To bake or not to bake. That seems to be the ultimate question, especially after your first day back at work post-vacation and tired from the three store stops you had to make on the drive home in 34 degree heat.
Are you annoyed by my complaining yet? I know I am.
So I’ll switch gears.
A couple weeks ago I noticed there was a summer berry pie recipe in here, and I thought to myself, You should make that before the summer is over. And more importantly, before the summer berry season is over.
I may not have thought all of that, verbatim, but I thought something along the lines of You should do that thing
Cut to last night (Wednesday) when I was thinking that tonight (Thursday) would make a perfect baking night because then I could bring it to work tomorrow (Friday) and have people eat it so I don’t have to.
So here we are.
I bought an entire bag of corn flour for 3 tablespoons and went to two different produce stores in search of all the required berries but I have everything! Everything but excuses.
According to Mary and Paul, this is “very easy to make” but it has three spoons, which suggests it’s not so easy to make, so I’m not sure who to believe. Anyways, here goes nothing.
First step, pulse the dry ingredients of the pie dough in a food processor.
Dry ingredients include flour, salt and icing sugar. So far, so good.
Next up, add the butter.
Next, pulse until it looks like fine crumbs.
Okay, okay. So far, so gooder.
Next up, add the cream cheese in chunks.
Fun fact: According to Mar-Bear and Paulo, the moisture in the cream cheese means you don’t have to add any water. Apparently cream cheese has a high moisture content? I had no idea.
Next up, plop in the egg yolk.
Now, mix it together until it forms a “firm, slightly waxy dough.” Slightly waxy? That’s kind of, you know, gross sounding, isn’t it?
I wasn’t sure if it was forming until I opened up the food processor and saw that, yes indeedy, a dough was forming. I did, however, tip things out into a bowl to press it into more of a dough and less of a waxy powder dough because as much as it was in the process of forming, it wasn’t completely formed. Probably because it was a food processor and not a food completer. (Does that pun make sense? Do any puns make sense?)
Then I wrapped it in clingfilm and put it in the fridge.
Side tip: When reaching into the bin where you keep your clingfilm, don’t run your fingernail across the sharp edge.
I’m not even sure what to do with this situation other than somehow work it into nail art.
Next up, dinner.
Don’t worry. This won’t become a Rachel-Green-English-trifle situation. This pie won’t also include yams roasted with sausage and peppers. That’s a separate transaction, but since this recipe has a lot of steps with a lot of waiting, I knew I’d need to multi-task.
As my dinner got cooking, I got to work on the filling.
Throw together one part blueberries, one part blackberries, one part raspberries and two parts strawberries (while sneaking some from that which was left over).
Also, can we just appreciate this one peculiar strawberry?
It tried so hard to fit in with his big brothers (or her big sisters—I don’t want to assume). But he/she is my new favourite. Too bad I can’t save him/her forever. He/she will probably end up in the compost. Sorry, wee strawberry! I can’t save you from your inevitable demise.
Next up, deal with the lemons with my juicer used as it’s supposed to be used. (I learned from that other time.)
I’m so proud of myself for no longer being an idiot.
Next up, sugar.
And three tablespoons cornflour. Good thing I bought a whole bag. I hope cornflour comes back in this recipe book.
After everything’s put together, I stir gently to mix.
Dang does that look good.
Now to put it over a low heat and stir occasionally until juices start coming out.
I didn’t know how much juice was expected, but that doesn’t look right.
That looks a little better.
Next, simmer until the juice thickens up.
After that’s done, I’m to set it aside in a heatproof bowl and let it cool completely, then cover it up and chill it for at least 40 minutes.
I think I see why it’s three spoons. It’s less the difficulty of each step and more the length of time between each step.
Side note: I did lick the spoon and said, out loud, “Hot damn.” So I have a good feeling about this.
*some time later*
Okay. After what felt like forever letting the filling cool followed by the forever (a.k.a. 40 minutes) of chilling in the fridge, I decided to assemble things.
Step one: Roll out half the dough.
I have flashbacks of the terrible pastry dough experience of the chocolate fudge tart. But as I started to roll this out, I had an opposite problem: the dough was too cold. I mean eventually it became malleable but I had to shed my sweater in this air-conditioned home because it turned out to be a workout.
But then it transferred way too easily to the pie plate. Hooray!
Step two: Add the filling. (Just to clarify, this step two is after about a million other steps plus the annoying steps of waiting.)
The recipe says to try to mound the filling in the middle so I just scooped what was essentially a mass of jam into the middle and, obviously, licked the spoon. (Seriously guys, this filling is amazing.)
Step three: Roll out the rest of the dough and put it atop the pie.
Step two-and-a-half: Brush the dough edge with water so the top half sticks to it.
I did not do step two-and-a-half, so I had to peel back the berrylicious top crust to make sure the dough does in fact stick together.
Then I had to “knock up” and “flute” the edge. I pretended to know what that meant and did this:
Then I was told to cut a small hole for the steam to escape which was tricky. I tried to lift the small circle of dough out of the hole, but the risk of making it look like a berry crime scene was too much so I just pushed that bit of dough under the rest of the crust like when you sweep that last bit of dust under a rug.
After moving it to a foil-lined baking sheet, I sprinkled it with sugar.
See how it sparkles? As always, I hope this works, but I actually have a bit of confidence this time. Probably because of how berrylicious-delicious that filling is. Guys, you don’t even know. I mean some of you might know, but most of you just have no idea.
*about half an hour later*
I keep checking on this pie and I have so many thoughts.
Why isn’t it more golden brown? How does it look so good? Why isn’t it bubbling yet? Is the bottom done? Is there a soggy bottom? Time issue aside, am I a professional piemaker? Is it done, though? Why is it taking so long? Did I make the crust too thick? How much longer until it’s brown? Can I leave it on the counter overnight? Can I go to bed?
*more time later*
Finally! This may be slightly more than golden brown, but the bubbling berry juice proves to me that this is finally done. It may not be perfect, but I think I’m guaranteed it’s done.
Time for bed.
*the next day*
Just want to be completely honest and say “the next day” included me waking up randomly at 5 p.m. and getting up to move the cooled pie from the countertop to the fridge. I think technically a cooled pie should be kept in the fridge and not the countertop, but a pie takes two to four hours to cool (according to the Google) and since I removed this pie from the oven at like 11 p.m., I was not about to sit around and wait for two to four hours to pass me by. I debated setting an alarm, but told myself my chilly home was cool enough. However, waking up at 5 p.m. felt like it wasn’t a coincidence, so there you go.
The good news is I fell back asleep.
And then a couple hours later, I woke up again and took it to work where I put it in the fridge again.
Followed by a couple more hours before I brought it out again and served it to the crowd that gathered as I put it down on what is now referred to as the “baking table” (as opposed to the proofing table). In no time, I had cut up the entire pie and everyone gathered had a slice.
I have to say, this pie was delicious. And the Brits’ fascination with lemon zest truly makes everything better. The pie crust was also somehow perfect (I’ve never been great at pie crusts), and the filling was just scrumptious. I took everyone’s silence as they were eating it to be a sign of approval.
That’s all for now, folks!