Looking back over posts from the past I’ve come to conclude a few things: 1) I’m not entirely insane as I once was (something I’m proud of) and 2) I’ve been so focused on challenging myself with strange and eccentric pies that I’ve neglected the challenge of baking more basic, traditional fare. The honey and whiskey soaked blackberry pie got me thinking; just because something is simple doesn’t mean it can’t be elegant in its own right.
I’ve heard it called berry medley pie before, but I like the idea that “triple berry” or “three berry” tells you exactly what it is. There are three berries here and a simple, wholesome logic tells you that the holy trinity of berries must be your standard blue, black, and rasp. Sure, “three berry” could include any number of other berries: goose, elder, mull, cran, straw. Hell, avocados are berries, apparently. But strawberries have their own echelon in pie baking and the farther you range out into obscure berries the more niche the pie becomes.
So, in the spirit of simplicity, blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries are going to be our triumvirate. Recipe after the jump.
The pie you are about to witness is possibly the best pie I’ve ever invented. If not in design, than at least in execution. And I remembered to write down the recipe.
I started with the blackberries as the base of this pie. I’ve been wanting to give berry pies another crack and blackberries are really understated in their sweetness.
From there I began building up ways to compliment the blackberries.
(“Hey blackberries, you lookin’ foin fo realz tho.”)
Fans of Pushing Daisies will recognize this pie! I’m rewatching the series for just about the millionth time and every time I do I wonder: is pear pie with Gruyere cheese baked into the crust actually good? Or did Bryan Fuller just want to make clever cheese rhymes with his fictional pies? This time around it was just too much for me to take, I had to know for sure.
The facts were these…
Per usual I’m going to withhold the actual recipe for this pieminister pie because I still occasionally get a squeamish about copyright. But I modified a lot of the ingredients (mostly because the specificity of the ingredients hinges on a lot of ingredients that or more prevalent in Britain), so I’m including the list of what I put into this pie:
If you’re like me, getting ambitious in the kitchen can be a dangerous endeavor. One minute you’re all like, “I’ma make a flat piece of crust and layer pears on it, the next you’re like, “Wow, the butter in the crust melted rather than baked and now I have a square of flour swimming in molten butter.”
Accidents happen, is my point.
I used to be really big on the idea that I didn’t want to cut corners; no store bought crust, no canned filling, pumpkin pie is always hard for me because my inclination is to carve and boil a whole pumpkin rather than use the canned stuff. But when those aforementioned accidents occur, it’s nice to have a quick and easy back up plan.
Phyllo dough is where I’m going with this. It’s crisp, it’s light, it’s layered, you can keep it in your fridge for a super long time as a plan B; we love it. So when I royally screwed my initial flat crust idea, I decided to wrap my pears in phyllo.
What you’ll need for this quick-fix, emergency dessert:
I got the recipe for this tart from a blog called The Jewels of New York, which, in searching google for the recipe again, lead me to an escort website. So, you know, if you live in the New York area and are looking for a certain kind of good time, there’s that.
The original recipe is for tartlets, but we didn’t have a tart pan and, consequently, made a very thick, pie-sized version. C’est la vie, you do what you can. This recipe actually worked out really well, I only made two subtle changes! Well, in addition to making it into a pie. Whatever.
I wanted to bake something for the release of The Hobbit: and Unexpected Journey, but the release date coincided with what was probably the most hectic week of my life. So here it is, super late in the game, way behind all the other Hobbit posts. Sue me.
This was sort of a haphazard recipe of my own design; everything in it was designed to reflect a certain hobbity sensibility. (Might as well just say “English” sensibility. DID YOU KNOW, The Lord of the Rings is basically just an alternate history of England? Yup, hobbits are basically just the embodiment of ideal Englishness. The more you know.)
We decided to go vegetarian on this pie as well, so here’s what went into the pan to saute pre-baking:
(Warning: more swears than usual.)
I had a bad day today. I had the worst kind of bad day, which is the kind of bad day that starts good to psych you out and then get’s bad. That way you spend the day getting beaten down and, rather than just lying there and taking it like you would have if the day started out bad, you keep trying to get out of what you presume is some sort of fluke rut and back into the good day you were supposed to be having.
Unfortunately there comes a time when you have to say “fuck it,” go home, and eat your body weight in Skittles and comfort food. Don’t judge me, you’ve been there too.
(I didn’t actually eat my mac and cheese with basil, I just thought, “I should at least make it look like I put some effort into plating this.”)
In my last post I said that when I’m overwhelmed with gratitude I bake. Well, when I’m overwhelmed with frustration and sadness I bake, too. Neil Gaiman says that you should use your pain to “make good art,” I wonder if he’d consider mac and cheese art? I say… yes.
(Halloween muffin cups and spider twinkly lights!)
College is rough, living in the city is rough, going to college in a city can sometimes feel like banging your head repeatedly against a brick wall. But everyone once in a while there’s someone who picks you up and dusts you off and it’s important to recognize them.
Shanna Williams is the queen of damage control in the English department at NYU. technically her title is “undergraduate administrative aide,” but I prefer to think of her as the departments official miracle worker. She’s the first person I email in a major-related crisis and she recently helped me petition to have all my academics from London count towards my degree requirements. Without that, next semester would have been a photo finish for me.
When feel overwhelmed with gratitude, I bake.
The Clinton St. Baking Company is a bakery and restaurant down off E. Houston and it’s always super busy. Everything there is delicious, but the muffins are outstanding. I left my copy of their cookbook at home, but you can find the recipe for these muffins here.
I made this pie for a vegetarian friend of mine. The ingredients are as follows:
Originally we were also going to put spinach and leeks in as well but I forgot and the pie was fine without them. Maybe next time!
Melt some butter in a large frying pan and saute chopped onion until they’re all brown and delicious. Throw in thin rounds of fingerling potato an saute until slightly opaque. Salt half rounds of eggplant to keep them from wilting too much, add eggplant and whole milk to pan, and then cook until slightly gray and opaque and whole milk has boiled down a bit. Scoop the stew-like mixture into a glass pan and sprinkle the cheeses and bits of basil on top. Layer puff pastry over all and sprinkling sesame seeds as desired. Bake until puff pastry is brown and then serve!