Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Summer Blues: A photo journal

This morning, I found myself with a major case of the blues.

got the blues
Four cups fresh blueberries, picked over to remove stems and other non-blueberry-bits, and rinsed with cold water.

Obviously, this day needed a little bright color and some sweetening, not to mention taking them with a pinch of salt.

add some zip
One teaspoon finely grated lemon zest, a scant 3/4 cup of sugar, 2 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca, 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Getting a little starch on the old upper lip wouldn’t hurt, either.

starch the upper lip
2 cups flour, 2/3 cups shortening, dash of salt – blend with pastry cutter until shortening is about the size of peas.

Whoops. Split water while I was making the coffee. Oh well, at least it wasn't milk. Or coffee. I'd have to cry, if it was the coffee...

drink some coffee
Between 4 and 6 tablespoons of water – you want enough to make the dough come together, but not so much that you’ve got a sticky, gloopy mess.

Can’t let the blues get you down. Just roll with the punches…

roll with punches
Roll the first half of the dough out to slightly bigger than your 9” pie plate. There are a lot of methods for getting it into the plate - I use the 'fold gently in half, lift in and unfold' method, m'self.

…and dot your day with sunshine.

sprinkle with sunshine
Two tablespoons of butter, in small dabs all over the place. You can skip this part if you don't want any dairy or would like to save a few calories.

Then knuckle down!

knuckle down
Roll out the top layer and lay over your filling. Trim to about 3/4” overhang, then tuck the top crust over the bottom crust – like the bottom crust is the mattress and you’re tucking in a sheet. This gives you a nice pillow of crust to work with for the fluting. Press your thumb into the crust at an angle, giving it a little push at the same time on the other side with an index finger to emphasize the scallop. Trust me, it’s easy once you get going – just make sure you turn the PIE PLATE as you go, rather than trying to twist your ARM around the PIE.

Brush yourself off!

brush it off
This is just a quarter cup of water with a tablespoon of sugar dissolved in it. Take care to avoid brushing the crusts, as they already tend to brown too fast as it is. Also watch out for pools of liquid, as they also cause extra-crispy spots. If you want, you can follow up the liquid brushing with a sprinkling of sugar for extra crunch. You can also use just plain old water, or milk, or cream. Mmmm. Cream…

Maybe embellish yourself just a little.

dot the (p)i(e)'s
Hee. I put dots on top. They’re supposed to be blueberries. Ahem. I am perhaps too easily entertained.

And maintain that sunny disposition.

sunny disposition
This is my sun oven, out in my backyard being powered by the sun. It’s a little tough to see, but the thermometer inside it shows a wicked 350 degrees. Go, Sun, Go! It took about an hour and fifteen minutes before the filling was bubbling away…but the crust was a little too anemic-looking for my taste, so I finished it in my convection oven on low broil for ten minutes to brown it up.

To bake like a normal person in a standard oven, preheat to 375, put foil over the crusts to prevent premature browning, and cook for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and return to the oven for another 20 minutes, or until the filling is bubbling and the crust is nice and brown.

Not bad, for a blue kind of day!

not so bad!
Ta da!

Now, all I need is a rhino to help me eat it, and I’ll be all set!

just need a rhino
But where on EARTH could I find one of THOSE?!


Yarnhog said...

Now THAT's how cookbooks ought to be written! Step by step, with pictures. None of this, "fold the doojaflobby into the whatsis while you grate the whoosis and use your garlic press to crush the howsthat into the clarified butter, being careful not to burn, and gently place the prepared..."

froggiemeanie said... don't need a rhino to help you eat it. You need a Canadian. I know just the one ;)

Anonymous said...

A sun oven?!! Very cool! I have never seen one of those before, awesome way to reduce electricity and keep your kitchen cool!

RM Kahn said...

I am so on my way to your house!

Siercia said...

That looks awesome!

Lydee said...

awesome, very, very awesome. this pic journal is one for the books.

Anonymous said...

As much as I LOVE blueberries (and I do!), methinks I want the rhino. Too stinkin' cute.

Threeundertwo said...

I'd stop by and ask for a piece of pie, but I'm scared of rhinos.

PipneyJane said...


I am such a Fool (note the capital "F"), when I saw the sun oven my first response was "Ooh, I want one of those!" Not sure how they'd work on a typical English summer's day (i.e. today: sunshine with scattered showers; sun goes behind clouds every five minutes; top temperature 22C so around 75F).

- Pam (got your post about sun ovens mentally bookmarked)

Judy said...

The pie looks delish, but give me the Rhino. LOL