Monday, 12 January 2015

Back with a pie

Hello all and Happy New Year! I'm back from Christmas holidays which I spent at the Southernmost end of the country. My parents have recently moved to the wilds of Tasmania where it was blissfully sunny and cool.

Having caught up with family and friends, I'm back refreshed and ready to go back to work - and to while away the rest of January in a summer holiday haze. January is the 'August' of the Southern Hemisphere where everything slows down, lucky people get to spend the month at the beach and no one expects very much to get done*. Lovely.

While I was away the more industrious Alpha Bakers were busy baking up a storm with Frozen Pecan Tart and Chocolate Cuddle Cake. I had good intentions of baking them ahead of time but the Christmas busy-ness defeated me. I hope to bake them when we have catch-up weeks - particularly the chocolate cake which sounds absolutely delicious.

This week it's the Black and Blueberry Pie. Just like Faithy I'm most familiar with apple or apricot pie or a variation on those. Pies are popular here but don't have the same central place they have in North American cuisine. I was a bit suspicious of an all berry pie and thought it would probably be too glutinous and sweet for my taste.

The recipe started with the cream cheese pastry ingredients in the freezer (and the processor bowl in the fridge). This is definitely a recipe suited to my climate.

The pastry ingredients whizzed up quickly in the processor but looked impossibly dry. I added a little more cream although it didn't look much wetter. I took Rose at her word (slightly belatedly) and tipped it onto a pastry mat and kneaded it through gladwrap into two disks. (Mucking around with plastic bags is not for me) It turned out to be surprisingly moist.

After the resting period I rolled out the bottom crust. The pastry was very easy to work with. I spent time looking for something 12 inches round until I realised my new pastry mat had it marked. My circle is more conceptual than actual.

It was at this stage I discovered I didn't have a pie plate. I found a tart tin which would do. I'm not that confident with pastry or anything that needs to be rolled out so I was quite chuffed with the way things went. I'm never going to win a prize for perfection but no holes is pretty good.

I used a mix of fresh and frozen berries because the fresh ones were SO expensive. I had to buy a bag of frozen mixed berries and pick out the black and blueberries. Every berry in this pie has been lovingly touched by me. (Something I won't be passing on to the consumers of this pie. I hope they can't read.)

You may be able to spot a few rogue raspberries which were needed to make up the weight. 

I need to pause here and make a complaint about the blackberries available in my locale. I grew up picking wild blackberries (actually weeds) and they were sweet and delicious. The blackberries I can find fresh and frozen now bear no resemblance to those of my youth and are vastly inferior. Since they look different I can only assume someone is passing some other lesser berry off as blackberries. Hmmmff.

The berries are mixed with cornflour, sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice. I'm not a fan of cornflour thickened consistencies so I put a bit less in. The juice left in the bowl after I filled the pie was delicious lemony sugar syrup. I was surprised and my expectations for the pie rose.

Oh no, holes in the pastry! :-)

I put the lid on and was still chuffed with the the look of my pie.

I added some leaves because my 'berries' ended up a bit skew-whiff. It doesn't look too bad although I do wish I had more patience with pastry arrangement.

I put the pie in the oven. Unfortunately my oven has been playing up and I could only get it to about 180C before it turned itself off.  I put it on a higher shelf than recommended in the recipe and left it in for as long as I could before the oven gave up the ghost completely. It was slightly undercooked probably although I could see the fruit bubbling through the 'berries'.

I waited for a few hours before I cut a piece. The filling was a bit runny but I was happy with this, preferring it to a more jellied consistency. The colour of the pie filling was absolutely glorious. And the taste? Well with the addition of some pouring cream it was absolutely (and surprisingly) delicious. Rose triumphs again. The lemony juice ensured the pie was not too sweet and not at all cloying. Brava Rose!

Here follows a few too many photos of an imperfect but oh so pretty purply pink pie.

The next picture is a bit alarming. The squeamish may wish to scroll down quickly.

After a day in the fridge - a miracle! Despite using less cornflour, the filling held together, looking, if I do say so myself, a little like the picture in the book. As I write these smug little words I feel the likelihood of failure next week ratcheting towards the sky.

The bench.

Next week - Golden Orange Panettone and another excuse to buy more kitchen equipment.  I can report that Darwin is all out of Panettone baking papers...

*I'm not entirely sure this is how my boss sees it...


  1. your pie looks great and pretty I like your ear decorations on top you did a great job.


  2. Great post! What wonderful insight into the reverse seasons for us northern hemispherians. Your tart looks so pretty! I nearly bought a bag of mixed blackberries and raspberries to go with the blueberries. It never occurred to me to sort out the raspberries. I thought they would actually be tasty so if I attempt a do over, I'll go for that. Rose left a message on my soupy pie post that the interior should reach 212 degrees F for the cornflour to thicken the juices so next time will definitely be probing the pie or tart with a thermometer.

  3. Your pie is so pretty and who cares that the holes weren't centered. Great post!

  4. welcome back! your pie looks great, i like the off centered holes. you are a trooper for picking out the raspberries!

  5. Welcome back! Your summer pics make me ache for summer. Tonight we will have -21C. Good job on the pie. It was delicious, eh?

  6. Oh..i like how you tent the sides of the pie! Simple and yet efficient! Why didn't i think of it? Also helps with spillage!!! I'll copy you next time! Yes, I do find American Pies have much thinner crust too...and I like my the more the merrier..LOL! I remembered I ate a few pies in Australia and they too have thicker crust.

  7. I forgot to add that the country side in Tasmania so tranquil and beautiful! Can I visit your parents too? I've never been to country side before. :(

    1. Haha I'm sure they'd love a visitor. It's pretty quiet down there.

  8. I love that you lovingly touched every berry :). And you're right, the color of the filling is stunning!

    Patricia @ ButterYum

  9. Thanks everyone.

    I'm waiting for my new kitchen thermometer to arrive so I'll be all ready for testing the temperature of the next pie. I'm using the Kindle version of the book and just remembered I can put an electronic note on the recipe about the temp (I kept thinking that I couldn't write it on the recipe like everyone else).

    Oooh. I've been in -21 weather when I was overseas but I didn't enjoy it :) I'll stop complaining about the heat and humidity!

  10. Thanks for the updates on kitchenware availability in Darwin. I feel very up on local issues now.

  11. Holes in the pastry! LOL. Approved-holes is okay. Pretty pie. I love the way you placed your holes and the leaves.