empanadas with carmelized apple and almond filling.

Here are the little beauties.

No, there’s no booze in the empanadas. The picture is also paying homage to Randy’s best-in-Milwaukee margaritas.

Ok, they’re not that beautiful, but some of them were way worse! The thing about empanadas and other items requiring putzy assemblage is that the more you do it, the better you get at crimping those pretty little edges. This won’t be the last time you see empanadas on my blog!

I used a recipe from my go-to book for these parties, Fiesta at Rick’s. It’s a fun book, and you can really riff on the recipes and not screw them up. Bonus!

To make them, use your favorite pie dough recipe and maybe add a touch more water if you’re like me. (For regular pies, I keep the dough as dry as possible, but still able to be rolled. You really have to handle the dough a lot with empanadas, so adding a touch more water will ensure they don’t fall apart on you.)

Roll it out into a big sheet or round, about 1/8 inch thick, and cut 3.5-4 inch circles.

Saute apples in butter with brown sugar and a pinch of salt until they’re good and caramelized.

Use almond paste, diluted with water for a spreadable consistency.  (Or you can use any nut you like. Grind it up in a food processor, then add a bit of butter to make it spreadable.)

For each empanada, spread a scant teaspoon of almond paste and top with a couple of teaspoons of apples.  Crimp the edges in anyway you like.  Here’s a good 1-minute tutorial.

At this stage, you can either freeze them or bake in a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes.  Brush with an egg yolk/water mixture, then pop them back into the oven for a few minutes to brown slightly.

Delicioso.

This sister has been one busy gal!   Between baking pies, traveling for work, and trying to decide which CSA  to sign up for this year, I’ve fallen behind on my pie reporting!

Here’s a spring round-up:

Sour Cherry Lattice Pie

I love sour cherry pie. I’m sure my first experience with it was in Door County (where else?). It’s second only to strawberry rhubarb, which my grandmother made somewhat regularly when I was a little tyke.  I made this pie for noshing on after my Trailbreaker half-marathon on March 31 (PR, baby!).  It was good.  I’ve made better.  I overworked the cream cheese crust, taking too much comfort in the fact that the cream cheese slows down the gluten formation in the flour. The filling was also soupy, which I attribute to using frozen cherries. Definitely should have reduced the liquid to a syrup before tossing it all in the pie crust.  Though it’s beautiful, don’t you think?

Recipe adapted from the Pie and Pastry Bible.

Leek and Goat Cheese Quiche

The first time I made this savory pie was for a breakfast for my dear friend Stephanie’s wedding party the morning of her big day.  This is the first time I’ve used shortening in my crust since I began my pie project.  I felt the tenderness provided by shortening would be important in a quiche. The result was quite honestly, dreamy.  I used a 2/3 butter, 1/3 shortening ratio.  The butter flavor came through strong, and the normal textural problems with  shortening were not noticeable.

Recipe from Cooks Illustrated (which has a lock-down on lots of their recipes). But look! Someone else wrote it down here, so I don’t have to. Use any crust recipe that makes a 10-inch pie, and just use the same ratio of butter to shortening that I mention above to get my spectacular results.

Chocolate Bourbon Pudding … Pie?

Ok, I cheated.  It wasn’t a pie. They were bars.  I was about to leave town and I had milk that would go bad if I didn’t use it.  The crust was a cookie crust, rather than a pastry crust, and the pudding… well, it was delicious.  This recipe could have easily been made in a pie-shaped vessel, so I’m taking some liberties here.

Recipe adapted from Baked Explorations.

Chocolate Pecan Bourbon Pie

Huh. Looks like the chocolate and bourbon thing is becoming a pattern.  A girl needs her chocolate.  And she also needs a stiff drink on a regular basis (like, daily). Why not combine the two?

Pecan pie on crack is my best description of this thing. So good, and addictive. It’s very reminiscent of the Run for the Roses pie that my mother used to make occasionally, but better because it wasn’t so cloyingly sweet.  Leave it to David Lebovitz to get the perfect balance.  I used his crust recipe, but added a 1/8 tsp of baking powder, and I used bleached flour, which has less protein than unbleached.

It got a little gnarly when I cut it, because 1) I like my pecans chunky and 2) I don’t have the kind of knife that can neatly slice through chunky pecans. But believe me, this ugly duckling was delish.

Onion Custard Pie

What’s getting old on my countertop and in my refrigerator dictates much of what I cook on a daily basis, and it’s no different with my pies.  I noticed my onions starting to sprout, so I made caramelized onions. The leap to quiche was not long.  The filling is caramelized onions, bacon, gruyere, and custard. Very French. Buttery. Rich. I gave half of it away, because I’ve got a marathon coming up  in a few weeks, and preferably, I would like to drop a few pounds rather than gain a few.  (Believe me, a couple of pounds can make a difference over 26.2 miles of pounding the pavement!)

Reciped adapted from The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters.  This is a great book for learning basic techniques.

Honestly, I’m learning a lot about making pies and pie crusts.  Some of it is really technical and boring, so I can’t bring myself to write about it. At least not now.

Maybe when my pie project ends, I’ll do a top 10 list. But that’s not until December, so you’ll just have to wait a few months for list-mania.

Until then, party on.

Next up:  Strawberry rhubarb (unless I decide to make a compote instead).

I kept picking up pears from the market, because they looked delicious. I felt a little guilty about it, because they’re not local pears.  It’s tough even for me–a person committed to supporting local, sustainable farms–to resist the allure of such handsome produce.

But I had them ripening away in my fruit bowl, and with the week coming to a close, I knew I needed to get busy. Pear pie.  And for a little zing, I added slightly sweetened Montmorency tart cherries. Then, because every fruit pie needs a topping, I made a buttery brown sugar streusel.

I went with the all-butter quick crust that I used last week, again adding 1/4 tsp of baking powder,  but this time I let it rest longer.  That helped, but it was still a bit of a bear to roll out and cracked like crazy around the edges. This does tend to happen more with all-butter crusts, but I’m in search of a solution.  Since then I’ve read a few more crust tips that I’m going to try for this week’s pie.

The fruit filling was simply cut pears macerated with a bit of sugar and spices, and I used flour for the thickening agent. Next time, I’ll go with cornstarch. I may be full of you-know-what, but I think it gives the filling a more clean and pure flavor and texture.

Fruit fillings often make for soggy crusts, but not since I’ve been using another trick I learned from the great Rose Levy Berenbaum.  She kindly, but precisely instructs us to mix our fruit and sugar, let it macerate for 30 minutes or so, then drain the extra juices into a small saucepan (you’ll have 1/3 to 1/2 cup of juice).  Put that little saucepan of watery, sugary goodness onto the heat and cook it into a thick syrup. Finally let it cool a bit, and mix the syrup back into the bowl of fruit.  Then, you may dump your fruit into your partially baked pie shell, top it with your crust, lattice or streusel, and bake away.

Genius, hey?  Instead of all that water leaking into the crust you labored and fussed over, it’s evaporated–poof!–before it even goes into the pie.  Then you’re left with a concentrated fruity concoction that heightens the flavor of the filling.

So I did that with my pears, and it was a beautiful thing. (See how the juices aren’t oozing out all over the plate? That’s the syrup trick!)

When I took my first bite of this pie, I honestly wasn’t sure I liked it (I think it was the texture of the flour, people. I’m going with cornstarch next time).  But I took another bite… and then another… and another… and then I was licking the plate.  I was literally licking the plate.  I mean, I didn’t really know what I was doing, and then I was like, oh my god, I’m licking this plate. That’s ridiculous! I never lick my plate! (dragging my finger through what’s left on the plate, and licking my finger… well, that’s another story.) Though it is a pretty plate, don’t you think?

Anyway, after I got over my astonishment at what I had done,  I promptly packed up one more piece for myself to eat when I was feeling a bit more disciplined (like the following morning at breakfast time), and sent the rest off with my husband to drop off at his father’s hair salon. The ladies at the salon did me and my back end a big favor by polishing it off.  Thanks, gals.

On deck for next week:  A post-race sour cherry pie.

Pi Day is admittedly a corny foodie excuse to make Pi… I mean pie, but I’m not above jumping on the bandwagon.  My anti-resolution gives me a legitimate excuse to do so.

Here’s my Pi Day pie:  a caramel pumpkin pie with a simple almond streusel topping.

I didn’t realize until yesterday that it was Pi Day, so I had to rush the crust a bit, and of course it affected the result.  It’s a delicious and buttery and flaky crust, but it is quite fragile.  Had I incorporated the resting phases that I learned from Berenbaum, I think it would have held together better, but all in all, this is a pretty good result for a rush job.

Again, because it was a rush job, I did literally nothing to make this recipe my own.

So, with full credit to Fine Cooking, I used their all-butter pie crust recipe, and used Kerry Gold butter. Wow, what a difference that made!  I added 1/4 tsp of baking powder, a trick I learned from Berenbaum.  She says it aerates the crust a bit, making the end result flakier.  Having tried pie crusts with and without the baking powder, I agree.  It’s a tiny extra step and completely worth it.

The filling was courtesy of Dorie Greenspan in her book, Baking.  I’ve never liked pumpkin pie, but I do like pumpkin. Go figure.  Anyway, I’m trying to find recipes that will help me develop a taste for pumpkin pie, and I think the caramel might do it.

By the way, Baking is one of my favorite baking books, and the one I turn to first when looking for a sweet treat. Now I prefer baking books that have weight measurements, but I’ve had such repeated luck with Greenspan’s recipes, that I can’t turn my back on this book.

Caramel Pumpkin Pie

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 T dark rum
2 T unsalted butter, cut into 4 cubes
1 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin puree
1.25 tsp cinnamon
.75 tsp ginger (I didn’t have any on hand, so just used extra nutmeg)
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg (yes, grating the whole nut is so much better)
pinch of ground allspice
pinch of salt
1.5 tsp vanilla extract (use the good stuff)
2 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place partially baked crust on a silpat or parchment lined baking sheet.

Pour 1/2 cup of sugar in a stainless steel skillet over med-high heat.  The sugar will eventually melt and start to turn color. Do NOT stir the sugar!!!  You can gently swirl the sugar around the skillet by picking up the handle and slightly tilting it each way to make sure the sugar cooks evenly, but that’s IT!  Wait until it turns dark brown (which ensures a fuller flavor).  You really have to watch it at the end so you don’t go overboard.  Turn the burner to low, pour in the heavy cream, and now you can stir it with a whisk.  Make sure it’s nice and smooth.  Then add the cubed butter, and finally the rum.  Let it cool for about 15 minutes.

Combine the pumpkin, 1/2 cup sugar, spices, salt, vanilla and eggs, and beat with a whisk until it’s well combined.  Whisk in the caramel.  Rap the bowl against the counter a few times to release air bubbles, then pour into the partially baked crust.

Bake for 10 minutes, then top with the almond streusel.

Almond Streusel

2 T butter
2 T chopped almonds
2 T flour
2 T light brown sugar

Combine everything with your fingers until it clumps a bit.  You may want to refrigerate this for a bit before adding it to the pie.  Make it before you start the caramel, stick in the fridge, and you’ll be in good shape by the time you add this to the pie.

(Actually, I forgot to add this until about 45 minutes in, so I’m a little worried about the streusel tasting flour-y.  That’s why I instruct you to bake it for 10 minutes–use a timer, and then you won’t forget!)

Bake for another 45-55 minutes or until the filling is puffed and set and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  I think I actually baked mine for over an hour, but it all depends on your oven.

Cool to room temp, and refrigerate.  Dorie recommends serving with lightly sweetened whipped cream.  Sounds like a lovely idea to me.

So where are your pies for the last couple of weeks?

Admittedly, I did not make pie the last couple of weeks.  I was in Hawaii, aka paradise, and while I considered making a pie, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.  We stayed in condos, so it would have likely been not too difficult a feat, especially if I had made something like a key lime or ice cream pie (called a Hula Pie in Hawaii).  However, I knew we wouldn’t eat the entire thing (I always share my pies at work), and I really didn’t want to waste it.   But I decided that the research part of pie R&D was still possible, and research I did.

We found this sweet cafe in the tiny town of Hanapepe on the island of Kauai (the island I hope to make my home in the next 15 years or so. Seriously!).  They use local and organic ingredients and make some lovely pies and pastry.  My husband and I shared a mango passion fruit pie with locally made Lampert’s vanilla bean ice cream.  The filling was the perfect balance of sweet and tart; the crust was incredibly tender (though not very flaky); and the ice cream married all the flavors in the most delicious way.

I can’t figure out what fat they used in the crust.  I don’t believe it was shortening, because it didn’t have that mouthfeel, but it didn’t have much of a buttery flavor either.  This one may require more research.  It was a lovely crust, but I do prefer a crust which has more of a balance between tender and flaky.

Then, when I came home, I could have made a pie, but I didn’t.  I made myself a birthday cake. And I put candles on it.  So there.  Here’s my lemon layer cake, with a buttery lemon curd frosting. Pucker up, boys and girls!

Yes, I’m 38.  Maybe I’m old, but I still kick ass.  Eat it.  (I did, and it was yummy.)

I also celebrated with strong cocktails, hence the blurry photo.  Give a girl a break.

Happy pi/pie day!

Last week I made a blueberry cranberry pie with a basic all-butter flaky pastry crust. Once again, this recipe is from Rose Levy Berenbaum’s Pie and Pastry Bible.  I’m going to stick with this book for awhile, because I think this just might be the key to my pie-crust success. And it doesn’t hurt that the fillings are also exacting and exactly perfect every time.

See how the filling stays in place and doesn't ooze out everywhere? I love that! (I know. I'm a geek. I've embraced it.)

The blueberry cranberry filling is a perfect winter pie.  It’s not too sweet. In fact, it’s bracing and tart, in a  good, beat your chest sort of way. And if you want to tame the tartness, it’s lovely with some local or homemade vanilla ice cream.

You can use blueberries you put up in the summer, or buy frozen.   Randy brought home fresh blueberries from Trader Joe’s that came from Mexico, I think.  I cringed, because I try to eat in-season as much as possible, but I wasn’t about to waste these berries. They actually tasted quite good. And of course I used some of the cranberries I stocked up on in December.

You start by macerating all the filling ingredients for 30 minutes.  Then you cook it until it’s thick, let it cool and transfer it to the pie shell.  Incredibly easy and delicious.  In fact, there’s no reason you couldn’t use this filling as an ice cream topping or in a fruit crisp as well.

Here are the blueberries and cranberries macerating in sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice and zest.

Of course, I can’t help myself.  I always switch up a recipe, even if it’s just slightly.  And really, this time it’s hardly worth mentioning the change, but I’ll mention it anyway.  I decided on a lattice top crust rather than a double crust.

Well, this tiny decision did end up tripping me up a bit.  The quantities for all the ingredients for the double-crust and crust-with-lattice are right next to each other in the book, so while I’m certain I got the flour and butter measurements correct, I know my eyes kept drifting back and forth between the recipes on the other ingredients.  I think this may have had a slight impact on the end result.

The crust was flaky, tasty, and very crisp…  approaching tough, which is not a good thing in a pie crust.  I still haven’t laid my hands on pastry flour, so I might attribute some of the minor flaws in the pie crust to the fact that I used bleached AP flour which has a slightly higher protein content.  But I also think that the tricks my eyes were playing on me as I was measuring ingredients into my bowl may have had an impact.

Also, Rose keeps calling for vinegar in her crusts–just a tad, but really, I just can’t do it.  At least not yet. I subbed extra water instead. This may also have contributed to that slight chew in the crust.

I’m going to make the same crust again this week. Maybe I’ll try the vinegar. Maybe not. I’ll report how it goes.

If you want to try this recipe, just remember the key to a good pie crust is cold everything, and resting the dough.

Basic Flaky Pie Crust for 9-inch lattice pie

Adapted from the Pie and Pastry Bible

9 T/4.5 oz unsalted butter

1.5 cups/7.5 oz bleached AP flour (or if you use pastry flour, add an extra 1.5 T)

1/4 tsp salt

1/8 tsp baking powder

3.5-4.5 T/1.75-2.3 oz ice water

1.5 tsp/0.25 oz cider vinegar (I didn’t use vinegar, and instead add a touch more water)

Cut 2/3 of the butter into 3/4 in. cubes and put it in the refrigerator.  Slice the remaining 1/3 of the butter into thin slices, separate them and put them in the freezer.*  Put your dry ingredients in a bowl and stick it in the freezer or refrigerator until very cold.

Rub the refrigerated butter into the flour mixture with your fingers or a pastry blender until it looks like coarse meal  (your flour, butter and bowl are cold enough if this hurts a little). Gently fold in the frozen butter slices, trying to keep them intact as much as possible.  If it seems like your mixture is warming up too much, let it rest in the freezer or refrigerator for awhile before you continue.

Add your ice water, beginning with the smallest quantity recommended in the recipe.  Help the dough come together with your spatula (or your hands if you have very cold hands)  by turning and pressing the mixture in the bowl.  Add additional water until it’s ready and forms a crumbly mass. Stop kneading it, and dump it onto a square of plastic wrap. Use the edges of the wrap to bring all the crumbs to the dough mass.  Wrap it up and form it into a disc.  You can split it up at this point if you want:  9.5 oz for the bottom crust, and the remaining piece for the lattice.  Or split it later (which is what I did). Let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours, preferably overnight.

Take it out of the fridge, let it rest a few minutes until it’s roll-able, and roll it.  Bottom crust should be about 13 inches.  Roll the lattice into a rectangle, and cut into strips about 3/4 inch wide.  Here’s a good photo demo of how to make a lattice top.

Dump the filling into the pie crust, make the lattice top, stick it back in the fridge to rest for an hour.

Bake for about an hour in a pre-heated 375 degree oven, until the crust is golden brown.  Rose recommends a 20-minute bake on the bottom of your oven or baking stone, then transfer to the top rack to finish baking.  This worked well for me, but be sure to put a sheet of foil on the bottom of your oven to catch drips from the filling.

Let it rest for 6 hours before cutting. (I know it sounds like a long time. It is, but you know how the filling in the picture is staying put instead of oozing all over the plate?  Yeah, it’s because it rested for 6 hours. Skip this step at your own risk.)

Blueberry-Cranberry filling

1.5 cups/10.5 oz sugar

1/3 cup/1.6 oz corn starch

1 T/.25 oz lemon zest

3 T/1.6 oz lemon juice

a pinch of salt

1.5 lbs frozen blueberries

3.5 cups/12.25 oz fresh or frozen cranberries

In a large, nonreactive saucepan, combine all the ingredients except blueberries and cranberries.  Then add the berries and toss to coat.  Let it sit for about 30 minutes or until the berries begin to give up some of their juices.

Cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring frequently until very thickened, and some of the berries have bursted.  It’s a lot of filling, so this may take awhile. The recipe says 8-10 minutes, but mine took longer. Just make sure it comes to a complete boil (doesn’t have to be a rolling boil), because boiling it is what activates the starch.  If you don’t activate the starch, it won’t get as thick, and worse, you’ll have a really unpleasant texture to your filling.  It should be edible after you’re done cooking it.

Let it cool to almost room temp before dumping it into your pie crust for baking.