Pie Baking on Spring Break

Black Raspberry Pie
Buttermilk Pie
My beautiful granddaughters Emily and Katie are visiting with me afternoons this week and we have projects going.  Today we will transplant some lovely "Resurrection lilies" My Friend and neighbor Doris brought over yesterday.  The girls love to plant and help in the garden.  I also have a porcelain painting project laid back for them for "Mother's Day" if we get to it,  and cooking baking is for sure this afternoon.  Their Dad's favorite pie is black raspberry and I just happened to have the berries laid back in my freezer and their Mother favors the buttermilk pie so yesterday we baked them up to go home with them last night.

I have tinkered around for years with pie dough and have a couple of recipes I really like.  This is the result of an evolution of the 5 crust dough given here on the blog early on but it makes a very generous 2 crust pie or a one crust and a two crust pie depending on how adept you are at rolling the crust and the actual size of the pies you make.

Ingredients for the pie dough:

3 C. all purpose flour (I use King Arthur)
1 t. salt (I use Kosher salt)
1 1/2 sticks very cold butter
3/4 C. shortening (I prefer Crisco)
1 egg
5 T. ice water (draw the water over ice before you start then measure)
1 T. vinegar

Two big things about making a successful batch of pie crust are the cold butter and ice water and the ability to work the dough and not get it warmed up too much with the palms of your hands.  I have been known to put the Crisco in the refrigerator too just to give it a chill and drawing a glass of ice water before I ever start the pie are two of my suggestions.

Combine the flour and salt and whisk them about to blend and set aside.

Cut the butter into "dice".  This means cut the butter long ways in half the again into quarters so you have 4 long skinny sticks of cold butter.  It is helpful to use a long skinny knife with a thin blade.  Then cut the sticks in about 1/4" little chunks.  I do the same thing with the shortening.  This does not have to be exact or look good.  You are just trying to achieve some conformity and small pieces. 

Add the butter and shortening to the flour.  Using a pastry cutter work the butter into the flour until the mix looks like a bowl of small peas.  This should only take 3-4 minutes.  Use a table knife to clean the particles of dough mixture from the pastry cutter.

Generally I use a clean coffee mug or small bowl to beat up the egg with a fork then add in the water and vinegar and stir them altogether.  Stir the wet ingredients into the flour mixture just until combined.

Flour the work surface and your hands and knead just enough to form a ball.  Cut the ball in half and form each half into a flat disk about 5" round.  Wrap in plastic and refrigerate usually I leave at least 30 minutes but sometimes a half a day.  It will keep fine for a couple of days or it can be frozen for a few months.

If I am using all of the dough the same day I make the fruit fillings first while the dough is chilling.

Black Raspberry Pie Filling:

4-5 C. fresh or frozen berries rinsed if fresh
1 C. sugar
3 T. instant tapioca  (this lends to a consistent texture)
1/4 t. salt
1 t. vanilla
1/4 t. cinnamon
2 T. butter

Stir all of the ingredients except the butter up in a medium bowl and set aside for at least 15 minutes for the tapioca to soften.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Roll the bottom crust and place it into a 9" pie plate.  Set this aside and roll the top crust.  For a lattice top cut the dough into strips.  Pour the filling into the bottom crust and dot the filling with small pieces of butter.  To make the lattice top place the strips across the top of the pie in a woven pattern then crimp and trim the edges.  Bake for 50 minutes until the crust has well browned and the filling is bubbly.

To make the buttermilk pie roll the bottom crust and make the filling as previously given and bake according to directions.

Both pies were still warm when they went home with the girls and their Dad last night.  They smelled and looked like a great treat.

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