Tuesdays with Dorie: Blueberry Nectarine Pie

This Blueberry Nectarine Pie is a blue ribbon winner!  The recipe can be found on the websites of this month’s hosts: Liz, http://thatskinnychickcanbake.blogspot.com/ and Hilary, http://manchegoskitchen.typepad.com/.

First off, a homemade pie deserves a homemade crust.  The recipe for the pastry in “Baking with Julia” called for butter and Crisco. Lard (or Crisco) is known for making a really flaky crust. I took a pie-baking class at Charlotte’s own Harvest Moon Grille and the chef rendered her own lard for the crust.  I am not, however, completely comfortable with Crisco or lard in my kitchen.  So instead of using the recommended recipe for pie crust, I used Martha Stewart’s pate brisee instead, which uses all butter.  Two sticks worth.I used my new food processor to make the dough – a Cuisinart 9-cup, literally out of the box (Happy Mother’s Day to me!)  I probably needed a bit more ice water though my dough came together.  I wrapped my two dough discs in plastic and put them in the fridge to work on my filling.

This is the first blueberry pie recipe I’ve come across where you cook down the fruit in a saucepan.  Martha’s “Perfect Blueberry Pie” goes through many stages of chilling to keep the fruit from getting soupy when you bake it.  But this pie practically has you making preserves!

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Half the fruit was placed in the saucepan (a pint of blueberries and one and a half nectarines), with sugar, a bit of flour and lemon zest.  Even this looked pretty (see above).  The fruit was to be brought to a slow boil over medium heat while stirring constantly.  I should have known that whenever a recipe says that you will be stirring constantly for a very long time!  It felt like 20 minutes and my beautiful fruit did look like the most perfect jam.  I poured my cooked fruit into a bowl and added the rest of the fruit and allowed it to cool.  It smelled heavenly!

As I let the fruit come to room temperature, I took out my dough discs and floured my work space.Rolling chilled dough is tough enough, but I found my dough cracked easily and it was difficult to roll it thin.    I managed to get the bottom into the pie plate without too much fuss.  I spooned in the cooled fruit and rolled out my top crust.  This should have been a breeze, but again I had trouble getting it to the desired thickness and keeping it in some semblance of a circle. I wonder if the cracking was because I didn’t use enough ice water…isn’t there a trick to using a little bit of water to prevent dough from cracking?

I just barely got my topper on and tried to seal all cracks.  I sealed them as best I could, but I noticed they weren’t completely repaired after baking:(  I chilled the put-together pie for twenty minutes as directed, then baked it off.

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I read everyone’s comments thoroughly, so I knew to let the pie cool completely before cutting.  It actually sat for several hours until it was served with a scoop of cherry vanilla ice cream.  If anyone has advice on how to deal with the cracking crust – please let me know!

 

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Tuesdays with Dorie: Chocolate Cherry Burnt Biscotti

The original recipe was a hazelnut biscotti, but as I am not a hazelnut fan, I opted to go rogue, deciding on a chocolate cherry version with cocoa, cherry kirsch, almond extract, and dried cherries as substitutions. Other bakers suggested swapping out something of the flour for cocoa powder.  I did this – using a third of a cup of cocoa, but the dough was so sticky that I ended up adding back most of the flour I’d replaced just to manage the dough.

I wondered if the dough was sticky because of the cocoa or if the original recipe was just as difficult to work with.  I guess that’s an argument for making the recipe as is the first time around and improvising on round two.

I discovered a good trick for rolling out the logs – flour a piece of plastic wrap, plunk down half the dough, then wrap and roll.  The recipe said the logs were supposed to be about twelve inches in length – mine didn’t quite make it.

During the first baking, I made a fatal error.  I smelled the scorching of cocoa, but was afraid to take it out early, by about five minutes.  Should have gone ahead and done it because the biscotti was bitter as a result and nothing could be done to fix it.  I could have maybe tried some powdered sugar on the edges to sweeten it a bit, but they really weren’t salvageable.  I think the texture was good (I went ahead with the second baking), but I will definitely read other bakers’ posts before attempting this one again.

If you want to try the original recipe,  please visit homemadeandwholesome.wordpress.com

Or

http://www.bakingandboys.com